In the dream, we were walking along a road, somewhere warm and muggy. Florida, maybe? There on the sidewalk in front of us was a dead thing. My dad picked up a stick and was poking at the dead thing, pointing out stuff. It was bitten by a snake. See how the venom made its face get all black and puffy? Its throat probably swelled shut and it choked to death.
I think I was smaller than I am. Younger.
He kept poking at the dead thing, and that's when I realized that hanging from a tree branch directly behind my father was the snake, coiled and ready to strike.
"Dad," I said, "it's behind you! Move!" I pulled at him to get him to step away from the snake, but instead he turned abruptly, bringing his face right in front of the snake.
My dad does not have the best survival instincts.
I dreamed that. And then stubbornly kept redreaming it, trying to get him to step away from the snake when he needed to (he would not), trying to have enough mass to be able to pull him physically out of harm's way. Trying to will a stick into my own hand so that I could bat the snake out of the air as it struck at his face, or a knife. Or, all that failing, willing him to get a hand up in front so that it bit him some place less vital than his throat.
And then, all that failing, trying to get the snake to let go, to control its head and pull it off him.
I almost got up and called my parents to see how they were doing.
Today, my parents are driving to Allentown, where they are meeting up with 3 other couples. They call this little group "the survivors," because they are the only ones out of the group of friends from back before I was born whose marriages have survived. And because all four of the men have survived heart attacks.
Not a great day for a road trip, what with the nor'easter and all. But I hope they have fun.