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indentured servant

February 24, 2011

I’m fairly confident that last night’s dream was actually sending me a message. For those of you who don’t know, I work at two colleges: I teach at one, and I’m essentially a secretary at the other. This dream involves the latter.

I sit in a small living room, accompanied by two (much) younger children I understand to be my siblings. I have the sense that we are not permitted to leave the room, and that being extremely messy, it is our job to clean it (it’s kind of a living room/kitchen combo, with a sink and dirty dishes right next to a disgusting sofa). Through a hallway it is possible to see another room, that one a kind of sitting or waiting room, which is clean, and we can hear the people in it talking and laughing and ordering food from the restaurant just down the road.

We clean and tidy things all day long, but after feverishly scrubbing old dirty bowls and pans, it seems like things will never be finished. We fold blankets, straighten shelves of dolls (many that were mine from my own childhood), and sleep on the couch. The baby, probably 8 months old, sits in his/her crib and cries all day from malnutrition and sadness. I begin to feel extremely helpless and frustrated with my situation. I’m not sure why I’m there, or what my relationship is to the owner of this house, but I HATE that I’ve been put in the position. I tell the middle sibling that I’m going to rebel, and she warns against it. The mistress of the house is cruel, she warns, and might make us all go without food.

Just then, I look over to the other room, and see one of the academic advisors I work with in real life. I recognize her, and I know she recognizes me. She gives me a quick, sorrowful glance, unsure of what to do or say. I’m suddenly filled with courage. When our “owner” comes down the stairs, I’m shocked to see that it is Karen, a woman who used to work in our office but has recently been moved to Manchester to oversee all faculty. She comes down with a disgusted look on her face–she sees all the filth we still haven’t been able to clean. Karen has some snide comment to make about how stupid I am, when I finally look at her (I’m on the bottom step of the stair case, she’s probably halfway up) and yell, “You can’t keep me here! I have my MASTER’S DEGREE! I’m not an idiot, you know!”

“Nobody is forcing you to stay,” she replies, “so what’s KEEPING YOU?”

I pause. I’m…well, I’m not really sure what to say to that. All I know is that I need to get out. Karen laughs and continues on down the stairs. I sit, confused, and try to think. All this time I’d been slaving away, trying to pay off someone else’s debt, when I could be free. Doing what, I didn’t know, but I’d be free nonetheless, and that was worth it at any rate. I headed back into our dirty room and cleaned for the last time. It stayed that way. I grab the kids and clean them up, too. We eat peanut butter from a jar, and walk into the sitting room toward the front door. The advisor I had originally seen there is beaming with joy, Karen walks through the door and flips her shit, but the walls are melting, and it’s beautiful outside, with gardens and people and lots of sunshine.

So, I guess I need a new job.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2011 2:38 pm

    This should be canonized as thoroughly 21st century liberationist literature. NOW.

    • Coco permalink*
      February 24, 2011 4:02 pm

      Let me know when you start compiling your New Parys Anthology of 21st Century Liberationist Literature, and I’ll be happy to offer it up to the cause!

      That said, when I woke up, I felt like dancing. I hopped out of bed with a renewed sense of vigor!

  2. February 25, 2011 5:50 pm

    Hooolyyy cooooowww! That is super intense! You know what needs be done, Ms. Wason.

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