Tag Archives: Dreams

What My Dreams Have Become

14 Jun

You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach the moment your body jerks awake from a bad daydream?

You know what I am talking about.

The kind of daydream you would only experience right smack dab in the middle of fourth period your sophomore year in high school.

The kind of dream that jolts you so hard, each and every appendage flails about as if you suddenly were the recipient of some archaic form of electroshock therapy.

The kind of dream that instantly makes your blood pressure skyrocket and your control of normal bodily functions all but cease to exist.

The kind of dream that combines all your greatest fears into one, mimicking and cloning all your secret worst case scenarios you haven’t told one single soul about on this earth.

As secret as these scenarios might be to the outside world, to your brain, they aren’t a secret at all. Not even a little bit. See, your brain knows you. And it knows you well. It has the ability to prey and feed on all your worst fears and insecurities no matter how laughable or valid they might be. Around each corner lurks another threat drummed up by your mind to taunt and horrify you. Finally, your body’s natural self-preservation mechanisms kick in and you find yourself the subject of ridicule and jokes by your friends for being that kid that fell asleep so hard in algebra, he actually slobbered all over his desk and screamed like a little girl as his brain finally allowed him to come to his senses.

As embarrassing as that sounds, that’s what is supposed to happen. Deep down, your body shuts off that threat your mind concocted and hands you back, for better or for worse, over to reality. But what happens if you never fully wake up? What if your mind still wreaks havoc on your soul although you are actually awake? Or even worse, what if what you thought was actually just one repetitiously brutal and terrifying dream was, in reality, nothing but your only known normalcy?

For the past year and half, I have been living in this nightmarish state of mind. Each and every single one of my fears and insecurities have been laid out for my brain to fiddle and fondle with unabashed recklessness. You see, my mind knows me. Over the years, it has grown, evolved, and even invented new and interesting ways to tease and shame. My brain, without a doubt, will always be at the finish line waiting for me to chug along and catch up. No matter how clever I think I may be, I will never be able to outwit it. I’ll never be able to out run it.

So, with each and every day my head lifts off of my pillow as the sun rises in the sky, I will myself to wake up. I will myself to stop dreaming. I do everything within my power to shout, fight, scratch, and overcome. But alas, there’s no use. Because this is not a dream. This is my life. And I have all but given up looking for the alarm clock.

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Promises, Promises

17 May

As the sunlight made it through the window and past the old wooden blinds, it immediately found your beautiful blond curls. Each ray of light seemed to make them sparkle and illuminate the entire room. With each gift your mother passed you, I could hear your vivacious giggle fill every person in the room with warmth and energy.

You were turning four years old that cold, but sunny November day. Like most four-year old girls, the promise of cake and presents was probably the best combination a little girl could ask for. As usual, your mother had you dressed to the nines. From head to toe, pinks, purples, and glitter wrapped each and every limb all the way down to your silver Mary Janes. With each and every present you opened, your excitement grew and grew. Not to interfere, I just sat back and relaxed. I watched your happy little feet swing back and forth as they dangled six inches from the ground compliments of the two phone books it took just so you could reach the table.  With double the energy than any other eight year old boy I have ever known, I just laughed and attempted to wrangle your older brother as head ran across the room making animal sounds along with every other thing in his repertoire to make you smile. Each time he passed me, I would try my hardest to get his attention, but as usual, this fell on deaf ears.

Your mother tried her damnedest to keep the party small. “Only friends and family”, she would constantly insist. In typical fashion, this was never the case. The house was crowded and a downright blissful mess. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see your mom. She was as gorgeous as the first day we met. Right down to your curls, you were almost an exact replica of her. Each time you would laugh, she would do the same. Yet, I could tell something was wrong. There was a hint of sadness to her face. Every once in a while, ever so discretely, I could see her wipe a tear from her cheek. Puzzled and concerned, I made my way over to see what was wrong. As I pleaded for some insight, I placed my hand on her shoulder. I could feel her shiver as the goosebumps raced up her arm. I don’t know why, but she hasn’t been talking to me lately. Even standing right next to her, whispering in her ear, I couldn’t get even the faintest of a reaction. For some odd reason, this has been the unfortunate usual between us lately. Most days, she would just start crying, mumble to herself, and gingerly walk away. I would try and try to get her to talk to me, but it was as if she was just flat-out ignoring me altogether.

As each hour ticked away, the guests thinned out. After multiple hugs and goodbyes, you had fallen sound asleep on the couch. I glanced at the clock and whispered to your mother “It’s only 7:15pm and she’s out like a light”. Once again, no response. “Why are you acting like I am not even here?”, I belted out in an anger filled roar. Still nothing. Before I even had a chance, your mother had scooped you up into her arms and had you tightly tucked into your bed. You were so exhausted, you didn’t even budge. I sat in the chair by your bed and just watched you sleep.  Occasionally, your arm would twitch and you would even mumble an unrecognizable word or two. As silly as it sounds, it comforted me to watch you dream. I would sit for hours just wondering what your little mind was dreaming about. What could make you belt out a laugh in your sleep? What could actually make you audibly cry? I counted each one of your breaths like they were sheep. Hypnotized,  I was well on my way to nodding off as well.

I could hear your mother in the other room. It was time for your brother’s bath. As the clear, warm water filled the bathtub, sounds of splashing and singing filled the air. Your brother absolutely loved to sing. He would sing anything and everything that came to his active little mind. It didn’t matter what it was, his thoughts would usually flow from his lips in a beautifully imperfect melody. This made you laugh and laugh. No matter your mood, you would instantly chuckle. With the water draining out of the bathtub, I could hear the pitter patter of his feet across the cold ceramic tile floor. He scurried down the hall as quick as his little feet could carry him. The sound of his footsteps came screeching to a halt as he made his way to your bedroom door. I could make out just the whites of his eyes as he cautiously peered around the door frame. He crept ever so quietly to your bedside, placed his hand on your head, and whispered with a raspy tone, “I love you, Sissy”. Just as quick as he entered, he was off to his bedroom to put on his pajamas. I could hear your mother tell him goodnight and off went his light. I am pretty sure he was asleep before his head even hit his superhero pillowcase. I didn’t even get a chance to tell him goodnight or as we did for years and years before, perform our nightly routine of hugs, kisses, and I love you’s.

The house was eerily silent and dark. Careful not to bump into things and wake you, I made my way across the hall to find your mother. The room was completely pitch black and with the exception of a little bedside fan that hummed in the darkness, almost silent. Something was wrong, though. I didn’t know what I said or what I did, but the air in the room had this heaviness to it. It’s almost too hard to explain. There was a feeling of pure sadness. A tension like no other filled the room from corner to corner. As I got closer and closer to the bed, I could hear soft and subtle whimper from your mother. Her pillowcase was almost completely wet from tears. Her body trembled as a flood of emotions raced through her body. “What’s wrong, honey?”, I asked. “Was it something I said?” Still nothing. No acknowledgment to the fact I was even by her side. “Well, if you aren’t going to talk to me, how am I supposed to know what’s  going on?”, I quipped with an anger filled, sarcastic tone. Still nothing. “Fine. “You can find me on the couch.”, I barked. With my back to her, she finally spoke. “I love you. I, I love you so much.”, she whispered. With tears rolling down her face, she uttered between cry filled breaths, “Why did it have to happen this way?” “What on Earth are you talking about?”, I asked. An hour later, I was still waiting for her answer. Why was she playing this game with me? I have no clue what possessed me to wait so long for her to speak, but I did. I just wanted to know so badly. “I have been laying here for a whole hour and you refuse to answer me. Can’t we be adults about this?” At this point, her back was turned to me. I inched closer and closer to her to find her grasping a what appeared to be a folded up newspaper clipping. She was fast asleep. “So much for talking like adults tonight.”, I mumbled as I let out an exhausted sigh. My mind raced and raced as I laid my head on my cool, soft pillow. The alarm clock on the nightstand read 1:02am. After tossing and turning for a few hours, I finally drifted off to sleep.

My dreams were as vivid and shocking as any other night. You see, I have been sick for such a long time now, so my dreams were fueled by a bevy of prescription narcotics and your basic, run of the mill antidepressants. Over the past three years, I had this reoccurring dream that would shake me to the core. It was nothing out of the ordinary, though. Your basic “struggle with mortality” type of dream. The kind of dream that scares you the next morning to the point you rush to check your pulse and hope to feel your heart beating as normal. I read somewhere that psychics and so-called dream experts like to believe that these are not dreams, but rather premonitions. “Bullshit”, I would utter underneath my breath. I never spoke of these to your mother because I didn’t like to scare her. Hell, I never really brought these dreams up to anyone. But yet, here I was, having this dream for the fourth consecutive night. It was so real. I could see you. I could touch your mother. I could even hear your brother and television in the background. Everything was so clear. Everything was so bright. Each night before, I would wake up soaked in sweat and tears. This night would be no exception.

I glanced at the alarm clock. The glowing red numbers seemed to sear into my eyes as I strained to focus. It was already 7:21am. I rolled over expecting to find your mother’s beautiful, smiling face, but she was gone. I could hear her scuffling around in the bathroom as she made her way to the shower. I sat up, stretched my arms, and let out a big sigh. I peeked into your room. There you were, as angelic as I left you. Through the wall, I could actually hear your brother snoring in the next room. As loud as he was, it was oddly comforting to me. It was almost 8:00am on a Saturday morning and amazingly, you were both still asleep. Still groggy, I made my way back to our bedroom. On your mother’s side of the bed I could make out that newspaper she had clutched in her hands all night long. I sat down at the end of the bed, picked up the paper, and inquisitively began reading. “Hmmm. That’s odd.”, I thought to myself. “Why would she be reading the obituaries in bed?” As I tossed the folded up mess back onto the bed, I noticed something eerily familiar. And there it was. Plain as day and without a doubt. There was my name. Etched in black ink, my entire tenure on this planet, my whole life was neatly summed up in one single paragraph. A sharp shooting pain shot across my forehead as I sat on the corner of the bed completely dumbfounded at this unsettling discovery. “How could this be?” This surely had to be a bad joke. Nope. It wasn’t. You see, sweetie, your father had been dead for quite some time. He just didn’t know it. According to the newspaper clipping in my hand, almost four months had passed. I always told you, through thick and thin, no matter what, I would make it to your fourth birthday. You made me promise every single day I would be there. You didn’t know it. Hell, I didn’t even know it. I was there that day to keep my promise. Just like I said I would.

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