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I have to get away for a little while. I think this guy can do anything through computers, or technology, or something--he got my phone number somehow, and now my voicemail's all filled up, and I know if he can get my phone number he can get my address, so I'm going away. I can't tell you where. I don't know if he knows about this blog--Hope Hodgson isn't actually my real name, so I doubt he'd know what to Google for--but I can't risk it.

...I wonder what happened to the other people who submitted their dreams to the website.

Jun. 29th, 2008

Sorry I've been offline for a couple days--but I didn't know what to say. I'm getting really, really scared now. No, I haven't been fired--yet--I had a day off, actually, so I went to the website in the ad and told them about the dreams. I figured they could help, you know? Like if they knew what was going on, they could explain it to me.

They got back to me quick. I guess they've got someone standing by. Thing is, they didn't explain it, so much--they just said it sounded like what they were looking for, and they asked if they could arrange a meeting. Now, I'm not stupid. Meeting someone from the internet you don't even know? Bad idea all around. But things have been so weird lately, I thought--well, maybe I was getting kind of desperate.

So we set up a meeting. Not anywhere near my house, or my job, because even desperation doesn't drive away all common sense, but in this cafe. A safe place, right? Public. Public's good.

They were there before I was. They didn't look too weird. Well, not that weird. A young guy, kind of stylish-looking, but in a trying-too-hard way, like one of those dot-com yuppies trying to pretend they're not too smart for their own good, with one of those dazzling and completely fake smiles, and a woman, maybe older, in these sort of old-fashioned clothes. The guy already had a Starbucks cup with him, even though the cafe didn't sell Starbucks. You know, one of those kinds of guys. I don't think the woman liked him very much; she looked a lot more, I don't know, dignified, and she talked a whole lot less than he did. Mostly she just watched me.

So they asked me about my dreams again, and I told them, and the woman nodded and listened while the guy tapped things into a BlackBerry, and then he asked me if I knew anyone else who had these dreams, so I told him I didn't, because, well, I don't. (I don't think so, anyway.) And he looked kinda disappointed. Then he leaned in a little too close and said, way too earnestly, that they worked for someone who could help, someone who knew all about this and was trying to find as many of us as possible. He didn't say what their name was, but I think it was a woman. Now at this point I was getting even more paranoid than usual, because none of this felt right, the way the woman was staring at me and the way the guy seemed to think all of this was cool. So I told them I'd think about it, and made an excuse, and got the hell out of there.

Few hours later, the guy emailed me. I didn't reply, because, seriously, it'd only been a few hours, did he think I'd made up my mind that quick? But I got another one a few hours after that, and a few hours after that, and it was starting to feel like one of those freaky Japanese tech-horror flicks, so I shut down the computer and got out of the house to go to work, and I swear to god, they were there. Just sitting at one of my tables, easy as you please. The guy even waved at me. I faked a sudden case of something-or-other, clocked out early, and called the police, because what else could I do? Well, of course they weren't at the restaurant when the police came there, and the officers were very understanding and concerned and told me to call them if I had any more problems, but you could tell they thought I was just being paranoid.
So that was yesterday. You don't think I'm being paranoid, do you? I'm scared to check my email again--I don't know what I'll find. I know I'm sure as hell glad I never gave them my phone number. But if they found out where I work...

I'm calling in sick for as long as I can. I don't care if I get fired--right now, it feels like that's the least of my problems.
I think I might get fired soon. I had to remind my boss to send my paycheck--she said it just slipped her mind--and the other day she called me in to talk about customer complaints. What could I tell her? "No, I really did take their orders, they just forgot. All of them." On the other hand, I think most of the annoyed people forget why they were annoyed in the first place, so probably it's not as bad as it could be. Still, it doesn't look good. What if I come in tomorrow and nobody remembers I work there at all?

I was going through my stuff again--trying to find an old digital camera I know had some pictures in it--when I found something I do remember from my childhood. I mean, it's not like it's a definite reminder of my existence, it could belong to anybody, but it felt good to find it again.

My parents gave it to me when I was a kid. I'm not sure where they got it. Maybe they found it, or maybe one of their parents gave it to them; it doesn't really matter. There was a box, too, but I haven't found it yet.

I remember playing with this thing when I was a kid, actually. I mean, it's a rock, it doesn't do much, but it's a pretty cool-looking rock, you have to admit. I used to pretend it was a magic rock, like a fairy gave it to me or it came from another world and it had special powers. Or it let me have special powers. I don't really remember. I do remember that my parents didn't like it when I threw it at things, but it never actually broke, so maybe they didn't need to worry. I called it a sum-runner, I think. Not sure why. Maybe I got the name out of a movie or something.

Last night I dreamed I was somebody. The website in the ad didn't say anything about that--it just wanted to know if you dreamed about cities. Well, a city. I think my person lived there, but I can't remember what she looked like, or what her name was. Mostly she seemed kind of bored.

I have to say, if I'm going to have weird dreams, dreaming about being bored isn't high on the list.
I found this in the paper today.

I went to the website--it just asks you to talk about your dreams. What does that mean? Does that mean I'm not the only one?

Does that mean some of you might be, too?

I'm going to submit something to them. Maybe they can tell me what to do.
Memories aren't the only strange things happening with me.

When you're a kid, you dream of scary things--monsters coming out of the closet, dinosaurs chasing you, your parents abandoning you--but your parents tell you they're just dreams, and after a while, you realize that, and then that particular dream doesn't scare you as much any more. You even joke about them with other kids--trying to one-up each other with who had the weirdest and creepiest. "I dreamed my house was eating me alive!" "Yeah, well, I dreamed I was turning into a bug!" And that's all. Even when you're an adult, it doesn't take long for nightmares to become unimportant.

I never had any nightmares. Not a lot of dreams, either. Just vague, blurry things that faded from my mind in minutes. But now, I dream almost every night. I dream when I take a nap. I dream when I'm not taking a nap, when I'm doing the dishes at home or waiting for customers at work. I just black out for a few minutes, and when I wake up, I'm still doing what I was doing; maybe I'm doing it a little slower, but I didn't faint or anything. If you're sleepwalking, you have to actually be asleep first, right? And I never sleepwalked as a kid, either. Can it really manifest that late?

That's not what scares me, though. What scares me is what the dreams are--big, impossible things, places and people completely unrecognizable, colors I've never seen, things I'm not sure I can even comprehend, and all of it feels so, so far away, so far I know I can't comprehend it. But I can tell this much: all those strange, foreign buildings make up a city. The people live there, I think--or maybe some of them don't; some of the people look different from the others, like they're not the same...species, I guess. But they're all people. And everything seems sort of familiar, at least while I'm there; when I wake up, where I am feels unfamiliar for a few minutes. It's hard to describe. A lot of things about the dreams are hard to describe.

There's nobody who can tell me that these are just dreams. It's been weeks, and I still can't shake them off and believe they're unimportant. And every time I have one, it gets a little clearer, a little more like I belong there--

And I'm starting to think I do.

I just wish I could talk to someone about them...
I've never had a blog before--I didn't really know anyone who would read it, and I didn't think my life was very interesting. Never had any journals, either. I tried, a couple of times, when I was a kid, but I couldn't think of anything to say, and they just ended up collecting dust under my bed.

But now I wish I'd gotten into the habit. Journals, scrapbooks, home videos--there's something to be said for a real, concrete piece of evidence that you existed, that you grew up and did things and met people over years and years of your life. And I've been looking for those things, and I don't have any of them. My parents didn't own a video camera. I don't remember them being particularly gung-ho about family photos, either. I can't find my high school yearbook and I can't remember where my parents put my diplomas. There's nothing.

I'd ask my parents about this, but it's a few years too late for that. Car crash. I'd just gotten my first apartment.

Both my parents were only children, and both sets of grandparents died when I was just a kid. I can't even remember them.

But I never noticed any of this before. So what if we didn't have photos? I didn't like staying still long enough to take pictures anyway. Diplomas? Just pieces of paper--my parents kept them somewhere, I'm sure, but I didn't want to carry them around with me wherever I went. And like I said, I never did know how to keep a journal.

I should probably get to my point.

Here's the thing: I'm a waitress. A damn good one, actually; no one can wrangle a stack of plates like I can. And I work at a pretty good restaurant, so I see a lot of people. I don't exactly keep track of them, but there's a few regulars, people whose names and favorites I remember, that sort of thing. Familiar enough to have a little chat with them when I sit them down, you know?

A while ago, I'm talking to one of these regulars--a middle-aged guy, usually brings his wife and kids, except this time he didn't and I was asking about them--and he gets this look on his face, like he's not really sure what's going on, and he just shuts down. Like, cuts the conversation off, gets all terse and unfriendly. I figured he was just in a bad mood, maybe didn't want to talk about it. Except he was talking about, he was right in the middle of saying something about his kids' school and then he stopped. And like I said, we knew each other. It wasn't like I was a total stranger asking random questions, you know?

But I shrugged it off and went back to work. And the next day, well, it was really busy, I was practically running from table to table to get everybody's orders. So I finally finish getting all of them and I think I can relax for a minute when one of my tables flags me down, tells me they've been waiting ten minutes and nobody's asked for their orders yet. I'm all confused, because I just took their order a second ago, and I tell them as much, but they get all annoyed and say that's just not true. Whatever--I take their order again. And then another table. And then another table.

Every day for the past couple of weeks, at least one of my tables forgets I took their orders. A few times, the chef's forgotten I gave him their orders, and he's known me for almost a year. People just...don't remember me. It's scary. It's really, really scary and I'd talk to my friends about it except it's suddenly occurred to me I don't really have any friends outside work. I don't hate people or anything, I just don't find the time to get out much, that's all. And my family's been dead for years. And the people at my job don't remember me. And I don't know what's going on.

I never could keep a journal. But now, I think I have to, because it feels like I'm running out of proof that I even exist, and--what happens if I start forgetting? I don't want to find out.

So. My name is Hope Hodgson. I live in Capitol Hill, Washington state. I'm a waitress. I'm 26 years old.

And I think the universe doesn't want me any more.


old book
Hope Hodgson

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