In Dreams

I suppose I should start with a little basic information about myself to defend my mental stability. I swear, I’m as sane as they come. Not that I don’t have little eccentricities. Don’t we all? I’m on the lower end of the middle age spectrum, divorced, a teenage daughter, a large and loving extended family. I work hard at a not too mentally taxing job, I enjoy all the things other people do. I eat, I shower, make small talk on elevators. I endure the same daily motions that anyone else endures. I am passionate about very little, but what passion I do have goes to extremes at times. You know what I mean. We all have intense passions even if we don’t wear them on our sleeves for the whole world to see. So as you can see. I’m pretty much the same as you. There is one small thing about me though, that seems to differ from most others. I dream.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. We all dream. Its not rocket science, right? We fall asleep, the events in our day blend together, from work stress, family, sexual urges, to whatever bad movie we fell asleep watching get jumbled together like brain stew. I get that, I totally understand. But when I dream, it’s intense.

I love to sleep. Because of the dreams. They hold so much nonsense, but frequently hold a clarity I struggle for in my waking hours. More often that I care to admit, my dreams show me absolute truths about myself, about those around me. Sometimes disturbing truths that are easier to ignore during the course of living my waking life. If I followed the paths that my dreams are urging me towards, my life would probably be a lot more satisfying, exciting and fulfilling. But its so much easier to stay on the path of least resistance, isn’t it? I know somewhere deep inside, you agree. As strange as it may sound, my dreams keep me grounded. Anyway, I’ll get back to my point. I love to sleep, I love to dream. At least I used to. Until recently. Until about 36 hours ago.

Usually I remember a great deal of what I dream about. I’m a light sleeper, waking several times through the night. I find on the rare occasions that I’m dead tired, I don’t remember much of anything when I wake. Two nights ago was no different from most others. I fell asleep, my mind went on a nocturnal rant, nothing especially odd. Until about 4:00 a.m. when I lunged upright in bed struggling to breathe. I mean really struggling. My heart was pounding, my throat locked tight, chest burning with pain as though an iron band had somehow been cinched around me without my knowledge. I was confused. I was certainly in a panic. Wouldn’t you be? I was very afraid. Spots of light grew and burst in spectacular patterns behind my eyes. As the seconds grew, stretched, so did my fear. Then just as suddenly as I had roused from sleep, it was over. The iron grip released me. I gasped, lungs burning as I sucked in as much air as I could handle. I felt light-headed. I was still afraid, but the immediate panic was subsiding. Very slowly,  it was retreating from the front of my skull to lurk somewhere in the back of my throbbing head.

I know these things happen sometimes. Nightmares, night terrors, to be specific. But the strange part was that I couldn’t remember a damn thing. Me, the one who loves dreams, even the scary ones. Every time I attempted to recall even the tiniest detail of my terrible unconscious imaginings, I felt the panic rise, racing with startling speed through my body. I reached wildly in the dark, searching blindly for the lamp. It wasn’t there. With a sense of disconnection from everything familiar, I swung my bare legs over the side of the bed. Christ it was cold. I absently wondered if the pilot light on the furnace has gone out. My feet touched the floor. Started, I jerked them back up as though I stepped on a rattlesnake. My bedroom floor was covered in cheap, low pile carpet. Or rather, it had been when I crawled into bed. Now I know how crazy this sounds, but what I had felt beneath my now icy cold feet was smooth and unyielding, like polished marble…

The End

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