Monday, March 06, 2006


Last night she had a fitful night. That was pretty apparent from the condition of the quilts and sheets this morning and evidenced by the little pounding headache right behind her eyes. With a full day of work ahead, she finds herself squinting at the computer screen already, at 7:30 A.M., chugging iced coffee.

The exhaustion after a night like that is physical and expected. The remnants of nightmares, scenes playing out over and over in her mind until it seems the film suddenly breaks and is spliced, cutting out small pieces of the terror until finally there is nothing left to view, surprise her with their close association with her consciousness, and with their clarity.

When she tries to make sense of the five-minute snippets, only five minutes long since for the past three hours she has dozed in five-minute increments, each time shaken awake by another piece of the dream, she can't. They do not correspond at all with her real world. And the Dream Gods refuse to offer any interpretation. The messages seem apparent yet elusive because they signal a dark side she hates to consider lives within herself, and they literally scream of fear of something, and dread.

There was a dark elevator she had to ride, and it tilted as it made its way skyward, throwing her against the wall, but making her giggle at the same time. There was an empty suitcase on a long trip, far from home, and ridicule because she had forgotten to pack. Then there was a contradictory, comfortable moment...a sweet kiss...followed almost immediately by a speeding car and what seemed would be certain death before she was jerked awake, sweating, breathing hard.

She refused sleep then. Craved it but held it off, dragged herself out of bed and started her day.

When her children were young and would wake her to save them from a nightmare she would say, "Dreams are just movies in your head, they aren't real."

But after nights like last night, the mother worries that dreams are truth and life is fiction. The worry will fade as the movie is spliced shorter and shorter and tonight might be a dreamless one, quiet and opposite, or the sleep world colorful and content and beautiful, proving that there is also a kind and gentle side that is real. Her autobiography. We need the occasional nightmare to help us appreciate the colors of life and the beautiful, sweet dreams. She knows that and she demands another take on last night's movie, clicks the board shut, directs a new scene and covers last night's fiasco with images of flowers and laughter.

There, that is much, much better! Let the day begin...

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