Dream transcript from the morning of May 2, 2009. I posted it in my Dreamwidth journal at the time, and I'm pretty sure I know what it meant because it tied into events in my life at the time, but I felt like posting it again today.
I was still living with my parents, but I was an adult, and we had a homeschooled boy come over to visit - probably the child of one of my parents' friends, but not someone I recognized awake. There's a specific kind of personality type associated with such children. They tend to be smarter than their same-age peers who are in school, and sort of more adult-like (the image is: "S/He was raised by adults and can speak their language.") but they're still children and it doesn't do to forget that. I was one very much like that myself. After the kid left I realised that he'd taken out a whole bunch of my computer manuals - the kind that used to come in three-ring binders cased into boxes - and left them lying open all over the floor. Okay, that was annoying, because it meant I had to spend several minutes picking them all up and putting them away, but it wasn't really a big deal and it was a fact that he'd had to leave fairly suddenly - his parents didn't give him any warning or time for cleanup - and there wasn't really a chance for him to pick up after himself.
But then I found that he'd been using a card file of mine - index cards in a plastic box organized with divider tabs and so on. I don't remember, and kind of wish I did, what kind of information was stored in the file. Something important, for sure. I've never owned a file exactly like the one in my dream though I have sometimes experimented with somewhat-similar things for organizing data in writing projects. Anyway, he'd ruined it. There was a clump of what looked like multicoloured paper shredder shreds tucked into the front of the file box, which was actually the torn-off index tabs from many of the cards. Other cards were worn out as if from years of use in the only an hour or two he'd spent with it. Even the plastic box itself was bent out of shape, and it wasn't clear to me how that was even possible - I tried and couldn't reproduce such damage even on purpose, at least not with my bare hands. So the amount of damage he'd done was spectacularly more than would be plausible awake, and surprising even in the dream.
I could probably recover all the information that had been in the file, but at the very least it would mean making a couple hundred replacement cards by hand. At the end of the dream, and I even continued after I was fully awake, I was mentally composing an email message to him, explaining that that file had been the result of years of my work, and he'd destroyed it. I could easily buy a new box and cards - that'd just be a couple bucks, not enough to think about - but it would take a very long time to replace the information on them, if it could be done at all, and nobody else but me could do it. I didn't demand anything from him, no apology or restitution or penance; it wasn't clear that there was anything he could do to make it better at this point at all; but it meant I couldn't trust him anymore. He'd destroyed something else beyond the box of cards.