when i was very young, my family had a puzzle whose picture was an M.C. Escher painting. in case you don't feel like actually looking at the picture (although i wish you would), the painting was of a building that always reminded me of a monastery. at the top of the building were a series of staircases. they were all connected, forming a square. all of the stairs went in the same direction. they all went up (ok, well, obviously they all went down, too...but i always thought of them as all going up). men in robes (monks, i thought) were walking on the stairs. the men had no faces. i always seemed to remember them as having silver balls instead of faces. i also remember looking at the painting later in life and realizing that the silver balls that i saw might have been their noses peeking out of the robes. nevertheless, it scared me more than anything in the world. i had countless nightmares about them, and still do from time to time. i have no idea why they were so frightening to me, but boy were they. i seem to recall that we put the puzzle together many years in a row, but i could be wrong. the men with the silverballs for faces also remind me of a mural that i used to see at Penn, when i was younger. i have asked my parents about the mural, and they can't seem to figure out what i'm talking about. perhaps that was all in my mind, too. i suppose we'll never know. anyway, suffice it to say that this aspect of the dream was the most frightening thing imaginable for me. : (

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