Ovale. Acrylic, paper, and silk thread on canvas. HH Pham and A Roodman, 2009.
The red of my dreams is not a daylight color. In daylight, red is bold and substantial. It boils and gleams. It is touchable, on the petal of a poppy bloom, a warm brick wall, the polished hood of a sports car. But in my dreams and stories, red is not touchable. It has presence but no mass. Its internal glow pulses and emits heat beyond its blurred edges, until it is ambient.
The Red Ball never appeared again, but it wedged open a crack and made way for other night reds to seep through. Michael’s uncle’s house was red, its top story in perennial darkness, bathed in red light that defined a round disk on the floor, projected from some ceiling corner. Michael was only with his Uncle in the red attic, and when he was in the disk of light, he felt neither warm nor cold, as if the red was calibrated to his skin temperature.
In one dream during senior year of college, I wandered through an underground cavern whose walls emitted red and where the air was just below body temperature. In the central open space, there were scattered pods the height of half my body, filled with fluid. They were egg-shaped and made of a clear polymer, suspended above the ground by an invisible force so that they hovered and slowly spun with the air currents. Inside, the pods were filled with a viscous redness that might have been preservative or nutritive, I couldn’t tell. That was all there was in most of them, but in a few there was something more than the red. I walked toward one pod that caught my eye. It hovered slightly closer to the ground than the others from the weight of something floating in the fluid. It was a baby, more developed than a fetus. A Tuberculosis Baby, something whispered to me. Even with her eyes closed, she seemed familiar. I couldn’t tell if I was supposed to wake her up or let her be.