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A Woman's Journal


The White Bread Dreams

By Maggie Turner

November 11, 1999

The White Bread Dreams

 11:30 a.m. This morning a chair sits in the sunlight. It is worn and scratched, it is unoccupied and waiting for me. Beside the chair, on the floor, sits an old bodhran and on the seat a tipper.

This is my favorite place in the world, this chair sitting in the sun beside the bodhran. I spend many hours here, lit from within and from without, playing the bodhran. Sometimes I bend my head close to back of the drum to feel the vibrating power. I follow myself without thought as the patterns of sound flow from soul to hand to drum to soul. No one hears us and yet we play - my drum and I.

 my favorite chair

3:51 p.m. About eight years ago I had a series of disturbing dreams. I would awake in the morning and remember these dreams in minute detail. These dreams were like no others I had ever had. I was convinced that the dreams held some deep meaning and were a profound statement of my inner life. What disturbed me was that they all focused on the same object, the subject never varied. The object of my subconscious fixation was a loaf of white bread.

It was not just any loaf of white bread. This loaf was made by a particular bakery and contained bits of orange citrus fruit. It was relatively expensive and was sold in a brightly colored plastic bag.

I loved that bread. I loved it plain, with a bit of butter and toasted with a bit of butter. I wasn't the only one who loved that bread. When I bought it I would hide it on the top shelf of the kitchen cupboard, behind boring things like extra bags of flour and cornmeal. It was my intention to savor the experience of the bread. I wanted to eat the loaf slowly, little by little. I liked to know that it was always there, waiting for me, a hidden treasure. The only way to make sure it would last more than an hour was to hide it.

And so, at night, I would dream about this bread. Each night I would have a different dream about the bread. I dreamt of the whole loaf in the bag. I dreamt of opening the bag. I dreamt of taking one slice of bread from the bag. I dreamt of toasting the slice of bread, of buttering it. But not once in my dreams did I eat the bread.

These "White Bread Dreams", as I came to call them, haunted me for months and suddenly ended when the bread of my dreams was taken off the market. I looked for it everywhere; I even took the subway to distant grocery stores to see if it was on the shelves. It was gone and so were my dreams.

I'm sitting here looking at a slice of plain white bread right now and thinking - I've never really understood what it was all about. What was I thinking?


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