This was my dream last night.
I was at some high school somewhere, I don’t really know where. It was a fine school, exposed brick walls, concrete, a lot of dirt and few trees outside. My presence there didn’t make a lot of sense to me, I was the age I am now, so I don’t know what, exactly I was doing there. I had a friend with me, but more of a presence, nothing specific. It could have been Bob, Mike, Matt, or Tony, whoever it was the person with me gave me a feeling of safety.
We were interacting with people, though not directly. Odd conversations here and there. The students were agitated about something, scared maybe. I don’t remember all of this. I did when I awoke this morning, but it’s faded as the day has worn down. I was talking to them, though, I remember that.
Up a set of stairs and into a science hall of sorts where I watched as a figure, a cloaked figure (that is a horrible description, a “cloaked figure,” whatever, that’s what it was) with a knife in its hands. It bent the body of one of the adolescents over it’s knee, there was a crack and then a splatter. And I did nothing. I stood there and watched, I think I was more fascinated than scared at what I was seeing. As the figure walked towards me, brushing past at the doorframe, I just turned to watch it go. I hadn’t made a motion to stop it when it sliced the kid, and I didn’t prevent it from getting out. I don’t know why I’m saying it when it had a distinct, human form, but the feeling I had as it passed was that of a thing, not something organic.
This happened two or three times. The last was the worst. I was on the school grounds this time, crossing a patchy grass field, stepping on blades of green and then brown and then blades of green, when a girl screamed from around the corner. I sprinted to the brick, rounded to an open area, and there was the damn figure with this girl 5 paces off, frozen but screaming. This was when I got scared for the first time. Move, dammit, I thought. Move. And I did the opposite. I remember thinking that this was a dream. I became conscious of the weight of my body on my bed at home, the soft give of my pillow beneath my head. But the dream continued, I was still asleep. I watched as this thing tore the girl right in front of me. At some point her screams stopped and I just stood there as the knife tore into her skin, a ripping sound like paper down her belly, and I just stood there. I remember feeling hunted or pursued.
I walked over to the wall and slouched to the ground, bringing my knees up to my chest, I rocked a bit. When I looked over at where her body would have been, she was gone. No blood, no nothing, just a photograph that I couldn’t make out from the distance. I realized my friend, whoever he had been, hadn’t been with me since the second murder we witnessed. Maybe he was the smart one and woke the fuck up. I pulled my body off the ground and walked over the photograph. It was me, sitting slouched against a red brick wall, knees bent up to my chest. It was the me of seconds before. It was taken from just above my head.
Terrified, that’s when I woke up.
I never remember my dreams. I know they say that we dream many times throughout the night, but throughout my life I’ve been conscious of perhaps 10 dreams total, and out of these I think 3 have been nightmares. That’s roughly 1 dream for every 3 years of life that I’m aware of. When I was a kid I remember waking up horrified. I had been Indiana Jones and a giant boa was chasing after Alice in Wonderland. I rode the snake’s neck through underground tunnels, trying to steer it away from Alice, and in the end we were both trapped in a corner as it opened it’s mouth. That’s when I woke up.
I dreamed that Mel died one time. This was around the time that she flipped out, so perhaps it was a metaphor for our relationship, but I remember flying to Sydney and going through her things in her house with her mother and father. There was a box for me there, and her father cried and cried. Her mother kept telling me that she wished Mel had just had the strength. I was there for about a week before returning home, and when I woke up it took me a full 15 minutes to orient myself back into my life. I thought the whole thing had really happened. I remember feeling hollow until the rush realization that it hadn’t happened fell over me like a hot, scalding shower that removes the grime and sweat.
After Jennifer left our family I was aware that I was having nightmares, but I never remembered them. I wasn’t sleeping well, and I remember waking every morning aware that I’d had a miserable sleep, but these were more like terrible thoughts to me than true dreams.
The summer I returned to school after burying “Mom” M, the same summer that we all lost our friend Jim and waited through our friend Jeff’s hospital recovery from the car crash that took Jim I struggled. I struggled mightily with myself, hoping another breakdown wasn’t coming. I remember one night before I feel asleep thinking, “Jesus, I’m fucking losing it again.” That night I dreamt that I woke up in my dorm room and looked up and “Mom” M was there sitting in my giant wooden rocking chair, just reclining on the grey cushions.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“I just stopped by to say hello.” She smiled.
“But you’re gone?”
“Sort of. Not really.”
“I don’t understand.”
“No, you don’t. I know. But that’s okay.”
I didn’t move from my bed, I didn’t move, period. I just stared at her. Finally I spoke.
“I really miss you.”
“I really love you.”
She smiled again, and exhaled slightly as she did so. “And I really love you.”
“But I don’t understand.”
I started to cry in the dream. “I don’t think this is very fair,” I whined.
“No, and it’s not for you, or for my family. But this is what it is.”
“Then this sucks.” “I know.”
“Why are you here?”
“Because you needed to see me. Needed to hear me say that things are okay. That you are going to be fine.”
“I don’t feel very fine.”
“But you will be. This is just what you survive. Besides, I believe in you and I love you very much.”
I will say that I don’t believe this was a dream at all, and we can leave it at that. I do know, though, that she was right. I was okay after that. That was really the beginning of me getting better. I had recovered from Jennifer enough to function, but I hadn’t really recovered, and I started to after that.
I don’t understand dreams. I know that they are subconscious manifestations of, perhaps, emotional indigestion, or whatever far more scientific or psychological explanation there is. The rest of my dreams have been good ones. I don’t count wet dreams as dreams. That’s just brain porn.
I remember dreaming about Jennifer about a year ago. We were just walking, me, Corey and Jennifer. She was in the middle, Corey and I were young and we reached up and held her hand. There were cherry tree blossoms blooming and falling all around us. She just smiled down at us and walked us all around. When Jennifer is on, she can light up a room, make you feel like the most unique and important person in the world. It’s a gift every mother should have, and ours did. Of course, at her worst, she can also take everything you understand and throw it on it’s head, reverse the poles of your life, force the magnetic field to suck everything in on itself. Still, when she’s on, there are few people more wonderful to be around. That’s how she was in that dream.
Tonight at work my boss came up to me. “Go home, Jarret. Everyone knows how hard you’ve been working. I don't want you worn out. Get your rest, there’s tons more ahead.” This was at 10:45. She said it so kindly, but the influx to her tone spoke to 3PM, and early release, not quarter to 11. Whatever, this is a nightmare of another kind that will end when we close this issue.
I know you could look at these dreams and think that I’m crazy. That's one way to go, I guess, but we’re all a little head fucked in our own way, and maybe this stuffs not that crazy after all. I just wish I knew what last night’s dream was about, because it scared the life out of me for a little bit. I was slow to the shower afterwards, spooked.
Anyone want to venture a guess?