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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The stuff of nightmares

I rarely share dreams here... not because I'm such a private person, but rather because I rarely remember them after waking.  But every few years I have a recurring nightmare which is incredibly realistic, probably because it is a faithful replay of an event which actually took place.

I'm not a mental health professional (heck, I slept through most of psych 101 and passed the test by studying from a friend's excellent notes), but I am so disturbed by this dream each time I have it that I'm hoping that the simple act of writing it down and letting it see the light of day will banish it to wherever nightmares go when they lose their power to frighten.

What makes it most nightmarish... is that it actually happened in real life exactly as I dream it.

It always begins the same way... with the sun hitting the pear shaped diamond held in a delicate platinum setting just so... and exploding with light.  It is so dazzling that I have to look away.

I am standing on the sun-drenched sidewalk near my workplace on Broadway and 72nd St drinking a cup of coffee and showing off the engagement ring I have just bought for Zahava to one of my coworkers.  The ring has been burning a hole in my pocket all day, and now that I only have a few more hours before I see my fiance, I need to show someone.

My coworker is a pleasant looking single girl with a pierced eyebrow and too much make-up who probably has a somewhat different picture in her minds eye of what her engagement ring will one day look like.  But she graciously oohs and aaahs over the simple ring I am showing her and makes all the right admiring envious statements about how lucky Zahava is.

After a few moments she hands me back the ring and I wrap it carefully in the tissue paper before putting it back into my front left pants pocket.  I haven't gone the velvet box route because there will be no dramatic presentation on bended knee.  I have already proposed... asked her parents for her hand... and we have already spent a long afternoon with a friend in the diamond business looking at a small fortune in stones in order to let Zahava select just the right one. 

Once she's picked out her stone and sketched out the design she wanted for her setting, we thank my friend for his expert assistance/advice and go out to begin crossing off the endless list of tasks in which engaged couples typically find themselves, well, engaged.

Fast forward a week or so, and on my way to work I pick up the ring from my friend.  At lunch time I go to have the ring appraised (for insurance purposes) and send the paperwork to my insurance agent so that this tiny piece of jewelry (valued at a bit more than my car) can be included in my policy. 

Unfortunately, because it is already mid-day, my agent informs me that the policy 'rider' for the ring wouldn't kick in until the following day.  Zahava is due to fly to Canada on business that evening and I had promised to go with her to the airport and give her the ring before she left.  We had made up to meet after work on the subway platform at Columbus Circle, and go together from there to JFK.

The afternoon moves like molasses.  I'm already missing Zahava and can't wait to give her the ring.  My co-worker's admiring comments a few hours earlier had made the ring burn even hotter in my pocket and each time I looked at my watch the second hand seemed to have stopped.

Finally, after what seems like a year, it comes time to leave work and I head downtown on the train to meet Zahava.  I leave my office and cross the street to the the subway entrance... all the time walking a foot off the ground with happiness and barely noticing that the 'walk' light turns green just as I reach the curb.  I go down into the station and emerge onto the platform just as my train is pulling into the station. 

Apparently lights naturally turn green and trains arrive just in time for people in love.

I sit in the crowded car for the short ride to Columbus Circle consumed with thoughts of how Zahava's hand will look with her engagement ring sparkling on her delicate finger.

When the train pulls into Columbus Circle, I get off and go over to our appointed meeting place next to the candy/newspaper kiosk and begin scanning the crowd for my fiance.  For several minutes the crowd crashes and ebbs on the platform like waves on a beach as each train rumbles in and out of the station.

Finally I see Zahava walking towards me and all is right with the world.  She has her bulging suitcase with her for her trip and is all smiles.  We walk a few feet up the platform and stand together on the relatively empty platform waiting for the next train to arrive that will take us to the airport.   When it finally arrives we position ourselves where the doors will open and wait patiently for the train to stop.

Suddenly, as the doors part, three 20-something black men in puffy parkas begin pushing from behind as if worried about not getting on the train in time.  But the behavior is odd in the extreme because the platform is otherwise quiet and the conductor's window is right next to the door we face.  There is no chance that they might miss the train... and thus no need for them to push us.

Just as quickly as the three men had pushed us into the train, they all step back out onto the platform and stand looking at the overhead signs as if confused about which train to take.

Suddenly a blinding red alarm explodes in my head and I realize what must have happened.  My hand goes into my left front pants pocket and my heart nearly implodes with shock as my fingers find nothing there but a small ball of lint.  I've been pick-pocketed and the ring is gone.

[Part 2 tomorrow]

Posted by David Bogner on October 27, 2009 | Permalink

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I'm assuming this is a semi-true story, in that the actual events happened, even though this is a dream you're recounting. If so, I can imagine how dreaming about it would bother you. Being mugged/pickpocketed/whatever like that is scary.

Posted by: Amanda | Oct 27, 2009 4:05:12 PM

Oh my goodness, I feel quite wobbly reading that! That is the stuff of nightmares. Do you ever dream Part 2?

Posted by: Noa | Oct 27, 2009 7:30:52 PM

Just so wrong doing this in 2 parts. REALLY wrong.

Posted by: val | Oct 27, 2009 9:26:21 PM

Hey David, not be a pest, but I thought you might like to know that the NYC Dept. of Education has blocked Treppenwitz! Wierd, becuase there are many more offensive blogs that are not. Oh well, now I can only enjoy this at home.

Posted by: LFD | Oct 28, 2009 3:09:22 AM

david, two parts? really? what are you? NUTS? how on earth am I supposed to go to sleep now? i need to know what happened.

Posted by: Hadassah | Oct 28, 2009 3:37:56 AM

My heart is in my throat. Not waiting patiently at all. Not fair you practising how-to-write-a-cliffhanger on your readers.

Posted by: Baila | Oct 28, 2009 6:42:24 AM

must.have.part.twooooooooooooooooo

although i know that in reality there is a happy ending, the suspense is killing me!

Posted by: debbie | Oct 28, 2009 1:23:09 PM

Post part 2 already!! :-)

Posted by: Rami | Oct 28, 2009 2:46:45 PM

If you leave out the pick-pocketed part, Part I of the story is amazingly sweet and gooey :)

Posted by: Alissa | Nov 4, 2009 5:18:54 PM

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