The Blue Gardenia

Last night, I dreamed of Don Draper . . . August 7, 2010 15:37 5 Comments

I was on a train, dark with mahogany. The windows shaded with green. We were in a southern city, hot, humid, the skies white with haze and smog. No birds flew. The landscape pocked with silver skyscrapers and gray freeways. 

We pulled into the station. People stood up, waited to disembark. I remained seated. I waited and read and occasionally noted the people around me. Milling. I saw Betty Draper. Her hair daffodil yellow. Flipped. She wore a coral suit and a white blouse with coral polka dots and low-heeled leather pumps the color of spring. Like Jackie. Classic. Dull. Two men were with her.  I read and waited, surrounded by the mahogany dark of the train, the windows shaded green.

I was the last to leave. I stepped down from the train. People scurried on the platform. I had no luggage. I carried a handbag of petal leather. Ruched. A tote. A trenchcoat over my arm. I walked. I walked. I entered a mall, fraught with people. Scurrying. I walked and walked. No birds flew. How long. How long, I wondered.

I entered a tower of corrugated steel and glass.  It felt temporary, a scaffold. People scurried. I was calm. Calm. Even though no birds flew. I climbed the stairs. One after the other. Flight after flight after flight after flight. I did not tire. I was not faint. I looked out the windows as I climbed. The city white with haze. No birds flew. How long. How long? I wondered.

1950s_don_draper_suitI stopped on a landing, leaned against the window, cool as an Alberta wind against my face. I placed my hand against the glass, felt the chill, refrigerated air. Men rushed up and down the stairs behind me. Impatient. Fraught. I climbed higher. Higher. The city white with haze. I wondered how long. How long?

I stopped again, high above the city, white with haze, gray with freeways, silver with skyscrapers. I watched. I was not faint. I was not weary. A male voice on a loudspeaker urged people: Go underground to be safe, hurry. I did not care. I felt free. An uncaged bird in a city white with haze where no birds flew. I felt a breath on my neck, warm. Fingers on my waist, gentle. I turned. Don. His arms enclosed me, crushing, wrinkling my suit, Vogue Couturier Design 753, copyright 1953, so carefully made. I did not care. I did not. Our lips met, tender. A 1960s-era Harlequin Romance. Yet. Yet. The voice on the loudspeaker urged everyone to go underground to be safe. Safe. Don raised his head. He looked at me. I shook my head no. No. In the city white with haze, pocked with skyscrapers, where no birds flew, we had wings as eagles.