I dreamt that I was in a hospital, maybe three wards, laid out in a line like the rooms of a house trailer, five beds on each side of a center aisle, a door at each end of the aisle leading to the next ward. The wards, though neat and clean, were dark and gloomy, lit by little local spotlights, like the old high-intensity reading lamps that were popular in my youth. My bed was in the corner to the right of the door as one came into the ward. Next to me was Norma's bed, and beyond her's, that of a young boy, perhaps ten years of age. I had been operated on, something in the manner of my two stomach operations, but this was the mental ward, and they had done some clearing of my memory, about which I had become resigned, but the involuntary nature of which still rankled. I was nearly "recovered", and was walking around the hospital, up and down the aisle, through the doors and through the three wards. My bed was unlain in, sheets neat and flat as a board. Next to it, Norma was in bad shape. In the dream, what I describe now did not seem so grotesque, for the wards were filled with people in various stages of disassembly, tubes and wires coming out of them. Norma had been reduced to a small mass of brain cells, to be seen on a glass dish under a thick glass cover which resembled nothing other than an old fashioned covered glass butter dish. She was tubed and wired like the others, though with a more complex array of input and monitoring devices. She spoke through a speaker, lucidly and in her normal voice. Her conversation was about philosophical subjects and was somewhat disjointed, though I seemed used to its disjointedness. She, the young boy in the next bed and I conversed on and off as I passed by that end of the ward in my walk, and the youth and she continued the conversations as I turned and walked some more.

There was in her voice no outrage or self-pity at her disembodied condition, as I imagine there would have been in mine had I shared her fate. In fact I remember self satisfaction and even a touch of defiance, as though she had finally gone through insanity (it WAS the mental ward, and we were all in here to be "cured" in one way or another), I say had gone through insanity and come out the other side free of the body with which she was so dissatisfied; a pure mentality.

Then my day came, and I was released. I passed through the door next to my bed and out of the wards. The next room, too was lined up with the rest, house trailer fashion, a door at each end. It was long and narrow, a sort of pub/lunch counter, with the bar running longways down the room, the patrons crowded between the bar and the wall, and some of them on quite friendly terms with the cook/bartender, standing with him on his side of the bar, which was more spacious than the customer's side on which I stood. All present knew each other well and seemed quite merry. As I stood against the wall, before I even had a chance to order, they struck up a dance. Space was limited, so it took the form of an odd mixture of morris-dancing and the pogo dancing of early seventies punks. After a couple of steps, the long, thin fellow next to me invited me to join in by giving a friendly backhand slap on the chest. Being no dancer, I declined, and feeling that this was the time to avail myself of my full freedom, I stepped through the final door and out into the cold. It was cold, with a little snow on the ground! I decided to go back for my coat, which I had left in the ward next to my bed. In the ward my bed was still made up and empty, but my coat was not there. And in the bed where Norma (such as remained of her) had been, lay the young boy. I asked him where she was. He said "She's gone." I said "What do you mean?" He said "It happened last night. She went bad, and they had to work on her some more." I felt lightheaded, and put my hand up to my head. I said "They cleared my memory somewhat. I don't know. What does it mean? Is she dead?"

On the boy's face was some compassion for my growing and obviously heartfelt anxiety, but in his voice was the awe of youth as he said "They had to cut her something fierce. There wasn't much left."

"Is she dead?" I asked insistently. He said nothing this time, just looked off at the wall across the ward. "I loved her!" I cried out, and awoke in my own room on 28th Avenue, cold, with tears on my face.