The Tiny Teacup

I normally don’t remember my dreams. When I sleep, I hibernate. Nothing wakes me, and nothing penetrates the protective fog shrouding my subconscious.

Until lately.

For the past few weeks, I’ve had vivid dreams that haunt me for days. My subconscious seems to be trying to tell me something, but its communication skills are pretty primitive. Like a caveman at the campfire, it relies on stories and allegories to explain what it doesn’t understand.

But I’m paying attention. After all, Stephanie Meyer had a dream, and it turned into Twilight. Unfortunately, my dreams turn into muddled messages from the cosmos, instead of bestselling YA novels.

For instance, last night I had a dream about M. M. is our scaled-down Wyoming version of the Psychic Friends Network. She may be only one friend, but she’s definitely tuned in to the cosmic network far more effectively than Miss Cleo. If I sound facetious, that’s only because it freaks me out. M. is the only person I know who genuinely has the forces of the universe on speed-dial.

I wanted to tell M. about the dream, but I don’t work with her much anymore. I figured I’d have to e-mail her, or give her a call. But naturally, she showed up at the bookstore the next day.

I told her about the dream, and we mused for a while on its significance. M. was carving her way to the core of it when a customer approached us–an older lady with a pink complexion and dangerously bright eyes.

“Can I help you?” I asked, in my best touch-me-not professional tone.

“I heard you talking,” she said. “I want to tell you a funny.””

There was no stopping her.

“I went to visit a friend,” she said. “She gave me some tea. But it was in big mugs. I took a sip, and then I told her the cup was too big. So she told me she had a smaller one.”

The woman beamed, and I knew we’d come to the payoff. She fished around in her pocket for a minute, then, incredibly, flourished a tiny teacup and saucer in her palm. It was from a child’s toy tea-set, sweetly decorated with flowers and designed to hold about a tablespoon of tea.

She held the cup to her lips and tipped it as if drinking. “So you take a sip, and you need a refill,” she said. She held out the cup as if asking for more, then took another pretend sip. “And then you take another one, and you need a refill again.” She held out the cup again and laughed, pleased with herself and her story.

I’ve been turning the tiny teacup story over in my mind ever since. I’m convinced the lady was some kind of holy fool, sent to us with a message. I don’t think the original dream meant anything. It simply led me to talk to M., and talking to her led the lady to tell us her story.

So what’s the significance of the tiny teacup? M.?