My eyes open to darkness. While my body’s rhythms stay steady, my mind races. I take a deep breath and roll over onto my back. I accidentally push the cat near my feet. He remains unbothered.
As my eyes adjust, I can make out the ceiling above me. It was a dream. But it was a strange dream for me. I’ve had story-like dreams since I can remember. I’d play out different characters: male or female, human or not. And it always felt like me, even if I was another gender, race, or age.
This isn’t a dream from my childhood where I had an undulating ability of flight and ran away from dinosaurs. This isn’t personal; it doesn’t portray betrayal, loneliness, or consequences of missing class. (Though I’d graduated college 4 plus years ago now, I still have these stupid dreams.)
I close my eyes.
Jumping off of a plane, I had taken a few steps before it happened. I felt the gust of wind as a bomb exploded. Everything went black and white. My ears rang. I watched the flesh of people around me, adults and children, rip off. Then a flash and screaming. Oh gosh, the screaming. I ran. I opened my eyes once more, my breathing quickening.
In the dream, I’d survived somehow. The only survivor. And after I’d been left among the remnants of bodies, my mind had played it again as if to give me a chance to warn them. I’d tried, but it didn’t help.
The next time I jumped off the plane knowing what would happen. I tried to warn everyone. It didn’t matter. The black and white picture screamed with millions of voices. I could feel the ground shake. Dirt and smoke filled my nostrils. When everything died down, I was one of the last ones. That’s when I’d woke up.
I’m not in a cold sweat. I feel everything and nothing at the same time. I check my phone, ten till four. I slide it back down onto my nightstand.
Am I scared, horrified, grieving?
I sigh. Before I try to sleep again, I quickly scribble down the dream. Everything from the visuals to the feelings and the numbness, like shock, afterwards.
Then I go back to sleep.