This morning before waking I dreamt, terrifyingly, that I lost my very good friend and colleague Elaine's daughter.
We, the little (five-year-old-ish) girl and I, along with most of my family, were attending some kind of dance recital or circus-y type thing (you know how dreams are), and I'd been entrusted with little... well that's the problem. I knew her name when we were together. Mostly we weren't in the audience. Elaine's daughter was smart, precocious, respectful. As she would be. We were in the bowels of the building holding the entertainment - like at a convention center near the concession stands or something.
At one point, I saw on video monitors both the dancing on the floor/stage, and shots of the crowd. In the front row were a bunch of tiny girls, maybe 3 or 4, including myself at that age. This didn't alarm me. Rather it thrilled me. In fact, I insisted, though Elaine's daughter didn't seem interested in the production, that we go in so I could take a picture with my former self. We saw the end of the dance performance from the side of the stage, then joined a big throng of my family in the audience. I just missed my 4-year-old self. Apparently she was with some group of pre-schoolers who'd been immediately ushered out. I was disappointed. She was so cute! Who wouldn't want a picture with her.
My sister Heidi was supervising some kids, I guess including my nephew Daniel, as they were climbing on the walls to look out some windows. My charge quietly joined them. I glanced away to ask my sister Kari if she'd seen the little me. She had, and agreed she was awfully cute. I looked back just as some building authority was telling Heidi to get her kids down from the windows. Little... Chloe? Courtney? I know it was a C-name... was gone. Vanished. At first I looked quickly around. I just figured she'd wandered over to my dad or brother or something. Then, I knew I had to start calling for her.
That's when the chest-squeezing panic set in. I couldn't call out her name, because suddenly I couldn't remember it. Before she'd disappeared, I knew it just fine. But now all I could yell was, "Come here, sweetie! Honey!" I couldn't breathe and I knew I needed to remember her name as much as I needed to find the little girl.
This went on for some time, with me groaning out girls' C-names as much as looking around and talking to authorities trying to find the kid, until I allowed myself to wake up. I went through one of those weird feelings where you know it's a dream, but you don't want to let yourself wake up because then you'll never find the girl (or her name).
My friend Elaine doesn't have a daughter.
Just now I realize the girl's name could've been Catherine, though I don't think so.