We can’t always help what speaks to our hearts
When I have nightmares, I sweat in my sleep. There are few things I dislike more than waking up to find my t-shirt or the bed sheet stuck to some exposed, damp portion of my skin, but it happens. It used to happen all the time, but now, not so much. The sweating makes the nightmare worse, like I have to wear the bad dream on my body long after the images have faded from the front of mind. It’s the worst way to linger.
A recurring nightmare I experience, a familiar narrative at least, is a house, building, or room I can’t leave. There are people, known and unknown to me, in these dreams who purposefully distract me from my goal to find the nearest exit, doors that lead to rooms with nothing except more doors leading to other rooms, and even the sudden loss of limbs. Sometimes my limbs stop working, and other times they fall away from me altogether. It’s dark. My glasses are broken or missing. Someone or something is chasing me, and they can see me, but I can’t see them.
Each obstacle, each dark hallway, and every loss feels insurmountable. Whatever pursues me will have caught up before I get the chance to recover. I believe this in the nightmare. There have been more than a few times when I give up on myself in my dream. Crying, and running though some confined space, seeking shelter or a moment’s safety, I stop. Not crying. I stop running.
I sit on the ground. I quiet my weeping, and because I can not see, I don’t even attempt to look toward whatever’s coming to get me. Instead, I sit, and I wait. I feel how sad I am, how afraid, how utterly devastated to be ending this way, and I decide how I want to confront confront the monstrosity just behind me, the big bad unseeable thing coming down the hall.
The Thing either never arrives, or, if it gets close enough for my eyes to focus on, it changes into something non-threatening. It isn’t necessarily something I want or need, but it often presents itself as something I would call…useful. It’s still a dream…