Prior to last night, I had dreamt of Ingrid Bergman three times that I can remember. The dreams, while similar, can’t really be called reoccurring. What’s interesting about them, despite their featuring a woman among history’s classiest and most gorgeous—Ingrid’s accent murders me—is that they are all black and white. I usually dream in color, but Ingrid Bergman’s presence turns any dream into a film from the 40’s.
Curiously, these dreams always coincide with another experience. Every time I can remember dreaming of Ingrid, I also remember running into an ex-girlfriend within a day. Prior to these dreams, I never knew these women were “around” or had heard anything about them. The synchronicity is just one of those weird things.
While I dreamt about Ingrid again last night—we were having a conversation at a cafe in Vilnius, one that no longer exists, where I used to be a regular, and she was telling me that cigarette lighters were things of the past, that contemporary smokers should use wooden matches, that they smell better, that the strike of the flame is more sensual—I don’t expect to run into any ex-girlfriends this evening. First of all, I’ll probably stay home for the rest of the night. Secondly, this dream was different, ringing with a tone of finality.
We ended up in the place where Karaliaus Mindaugo bridge should be, only the bridge was different. Go there today to find a swooping steel parabola; in my dream, the bridge was wooden, made of rough logs tied together with coarse ropes, the construction above a swiftly moving river of foaming waves. There seemed to be some tower or checkpoint on the opposite bank of the river Neris. Ingrid showed me the bridge and said, “I’ll have to say good-bye here. It’s late.” And I watched the elegant lady negotiate the path of rounded logs, her feet in short heels, the process twisting her ankles and straining her knees so that looking on actually hurt my legs.
I turned away before she had reached that looming medieval tower. Then I turned toward a building which should have been the Mokslų Akademijos Biblioteką but was instead a monolithic bank, its exterior walls built of polished brass, like the whole thing were a Roman mirror, or like it were a massive version of the constitution of Užupis. Here the dream became colorful again. I could see the gold tone of the brass. Yet my reflection, obese and hairy, a body I left behind many years ago, appeared black and white, as if cut from a Walker Evans photograph and flooded by brass, so deeply reflective that it appeared liquid, virtually breathing.
Photo from Wikipedia, Public Domain