Sometimes it’s in dreams and sometimes in the moments just before I sleep.

Maybe they are daydreams or wishes or premonitions or visions of an alternate universe.  Or memories of less interesting people into which you’ve been placed.

I remember things that have never happened.  Snippets in media res with no explanation. There you are and there I am. You slip on the Spanish Steps or flick a cigarette into my driveway or argue with a bartender at the racetrack.

I see you in the kitchen, for instance.  You sing along with the radio when you cook.  The house smells like rosemary and bare oak.  You don’t sing for me, but you sing for my benefit.  We’re in a slow hurry to be somewhere, and when I laugh at you singing not for me but for me, still, I close my eyes and shake my head so that when you look out from under your eyebrows and smile, I don’t see it; I hear it.  You sing louder.

When the waitress brings the drinks, you lean into the shade of the umbrella, elbows on the table, and curl one wrist to reach your straw.  You stab it into the ice for emphasis in lieu of volume or affect.  I lean back and weave my fingers together across my stomach until you ask a rhetorical question of incredible coincidence, fully intended to upend me. I shoot forward in my chair, eyes wide, slapping my palm down hard on table.  People look.  Your eyebrows jump.  You stifle a laugh and insist that you’re serious.  Your face falls straight.  THIS is serious.  Am I?  You lean back into the blazing sun.

Somewhere on the gray Atlantic coast, I want to sit down.  I keep saying so.  You can’t stop moving.  Now that you’re 300 inexplicable feet up the beach, I give up.  My calves burn; the beach is all the same.  I sit down in the damp sand and wait. I can barely hear what you’re shouting to me against the wind as you raise your arm and point out at the ocean, but your laughter fires and carries like grapeshot, peppering everything under the gathering storm.

After a late dinner, I can’t look you in the face.  You carry on in your bright voice, leaning back, stretching, talking and smiling, offering jokes over an empty plate.  Suddenly, you stop, squint, and turn your head to look at me with one eye.  I look over your left shoulder; there is nothing there.  You lean towards me, and for a split second, I wonder if I’m naked.  I look down.  No.  I am dressed, and appropriately.  Your voice falls to an ooze. I look, and you catch me.  You wink, and I die of exposure.

Sometimes, you just show up.  I’m leaving Byerly’s with two bags–chips and sandwiches in one, Coke, water, and a magazine in the other.  The doors spit me out into the baking air, and just as my foot hits the asphalt, you call me by name.  You run to me and take the bag from my right hand.  You slip your left arm around my waist.  As we walk, I never think to ask you what you’re doing there or why you never said you were coming.

Sometimes, I show up.  You are in the park, sitting in a group of people.  You are expecting me, but you don’t say anything right away.  I kneel in the grass behind you, and I can only see the back of your head and the slope of your neck to your shoulder where it disappears into a white t-shirt.  You smell like soap and new plastic.  You turn to kiss me on the cheek (“Mwah!” you go) and apologize.  You have to leave.  When you stand, only your head breaks out of the shade.  Tomorrow! you say.

Sometimes we are in a hallway.  We lean against opposing walls and chat.  Maybe we’re waiting for something.  You test the depths of your pockets with your fists, making yourself small under the fluorescent lights.  You gesture with your chin when you talk, and I push off the wall with my head to fall back again.  Over and over.  We agree that we’re tired, and it’s time to go.  As we walk, you wrap your hand around the back of my neck.

TAGS: , , , , , , , , ,

BECKY PALAPALA is the author of many unpublished poems, diatribes, and terse letters, which she holds captive in a homely tote bag in her bedroom. The poems that escaped can be found in online publication at Strix Varia, Paper Darts, and in other nooks and crannies of the internet. In 2008-2009, she served as a poetry editor for Ivory Tower. After an iliadic battle with higher education, Becky graduated with a B.A. in English Literature in the spring of 2010. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and dog on the outskirts of the Twin Cities, where she pines for her rivertown home and attempts to befriend the rabbit that lives in her yard.

110 responses to “When I Wonder About You, I Wonder”

  1. Richard Cox says:

    I really like this a lot. It’s my favorite post of yours. I enjoyed all the little details, almost as if you’re blinking your eyes like a camera shutter and each time you open them there is some new image there. But sort of washed out. You’re talking about dreams or daydreams and the writing has an ephemeral quality that perfectly sets the mood for it.

    Really well done, Becky.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Shucks. Thanks. And phew.

      I figured after a lot of pretty straight-up prose, I could no longer legitimately claim that I was still getting my legs back under me.

      Had to do something a little more literary before I started to hate myself.

      • Richard Cox says:

        Another way I felt this as I read it is like your eyes looking around, constantly in and out of focus, because some parts of it feel fuzzy and soft and then you’ll suddenly describe crisp, rich detail.

        I really enjoyed this. I feel a bit odd complimenting you again because of the sometimes ironic position we take on being too congratulatory, but I came back and re-read it just to experience it again and that’s something I rarely do.

        Okay. I’ll stop now before you start getting all itchy.

        • Becky says:

          Yeah. I don’t know. Two compliments, Rich? Are you gonna be my stalker now?

          But seriously, that you came back to read it just to have the feeling again, that’s really the better of the two compliments. Really, an ideal compliment, so I’ll take this one, and you can have the other one back and we’ll never speak of this awkward kum-bye-yah again.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          I agree with Richard: this is my favorite piece of yours to date. The “rosemary and bare oak” line was especially evocative, for me at least. I love writing that activates my senses.

          I’ve had a number of dreams about TNB and TNBers. Before the first LA TNBLE, for instance, I dreamed that the event had gone badly; I forget the specifics. Lenore was in the dream (I’d only met her once at that point), as was Reno (whom I hadn’t met at all). Reno was in clown makeup.

          Still, most of my TNB dreams have been incredibly dull: just me trying to write a post. I’ve had a lot of editing dreams in the last couple of years: the search for just the right word, or spotting a typo after something is in print. I used to dream a lot about natural disasters, especially tornadoes. I miss those dreams, which are obviously far more visceral than ones in which I’m consulting a thesaurus or somesuch.

        • Becky Palapala says:


          Who have you been talking to?

          I’m creeped out.

          What I’ve left off the conversation so far is the origin of the “You.”

          They’re all TNBers.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          I thought that was implicit. Or maybe I was told it was by the people I’ve been talking to. (I never use emoticons, but one would probably fit right around here.)

        • Becky Palapala says:

          I only told two people. *eyes said folks suspiciously*

          I mean, it sort of was implicit, but in a sneaky way. Not in any way, I thought, that anyone who didn’t know would be able to pick up on. Maybe you’re psychic.

  2. Gloria says:

    I love this so much Becky. It’s different for you. It’s lilting and sweet. Dreamlike. Soft. Erotic even.


    • Becky Palapala says:

      It was fun to write. I miss this voice of mine.

      No more missionary sex for me and TNB! No sir!

      Unless I’m tired.

      Or I’m in a hurry.

      Or I have a headache. 🙂

      • Gloria says:

        Or it’s just been too long and you know you have to put out to appease TNB. Got it.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Or if someone else starts flirting with TNB and I have to hang all over it to scare them off.

          Then I’d have to make good to drive the message home.

        • Sarah says:

          Or if it’s TNB’s birthday and even though he’s been an asshat lately, it’s a once-a-year obligatory thing.

        • Becky says:

          TNB has been down a bit lately. I’m willing to roleplay a bit if it’ll help break the funk. No one likes to hang around a moper.

        • Gloria says:

          You gonna break out your cheerleader outfit? Or the librarian?

          I think TNB needs a nurse.

        • Tawni says:

          TNB prefers Becky in her Princess Leia Metal Bikini costume. She bought it when TNB’s work hired that sexy new secretary.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          I was thinking more sexy-stranger-in-a-hotel-bar, but whatever it takes.

          Except furries.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Hey, maybe all TNB wants right now is for someone to ask how its day was, and sit with it quietly on the couch, and watch some TV, and be close to it. But it doesn’t know how to express those needs in a culture which either devalues or overdramatises emotional displays, so instead, the only way it knows how to ask for love is through, you know.

          The bangin’.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          TNB should not blame society for its emotional unavailability!

          That’s like blaming the air for suffocation!

          *cross arms*

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Hey wait a minute.

          That’s also exactly the kind of thing TNB would say just to get me into bed.

        • Gloria says:

          But, Becky, the point is: we want you in bed with TNB. It brings everyone pleasure. So, you know, whatever it takes, man.

        • Becky says:

          Okay, well, I said I would do role-playing. I never agreed to an orgy.

        • Gloria says:

          I didn’t say I wanted to participate, Becky.

          I just want to watch.

        • Gloria says:

          Let’s face it: nearly no one who comes to TNB regularly does it just to read a piece of writing and form an intellectual response to the piece. There’s a voyeuristic intimacy that occurs, too.

        • Becky says:

          Well, that’s true enough.

          Again, I will have to reference my response to Greg about feeling like people are looking up my skirt.

    • Ashley Menchaca (NOLAdy) says:

      I was going to write something so similar that I there is no reason for me to post.

      Becky, I love seeing…or reading, your softer side.
      I want more posts from your heart instead of your head.


      • Becky Palapala says:

        Thanks so much, Ashley.

        Like I was telling Jude below, this particular voice is selectively cooperative.

        She’s really kind of a pain in the ass.

        She knows she’s appealing, and she wields it over me like blackmail.

  3. Zara Potts says:

    I really like this. It’s dreamy. It makes me want to curl up in a warm bed and think nice thoughts. Lovely words, Becky.

  4. Joe Daly says:

    What Coxy said- I love the direction you’ve taken here. An immediate favorite.

    You ol’ honeydripper, you…

  5. Sarah says:

    This is wonderful. The smallest snippits of snapshots of dreams that last for mere milliseconds yet are fully formed events are so difficult to describe.

    They can be maddening because I want to know more when I have them – more back story, more why, more who (most of my dreams like these contain faceless people. They’re people I know I know, I just have no clue who they are). Yet the way you describe them I’m not left wanting.

    “You test the depths of your pockets with your fists”

    “I push off the wall with my head to fall back again.”

    “The doors spit me out into the baking air”

    I could quote many more examples, but these demonstrate the ease with which you show beautiful imagery.

    Now I’m gushing and now I’ll stop. It’s just that I’ve never read this Becky before. I like her.

    • Becky says:

      This Becky is a close relation to poet Becky, who I hope will make an appearance soon. That’s my end game in all of this. I mean, not to talk about myself in the 3rd person, but to get back to writing poetry, which I genuinely love but is spectacularly hard to do when you’re out of practice. So the fact that my imagery works for you is super happy news. Thanks so much for saying so.

      All these yous had faces, though. That’s what made them so interesting to me. I know who they are, but they say everyone in your dreams is actually some version of you, too. Not sure if the same is true of daydreams.

  6. Greg Olear says:

    I did not slip on the Spanish Steps. That fucking German tourist pushed me.

    But seriously…really enjoyed this piece, a departure for you. Always fun to glimpse the soul of the Comment Board Tiger.

    • Gloria says:

      Right? I really wanted to locate myself in this, too. I’m convinced I’m the singing lady in the kitchen. I don’t want to know if I’m wrong.

    • Becky says:

      I’m so fascinated by the notion that this piece somehow represents my heart and/or soul. It’s almost 100% imagery. I mean, there’s not too much emoting going on.

      Sure. Pushed. And I suppose it was a Japanese tourist who made you get drunk prior to.

      • Greg Olear says:

        I happen to know what you think of such notions — ie, that any one side of you, or anyone, is more “real” than another side, and thus more representative of “the real you” — and that’s why I wrote that. ; )

        And I was not drunk, just a bit tipsy. Frangellico has quite a kick.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Okay! That makes so much more sense.


          People talking about how they enjoy my soul always sort of makes me feel like they’re looking up my dress.

          It’s a little awkward.

        • Ben Loory says:

          you should write more stuff like this and send it out. to literary journals. they’d love it.

          it’s really good. i read it a few times. you say there’s not a lot of emoting, but emotion lives in imagery, as i’m sure you’re aware, and it’s really very affecting.

          and vivid.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Thanks, Ben!

          I’ve only endured a couple rounds of submissions in my life. That was with poetry, so maybe what I need to do is undo all those line breaks I pained over and re-send it disguised as prose.

          Right under the radar! SHHHHHHWOOOMP!

          Just kidding.

          I don’t know if I can do this again.

          I’m not sure that I even wrote it.

          We’ll see…

  7. Michelle C says:

    Where you say “I remember things that have never happened”, it reminded me of dreams that have such vivid details of places I’ve never been and people I’ve never known. Or the very strong, inexplicable feeling in the gut of having a connection to things but you don’t know why, like certain eras and places.

    These are the only things that have ever made me wonder about reincarnation.

    I love the flow of this piece, and I love how it ends.
    You can feel that hand.

    • Gloria says:

      Gloria likes Michelle’s comment.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Exactly Michelle.

      So many dreams are vague or just so strange that they have no bearing on real life at all.

      Then some are perfectly realistic and plausible and precise that they only real evidence that they’re dreams is that you wake up.

      Those are the ones where it takes 5 minutes AFTER you’re awake to realize it was a dream.

      • Michelle C says:

        And the ones that usually make me keep trying to go back to sleep, to find out what happens. Unless they’re scary.

  8. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    Thank you, Becky. I do love to reside in your dreams from time to time.
    “I see you in the kitchen, for instance.” This entire paragraph is so dreamy I want it to be real.
    So many deliciously visceral images. Upending laughter. Surrealism. YUM.

    I think we should have a TNB flash-fiction-for-the-fuck-of-it-athon. Everybody has to write a story starting with this sentence:
    You lean towards me, and for a split second, I wonder if I’m naked.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Thank YOU.

      Other dreams don’t translate as well. Like the one I had last night where John Cusack and I were trying to crush Courtney Love to death with a crowd of thousands of people.

      I mean.


      The kitchen and the beach dreams/daydreams are my favorites, I think. I remember them feeling very comfy and cozy. Storm and wet sand and all.

  9. […] stole the opening line from Becky Palapala’s dreams. Why? Inside Becky’s dreams is where I want to be tonight. I’m barging in. Come with me. Obviously, […]

  10. Tawni says:

    “Sometimes it’s in dreams and sometimes in the moments just before I sleep.”

    Perfect sentence with which to start; it really set the dreamy mood. I love how this piece is detailed and lush in feeling, yet still concise. Like a literary sponge soaked with only the necessary words, dripping into wet sentences.*

    Beautiful writing, Becky. My inner fantasy life and I adore this.

    *Literary Sponge will be the name of my next band.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Disclaimer: Literary Sponge will not protect against AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.

      Thanks, Tawni! My inner fantasy life and your inner fantasy life would totally get along. Maybe they should have a playdate.



      That doesn’t sound quite right.

  11. You wink and I die of exposure.
    There’s something Pablo Neruda-esque – very romantic about this.
    But in your own midwest kind of way.
    Love it, tiger lil!

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Oooh. You said Neruda.

      You sweet-talker.

      Also, I’m changing my name to Tigerlil.

      (Though that might get me kicked out of MN)

      Thanks Steph. I’m so glad you like it.

  12. Irene Zion says:


    This is so beautifully written,
    so exact,
    such detail,
    but so very, very sad.
    You must have pulled this one
    slowly from your heart
    in strings of pain.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Thanks, Irene.

      I’m glad so many people are having visceral reactions to it.

      Sad? Really? I mean, I guess it’s a little melancholy. Dreams are bummers sometimes. Sometimes even (or especially) when they’re good. Because they’re just dreams, right?

      You gotta get up and go have your real life at some point.

      That can be a stinker.

  13. Jude says:

    Wow! This is not the Becky I know. This is the shy one, the quiet one, the one that pokes her head from behind the curtain to see if it’s safe to come out… And I’m so glad you have introduced this side of Becky.
    Your writing is wistful, luxurious,meandering, soft. I really enjoyed this, and as did Richard, I too went back for seconds.

    I particularly enjoyed this…”You lean towards me, and for a split second, I wonder if I’m naked. You wink, and I die of exposure.”

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Thanks, Jude. Always happy to surprise people.

      I don’t know if she’s shy so much as selectively cooperative. Sometimes she’s willing to hold the pen and sometimes she picks it up just to throw it across the room.

      Everyone keeps cutting out the intervening part of that quote.

      I knew I should have left it out.

      I knew it! Argh! *throw pen*

  14. Simon Smithson says:

    A different side? Or simply a different way of expressing yourself?

    I liked this a lot, Becky. There’s a lyricism here that really conjures imagery, both internal and external.

    I think the cuts from scene to scene add a lot to the dreamlike quality of it.

    Top marks, ma’am!

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Thanks, Sir!

      I was pleasantly surprised when I realized it had its own cadence.

      Even rhyme and alliteration in places.

      It wasn’t intentional, so it’s not present consistently throughout, but I let it be. It was nice to have those things come intuitively for once.

      I don’t know about a different side or a different way of expressing myself or what. This was one of those that felt like automatic writing.

      I was enjoying it so much I wanted to keep going, make it longer, write a million little vignettes, but it quit. Like, it was over. 725 words. Automatic writer was like, “that’s all there is for now.” Anything else would have been forcing it.

  15. Darian Arky says:

    This makes me think of you as a woman, which I don’t normally do.

    You’re Becky.

    I guess that sounds strange, and maybe politically incorrect in one way or another. (Please don’t hit me too hard.)

    I can’t help but think about “Inception” and the complaint by one of the psychologists who was debating the film in the paper: How come there’s no sex?

    But his other gripe — the lack of surreal, fragmentary randomness — couldn’t be leveled against this piece. It’s definitely dreamy.

    Anyway, that all just shows how little I really know you — or how ready I am to assume that I do.

    By the way, 725 words is perfect. I can’t focus too much after that, neither as a writer nor a reader.

    Unless there’s sex…

    • Becky Palapala says:

      To be perfectly honest, I almost never dream about sex.

      I sometimes think people lie about how much they dream about sex. Or maybe they have a dream that’s erotic, not necessarily involving sex, which they then recast as a sex dream just because it was sexy.

      I can honestly say I have probably dreamt of the actual deed no more than three times in my entire life.


      Am I de-womanized now?

      • Darian Arky says:

        They warned me that the womanizing would get me into trouble…

        But, no, you’re not.

        Because relationships are about the kitchens and beaches, the everyday joys and disappointments, the laughter and the miscommunication, the looks and the parks.

        And dreams are where the echoes and reflections of all that get jumbled up like ratatouille.

        I taste a woman in your randomized recipe. It’s good.

        Sex, meanwhile, is the plate. It’s good to have something on which to serve the ratatouille; but it’s not the most memorable part of the meal.

        I’m not sure what any of that has to do with your reply, of course…

  16. Andrew Nonadetti says:

    Becky…. I’m at a loss for words. Granted, it’s early and I’m under-caffeinated but…. Wow. This was sensuous, silken. I won’t say the “T-Y” phrase since that irks you but I’m glad you posted this. If we were face to face, I’d be staring at you with uncomfortably intense curiosity right now. I don’t often underestimate and am intrigued when something – or someone – surprises me so pleasantly.

    Well done.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      I’m fine with being thanked for writing. It’s the “thanks for reading!” that somehow always rings hollow for me, but no one will admit it, so I might just be making it up.

      But thanks for saying nice things.

      I am a mystery wrapped in an enigma, Anon.

      You should see what I do to open displays of uncomfortably intense curiosity.

      Just kidding.

      I run screaming. It’s not all that interesting.

  17. Cheryl says:

    I just want to wrap this piece around my shoulders and curl up on the couch and daydream. If this is a precursor to the poetry, I very much look forward to seeing your poems posted here.

    Reading this piece this early in the day does not bode well for my productivity at work.

    I like the vulnerability, and the surrender; or maybe acceptance is the right word. Or maybe surrender done right = acceptance.

    “You wink, and I die of exposure”; “I never think to ask what you are doing there or why you never said that you were coming”; “You are expecting me, but you don’t say anything right away”

    This struck me as a voice that is okay with not being in control, enjoys it even. A voice that relishes the unfolding without needing to know what is being unfolded. That’s the dreamlike quality. I love that kind of observational feeling in dreams. I find that (with the excpetion of nightmares), I am largely content in my dreams to just kind of see what happens, even as I participate. The ability to just kind of accept the improbable, or a sudden change in setting or shift in time in the dreamstate. You capture that very well.

    I like it!

    • Becky Palapala says:

      It’s so much safer to be okay with being out of control in dreams.

      Maybe that’s it.

      I have a similar audience-type attitude in most of my dreams.

      Just really curious what will happen next. But I do get pretty annoyed if I don’t get to find out.

  18. Matt says:

    Wow. I feel like I just sat down and flipped through an emotional photo album. And here I thought you only emoted when it came to ornery contrariness. Who knew you had this side to you?

    • Becky Palapala says:

      I’m not emoting!

      They’re just images. Mostly.

      It’s all very matter-of-fact.

      It’s in your head, Matt. I’m keeping a running tab of who sees what.

      Gloria and Darian find it erotic and/or gendered, you and Ashley find it emotional, Cheryl sees acceptance and relinquishing of control…other people aren’t interested in me at all and just see the writing…

      And everyone seems to think I’ve been somehow keeping it a secret.


      • Gloria says:

        Your writing is like Magic Eye photo. If you look hard enough and kind of relax your eyes a little, The Real Becky will jump out.

      • Cheryl says:

        To clarify, I did specify “the voice” (as in the narrator) not Becky, as seeming to be okay with not being in control. I chalk that up more to the style of writing as evocative of the dreamlike state as opposed to referring to Who You Are, or any aspect of that, hidden or not. In other words, my comment was on the writing rather than on you as a person. I think all writers reveal aspects of themselves in their writing, but I’m not inclined to psychoanalyze a writer or pin characteristics on a writer based on a piece.

        I looked at seemless shifting of scenes, without the need to over-explain, or provide context or resolution. You are describing scenes in the piece, and not adding any value judgements, or drawing conclusions. The descriptions are wonderful, and are going to evoke different things for each reader because you let them stand on their own and speak for themselves. That is probably why I see acceptance or surrender, because each vignette is presented as-is with no value judgement.

        For example, in the two paragraphs that Judy quotes below, as a writer you could have easily guided the reader’s response to those images. In the first, on the beach, with your partner going on ahead and you can’t keep up, you don’t imply that you are angry or frustrated that your partner won’t stop moving, or appreciation for your partner’s strength and endurance, you just describe. In the second, when you show up at the park and you partner immediately has to leave, your words imply no disappointment in that fact, or relief.

        Yes, the writing is matter-of-fact and not emotional – but it is evocative for the reader because the reader has the freedom to supply the emotional response. The emotions or value judgements are left up to the reader. I think that is the strength of the piece, and also why you are getting so many differing responses to it.

        • Becky says:

          Duly noted.

          I could have worded that better.

          I didn’t mean that you were psychoanalyzing ME necessarily.

          Just that some people were less interested in the emotional implications of the piece and more in the technical, tool-boxy stuff.

          But partners? What kind of partners?

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          “But partners? What kind of partners?”

          Interesting question. Given the dream-state, you could simply have been interacting with another aspect of your self. Or selves. 🙂

        • Cheryl says:

          I was trying to find a non-gender-specific word to refer to the other person in the dream(s) with whom you were interacting. Boy that was a clunky sentence, but precise enough I suppose!

          Anon’s comment is interesting. I’ve heard that premise, that every person you encounter in your dreams is really an aspect of yourself. According to that premise, you should pay particular attention to the actions of other people in your dreams, their reactions to “you”, and how you feel in the dream about that person.

          I guess that means that all sex dreams are really narcissistic masturbatory fantasies. And that some aspect of me looks exactly like Jon Hamm 🙂

        • Becky says:

          Yeah. I mentioned that…somewhere in here.

          Then again, not all of these are dreams proper. What’s the rule with daydreams?

        • Cheryl says:

          I hope there aren’t any rules with daydreams.

          I just tried to Google “interpreting daydreams”, and Google kind of laughed at me. I did find an excerpt from “The Complete Idiots Guide to Interpreting Dreams” that pointed out that the language/imagery of sleeping dreams tends to be more symbolic or metphorical, while the language/imagery of daydreams is more literal.

          So I guess if you are dreaming about making a presentation and you suddenly find you are naked you are processing your fears of failure or being exposed. If you are daydreaming about giving a presentation and you are naked, it turns out you are a slut 😀

        • Becky says:

          Or totally desperate to get out of doing the presentation.

        • Becky says:

          “I know I said I would, but I’m not prepared! I don’t even have my underpants!”

        • Gloria says:

          @Cheryl –

          This is the best dream interpretation site ever:


          I’ve been using it for years.

          I linked to to the discussion about Carl Jung because he’s largely regarded as the father of modern dream interpretation.

        • Gloria says:

          I’ve been using this site for years. About four. It’s all based on Jungian theory. It’s wonderful.

      • Michelle C says:

        Not me! I mean, knowing already that you write poetry, this didn’t surprise me. I was actually like, “Yes, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!” or even, “Damn woman, it’s about time.”

        Nor did I have a lack of interest in you exactly, but more of a focus on just the experience of the reading. Yes, visceral. For me, in the poignancy of remembering those last months or weeks of an ending romantic relationship. It always feels sharper in retrospect. But I didn’t want to, you know, “grill” you about what this-or-that meant specifically for you.

        Besides, I like you as a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in bacon.

  19. Judy Prince says:

    Thanks for this travelogue of love, Becky. All of it reached right under the skin . . . everywhere.

    These two paragraphs I especially liked:

    “Somewhere on the gray Atlantic coast, I want to sit down. I keep saying so. You can’t stop moving. Now that you’re 300 inexplicable feet up the beach, I give up. My calves burn; the beach is all the same. I sit down in the damp sand and wait. I can barely hear what you’re shouting to me against the wind as you raise your arm and point out at the ocean, but your laughter fires and carries like grapeshot, peppering everything under the gathering storm.”

    “Sometimes, I show up. You are in the park, sitting in a group of people. You are expecting me, but you don’t say anything right away. I kneel in the grass behind you, and I can only see the back of your head and the slope of your neck to your shoulder where it disappears into a white t-shirt. You smell like soap and new plastic. You turn to kiss me on the cheek (“Mwah!” you go) and apologize. You have to leave. When you stand, only your head breaks out of the shade. Tomorrow! you say.”

    • Becky says:

      Thanks, Judy.

      The beach one is a favorite of mine, too.

      I’ve only been there a couple of times, but I sort of miss New England, I think.

      • Judy Prince says:

        Well, then, Becky, you must go! There’s something about an ocean that trumps even the beautiful Great Lakes. Can’t believe it’s as simple as S A L T W A T E R, but it must be. Having lived all my life near the Great Lakes until retirement to Norfolk, VA, next to the Atlantic Ocean, I can sense a difference. The “sleeping” Edgar Cayce once said that his query-er would be physically strengthened by lying in the sand in Virginia Beach, something about gold in the sand. Odd, but…..

      • Sarah says:

        You’ll always have a place to stay if you decide to come visit. We can start up at Acadia National Park and travel the coast down to Cape Cod. I’ve got couches and spare beds available to us all along that route.

  20. Dana says:

    I’ll refrain from mentioning the tender side of Becky so as not to incur wrath or some scary eye thing ;), but the paragraph below clicked perfectly for me. I could feel the sun and wished I had my shades.

    “When the waitress brings the drinks, you lean into the shade of the umbrella, elbows on the table, and curl one wrist to reach your straw. You stab it into the ice for emphasis in lieu of volume or affect. I lean back and weave my fingers together across my stomach until you ask a rhetorical question of incredible coincidence, fully intended to upend me. I shoot forward in my chair, eyes wide, slapping my palm down hard on table. People look. Your eyebrows jump. You stifle a laugh and insist that you’re serious. Your face falls straight. THIS is serious. Am I? You lean back into the blazing sun.”


    • Becky says:

      The Eye of Sauron! From the Lord of the Rings! That all-seeing thing on top of the tower.


      Never mind.

      I want to have that conversation really bad. Whatever one was going on at that patio table. I was having a lot of fun.

      I wonder what it was about?

  21. Lorna says:

    This was a fantastic read. It reads just like a dream. I love dreams like this that are so detailed that when you wake up you want to instantly go back to sleep to see how it all plays out. Just last night I was just telling my husband about the most hilarious dream I had and all the details that were in it. I wonder sometimes where our brain pulls this stuff from. For instance one of the details of the dream was that I needed to buy someone Hellman’s Mayonnaise. We don’t or have we ever preferred Hellman’s mayonnaise in our household so the whole idea of this person making a big deal out of the brand was sort of perplexing to me.

    Anyway,really, really enjoyed this one!

    • Becky says:

      Thanks, Lorna! I’m glad.

      Dreams are dangerous territory. I mean, the general rule is that no one gives a crap about other people’s dreams, unless the person hearing about the dream is in the dream.

      And half the time, they’re so weird, there’s nothing to explain, really. After your audience stares at you blankly for a few minutes, you end up just going, “Anyway. It was messed up, that’s all.”

      In this case, I figured I’d take a shot at presenting them more or less as they were presented to me. Maybe that’s the way to go.

  22. Cynthia Hawkins says:

    You know what I love about this — the way it’s so vividly drawn yet so elusive. I know exactly what’s going on, but I don’t know exactly what’s going on … in that dreamy, surreal way others have noted. It’s the reason I’ve read it more than once so far, because that’s such a mesmerizing combination. And hard to pull off successfully, I imagine. But you do! Because you’re Becky! Or … maybe because … you’re the eye of Sauron!?

    • Becky says:

      Thanks, Cynthia!

      If I weren’t negotiating TNB from my phone right now, I’d try to explain what I meant with the Sauron thing, but since I AM on my phone, I’ll just say: Yes. Because I am the Eye of Sauron.

  23. TammyALlen says:

    I haven’t read much on TNB for a while. I don’t know if it’s jealously or the overwhelming enormity of it.

    This was beautiful, funny, lyrical.

    My best friend died. Another really great friend blew his head off. I have dreams in which they visit. Often they are too far away or I could reach out and touch one or the other. They appear together and apart. They appear anywhere I am at any moment. I never can be in charge.

    This reminded me of my dead friends and the dreams I have not about them but with them in the dream.

    But that’s a personal take.

    I love it.

    • Becky says:

      I’m glad you like it, Tammy. Dreams are excellent places for hanging out with all kind of people we couldnt otherwise.

  24. Mark Sutz says:

    Really lovely. I often wonder in similar ways about a person I too once loved, maybe still do. Thank you.

  25. This is very beautiful. Extremely vivid and evocative, working on all the senses in some way. I really liked the last paragraph especially. Its observations are so well described.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Thanks, David!

      Especially for busting out the B-word. I’m blushing, I think.

      The last paragraph is a favorite of mine, too.

  26. Dean says:

    Beautiful. Best piece I have read of yours. Sorry we are no longer friends.

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