That Secret Space
Just this Halloween, a friend/former co-worker, let's call her "Dee Dee," quite young, sent me a photograph of herself and her husband in costume for a party. He was dressed as a Pan American liquor cart from the 1930's, she as an aviatrix of the same period. Of his outfit we could say that if you can't tell what it's supposed to be, it fails. She, on the other hand, looked stylish and smart, having gone for authenticity and sporting high-waisted khaki pants and an expensive dark leather jacket.
But last night I dreamt that I shared the photo with my brother and my sister on some kind of Zoom call, and that both said, independently, the very same words upon seeing it -- "She's beautiful!" This sent me into a mild panic, for in the technology of the dream, there was a "hot mic" phenomenon, according to which Dee Dee might overhear any words of the call that referred to her. If this were to happen, what was said, even though spontaneously and not by me, might be ascribed to me because of my close association with my siblings, and the mere ascription might be characterized as per se harassment.
In the dream world, then, such things could be thought but not said, or if said, they had to be said in a Secret Space that grew more closeted as one aged. The secrecy of the space was a kind of acid that eroded the surface sinews of my heart.