Try this a different way, I said to the technician. Let me sleep. I wanted to wake up, but in my dream I was awake.
You're lying, she said. I can see it on the screen.
I told her I couldn't remember, even though it was a lie. Looking down at my T-shirt, I saw wires emerging from holes cut especially for that purpose.
Did you see anything after that? she asked.
I said I saw myself, closing a dresser drawer.
The technician said, Wake up. What do you see?
Someone entered the room. I slammed the drawer on my hand and immediately said to myself, Wake up!
I was in a room no larger than a closet, standing in front of a cherry wood dresser; I refinished that piece many years ago. This I remembered in the dream.
The first dream I dreamt in my dream was a sham. In my dream, I went back to sleep.
That's a clinic dream, she said. It doesn't count.
A woman watching me through a tangle of cords. Maybe it was seaweed; maybe I was underwater, lights blinking from the shore.
Can you hear me? Yes, I could. What is the last thing you saw? That's the method: begin with the last thing seen. My eyes jerked under their lids.
Brain, muscles, breath and eyes sent pulses to a box. From another room a technician read a screen, attached to the box, attached to me. This I saw as I slept in my dream.
A technician placed electrodes on my eyes, my temples, wrists, throat and chest. A mass of wires attached me to a small box on the wall, which blinked back at me with a score of tiny lights.
I wore a flannel nightgown printed with a map of North America. I thought to myself, dreaming, "I never wear nightgowns."
In my dream, I went to the sleep lab to help me remember my dreams.