I Forgot The Music

Frances; April 27, 1978

A very long, involved dream, taking place in the psychiatric hospital where I work as a psych aid. A long, narrow room with many folding chairs facing the front. To the left, a small blackboard hangs on the wall near the middle of the room. A tall young man, another psych aid, John, is writing musical notation on the blackboard. The head nurse, who has turned into the school principal, admonishes John for not helping a student, a small girl, with the poem she is writing. John ignores her and keeps on writing. All this time I have been sitting near the back of the room in the midst of many people. I get very agitated with John and walk up to him. “Didn’t you hear what Mrs… said?” He gives me a dirty look and keeps on writing.

Switch. The room is full of people sitting in chairs and standing; it is an audience, and I am playing the piano. In the middle of the piece, I forget it and improvise my way through. There is much applause. When I go back to my seat, my friend Jan says it was too bad that I blew it. I say, “What’s the difference, it doesn’t matter at all, I enjoyed myself and so did the patients.” Another aid, an older man, says “I felt so sorry for you, that was really embarrassing.” I say, “It wasn’t at all embarrassing and I really can’t understand what’s wrong.”

Switch. I am in one of the three-bed wards, tucking a woman patient into bed. Her covers are disheveled, and she is lonely. She asks, “Why can’t I go somewhere else?” There are two empty beds in the room, one is made up with pretty, handmade quilts, satin. I put one of them on the woman and she says, “She’ll get mad, the woman who it belongs to will get mad.” I say, “No she won’t, she likes you.” I am going to leave the room. The woman wants a match, she is lying in bed with a cigarette in her mouth. I tell her she can’t smoke in bed, and she says, “I know, but it’s so hard not to smoke, and I’m so lonely.” A nurse comes into the room. I wake up.

Scroll to Top