In the dream, I'm half-blinded with fuzzy vision. I stumble from room to room or from person to person, searching for help with my sight. Pastels and floating lights cloud my path, like tinted cotton balls packed around my eyeballs.
And there is always some urgency. Some necessary reason that my sight MUST be restored soon, or else...
There might be a storm approaching, with wind whipping and raindrops lashing. There might be a consuming fire, and I can smell the acrid smoke, like a fire of its own, burning inside my lungs. More usually, it's not so dire: the kids want breakfast or I'm late for an appointment. Sometimes, I'm at an appointment. An imaginary work meeting or important presentation.
So to remedy my blindness, my cotton-packed failure to see, I race to the nearest mirror and open my contact case. There, I sigh with relief. Help is on the way, in the form of a tiny, gellish disk.
Except, in the dream, the contacts are not tiny. They're huge and unwieldy. They fold over in my palms, flopping uselessly. They might be the size of quarters. Sometimes they're the size of saucers. As the dream proceeds and I become more helpless trying to wrap the slippery disk around and behind my sightless eyes, the contacts expand. They take both hands to hold. They bear the thickness of a slice of provolone cheese, but translucent. Blue-tinged.
And I despair. Haven't I always known how to do this one simple task? I've been putting contacts in for years -- without incident.
But I never seem to notice that the reason I can't do it this time -- the reason it's impossible -- is because the circumstances have changed. The objects of my necessity are overwhelmingly impossible to bring within my control.
I wake up either irritated or terrified. Rubbing my eyes to wipe away the reminder of fuzziness that still threatens me. I turn on the bathroom light, blinking away the stabbing darts of brightness, and open my real contacts.
I breath out gratefully. The contacts are tiny. Dime-sized and razor-thin. I know I can handle these babies. I place them in my eyes, wondering how I could ever not understand why a dish-sized contact wouldn't fit under my eyelids.
I walk out of the bedroom, and I confront the day, ready to tackle the known tasks that lay before me.
But I'm suddenly worried that I won't recognize a circumstance requiring something more of me than I have to give.
Hoping that I won't wear myself out trying to fit a frisbee into the space designed for a mere sequin.