In the dream, I am with my mother in some sort of religious event. I don't want to be there - we were there for some other purpose, and this ceremony has taken its place, like a church service following a bingo game. Not sure what it is but it's something new agey and vaguely culty, involving someone playing organ and singing songs, which the congregation joins in on or such. It all seems creepy weird to me, but my Mom doesn't want to leave yet, is curious what's going on, and I'm trying to do what she wants. Problem: the seats are filling up and though I've got her seated, I can no longer find a seat myself; the ceremony has begun and she's loudly asking me questions about what's going on, and we're getting shushes and stinkeyes from the cult leaders and congregationists. I can't seem to explain to her that she has to be silent if we're going to stay - as in life, she doesn't always know exactly what's going on. Finally, I have to escort her out of the auditorium.
My plan is, at that point, to take her home, because I have to go to class and continue with my studies (I am not, in life, currently taking any classes, but I am in the dream). No: she wants to come with me. We end up at another building and have to go upstairs to the lecture hall; I find a position that works and carry her up the stairs. It's difficult but not impossible - in the dream, the information is provided that she only weighs 80 pounds, which is less than she weighs in life. I see a photographer I used to work with, and it turns out she's giving a guest lecture. "So you're a professor now?" She just glares at me - doesn't seem to want to acknowledge the statement. I try to apologize, if I've spoken wrong or accidentally seemed to be sarcastic or something ("I don't mean anything by it, I just don't know the right words to use!"). but class is beginning and I have to go. I get my Mom seated, point out the regular professor to her, show him a drawing I did of him in my notebook, so she can recognize him. (My notebook seems to have more doodles than words in it). But something comes up and I have to step outside, go on an errand. I tell her I'll be right back.
I do whatever it is I have to do and come back and the building is burning. People are standing outside, looking through the windows from a distance, but no one is going in. It appears to be completely engulfed in flames. "Does anyone know if anyone is alive in there?" I wonder if this is how I'm going to lose my Mom. Typically when I dream that I'm responsible for someone, I end up failing in that responsibility, but can this be a variant of the pattern? Suddenly someone else curses ("fuck it!") and runs into the building. We see him run up the stairs, which are open and visible through the glass - a big stairway, like the one at the Vancouver Centre for the Arts - and we all wait in suspense. Is he going to join the death toll or is he going to lead people out? After a minute, there's a gasp and we all look and see that he's leading a small group of people down the flaming stairway.
Suddenly a bunch of us are running into the building, including me. The stairs are shaky as I sprint up them. I'm very aware of the possibility that everything is going to collapse around me, that I am going to die without my gesture having meant anything. But I get to the auditorium. My Mom is exactly where I left her, apparently seated calmly, waiting. She's the last person in the room. I am stunned for a second - doesn't she even realize that the building is on fire? But then she runs over to me (she could never run that fast in real life). I pick her up again, slinging her over my shoulders this time, and race down the rickety, burning stairway with her. I run and run and get to the bottom of the stairs, and then I collapse, exhausted. We're not out of danger. Mom is apparently okay, but I'm now lying still, sprawled, face blank. Have I died of exhaustion? Will someone rescue us? Will the building collapse around us?
That, I'm afraid, is where the dream leaves me.