I had a dream last night about David Lynch and Mark Frost.
I was supposed to be meeting my family for dinner somewhere, and was going to have to take a plane to get there. The plane malfunctioned and we were forced to land, and before I could call my mom to tell her that I wasn’t going to be able to make it, I was invited to dinner instead by someone’s assistant (I knew she was an assistant because she had a very official looking clipboard. #dreamlogic). She took me to a train platform, to the dining car, and when I walked inside there were two tables laid out with fine silverware and china, two pianos in opposite corners of the car, and food enough to feed an army. It was all lit by candlelight.
Mark Frost was sitting at one of the pianos, and David Lynch was sitting at the other. A few other people were there; Twin Peaks cast members (I know Kimmy Robertson was there). Mark had cooked the meal and was eager for everyone to sit down and eat. I sat at one table while Mark, David, and everyone else sat at the other. I felt like I had been relegated to the kids table, and all I wanted was to sit at the adults’ table with everyone else. But I ate the food (mashed potatoes played a starring role) and when I was done, I got up to call my mom to tell her I was going to miss dinner with the family.
I excused myself from the train car and walked down the platform to place the call. While I was on the phone with her explaining the situation, a large man, a football jock-type, came up to me and made a few physical passes at me. He pawed at my body and laughed with his friend when I told him to fuck off. He was threatening to hurt me. My mom was worried on the other end of the line but I hung up on her, incensed, and proceeded to kick the living shit out of my would-be assaulter.
When I was finished, I walked back to the train car and straight over to where David Lynch was sitting, behind his piano now, having finished his supper. I knelt at the ground by his feet and thanked him for everything. And I meant it. Every word.
When I was done, David put his hand on my shoulder, called me by mother’s name, and then gave me an empty Pepsi bottle.
I started the dream with a problem: I had somewhere to go and the vehicle to get me there wasn’t working. I was sad and confused but hungry, and then someone cooked me a meal, and I ate it, and I enjoyed it, and then something awful interjected itself into my world and made me feel scared and angry, and I kicked its ass, and then I thanked the person who had made it all possible.
We could pick it apart, dream interpretation-style, until the cows come home. I don’t think it matters. I don’t know what this means. I’m sure I never will, because I dream like this all the time and I never ever know what any of it means. Can we ever know what our dreams mean? Why should we be so desperate to know?
I (along with Eileen) was an early adopter of the Dream Theory of The Return, and while I don’t think we were entirely right with what we were interpreting, we did okay given what we knew at the time. To think that we’d get to the end and be faced with the possibility that this was all a dream—not a St. Elsewhere-style dream, or a Dallas-style dream, though that would be fitting as the original Twin Peaks always did feel like the black sheep child of Dallas and the other prime time soaps of the 1980s—but a dream with a world that literally exists. Carrie Page and Alice Tremond might be the real denizens of Twin Peaks. Laura and Dale and the Double R and everyone at the Sheriff’s station may have never existed except as dream versions within someone’s dream. Who’s the dreamer? Maybe it was Laura. Maybe it was Carrie. Maybe it was Cooper. Maybe it was Richard.
Or maybe all of this was just a dream of the Red Room, something our Coop imagined while he waits for his chance to go home.
Or maybe, in the end, Cooper got the answers he was looking for in the first scene of The Return; The Fireman wasn’t giving him clues but was giving him a warning, telling him how and when he was going to make the mistakes that would lead to the fracturing of the world we’ve come to know and love. Or maybe he was chastising him for having already made the mistake. Maybe when Cooper says “I understand” it’s that he finally understands that you can’t go home again. You can’t erase someone’s pain. You can’t change what’s already happened, not without fundamentally altering the people and everything around them. In understand that, Cooper no longer needs to be here. He is vanished from existence, like Laura’s body by the log. The end of The Return was at the start, but we didn’t know that until the end. The circle is now complete.
I don’t know that it matters so much. Just like my dream, I don’t think I’m going to be able to understand The Return’s ending the way Cooper understood The Fireman’s opening words. (At least not yet, anyway; and maybe never.) I woke up from my dream this morning with a sense of calm acceptance of that. As of the writing of this piece, I’ve only watched the finale once. My memories of it are getting hazy, the edges a little less distinct. I’m enjoying the sensation of trying to pick it apart while it slowly recedes from view. I’ve never felt that before. I like it.
I’ll rewatch it, maybe a couple of times. I’ll sit down with my husband and we’ll record our podcast about it. Maybe, someday, I’ll even be able to come at it with a level of understanding that only comes with distance and time. Maybe this needs to percolate for a little while.
But right now, I’m sad. I’m empty. I’m thrilled. I’m emotionally devastated. I’m hungry too, and I need coffee. I really do feel like a child, sitting at the kids’ table, unable to control my screaming Id, which simply wants someone to cook her mashed potatoes and give her a rationale for all of this. I walk outside and meet people on the street who aren’t haunted and wonder how the world looks to them when all I can think about is what I experienced last night in the Twin Peaks finale. They can laugh and smile and put one foot in front of the other; I want to do the same, and I’m grappling with not being able to do so. Not yet.
I’m going to sit with this feeling for a while. I think I have to. I think that’s what we’re all supposed to do.
(Thank you, David and Mark.)