Paper Trail — A Dream

Shame 2.png

“Paper Trail” — C.Birde, 11/17


Already, it had begun. The shaming.

Beyond the plate-glass doors, in dim half-light, sheets of paper lay strewn about the floor – slim sheaves spread in a white drift over flecked linoleum.

The woman placed her hand on the door’s bar – a leather-softened grip fastened over a horizontal tube of buffed aluminum. Depressing the handle, she entered. Pale light flashed and lanced off the door’s glass. Once inside, she paused, adjusted netted top hat over the knot of her hair, tugged velvet jacket into place over her ribs so brass buttons aligned spine-straight. When she broke, once more, into movement, tiers of crisp taffeta shushed about her legs. The clip and snick of her boot heels echoed, their insistence blunted by the path of paper underfoot. Each thin leaf she trod held, trapped within its rectangle, a black-and-white headshot of the shaming victim. Unwavering, the woman followed that paper trail.

Shush, snick – heel spitting cheek. Shush, snick – toe blacking eye.

When the entry hall widened, the woman halted her march, reached behind herself to lift and agitate her skirt’s bustle. The action loosed an additional sheaf of papers — they drifted free, curled in the air and settled gently to the floor behind her. These, too, held black-and-white headshots, trimmed of excess paper about the victim’s tumbled hair and shoulders.

Unsmiling, the woman continued down the hall.

Shush, snick – heel against throat. Shush, snick – toe filling mouth.



— C.Birde, 11/17


3 thoughts on “Paper Trail — A Dream

  1. Interesting brutality of the foot to every photo (which I imagine meant the woman walking was looking down at every step). So, an intense moment of conscience or self-consciousness. Either you feel guilty for something you said/did to someone…or you are sorting out guilt from nonsense about yourself, trying to overlook old concerns about your appearance or lifestyle. And, there’s an element of work involved, either work that needs to be done or work as in a job/career which plays a part in this emotional/psychological journey.

    For some reason, I picture Emma Thompson reading this short story. I am having visions of her in Stranger Than Fiction, fidgeting at the typewriter while dueling with her cigarettes in a hunched position.

    Question: Is it a leather-softened grip or a softened-leather grip? I am not sure if I should be imagining a leather insert or leather sheath.


    • The key elements in this dream are “head shots” and “black and white”; the subtle conflict of “old” vs. “new” as illustrated by the woman’s antique garb contrasted by her modern surroundings. It is a dream of feeling “marginalized”, “diminished”, “stepped on”.

      As to “leather-softened” — the woman’s grip is firm and unyielding; the door handle is cast metal; the leather alone softens the contact.



      • I somehow missed the mention of wardrobe and modern surroundings.

        Um…so, the handle is metal with a leather sheath?

        I get the feeling I never quite read your dreams “right,” or, as you already see/analyze them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s