“Sweet Dreams”

Today is the day I know I will lose it again.

I wake up with dried-up tears on the corners of my eyes. The fresh ones getting ready to slip out. It will be that kind of day.

I blame it on the dream I had. I have been having this dream since I was a little kid. The same one where I am running away from some random monster. Sometimes it is literally a beast; a gang of scary street dogs; a rapist; a truck trying to overrun me driven by no one. And then there are times I am trying to convince that someone needs me, but I have to run with all my strength to reach them on time. But I never get there.

I am always running in the streets I once called home. There is never a new one. I have been living away from my childhood home for over 20 years now but still, I only find myself running there. I should have reached my destination or evaded the rapist or even outrun the now so old dogs after all these years. But I never do. Somehow, they know more of those roads than I ever did.

In the dream, I try every hidden road, but my legs have started to give up on me. I can feel the excruciating pain in them. It feels like I am on fire because my skin now burns with sweat. The hidden roads have hidden monsters. I walk through filthy almost sticky muddy paths surrounded by coarse tall grass. I have dirt all over me but it is the sweat dripping from my eyelids that makes it tough to look ahead. And there they are, waiting for me like it is a part of our routine, snakes. I see them in almost every dream. I either outrun them or kill them. But I am hardly ever bitten by those large unreal black hissing snakes. I run or at least try to. I try to blink them away only to realize I am exactly where I started from. And so, I give up running and cry. I cry for everything I have lost or failed. I cry for the child I failed; for the family, I ignored; for the friendships, I gave up; for the love I lost. I can not remember what else I cry for, but I clearly remember the emotions I experience.

And then my tears are interrupted by the scariest scream. A blood-curling scream of none other than my little sister. I run towards the scream because I know I must save her from something, that is making her scream in fear. I finally see her, the beautiful sweet baby sister wearing a floral headband sitting on a hammock in the garden. We smile at each other and then poof! I am back on the uphill road running for my life. There is a rapist right behind me. I have two choices either I outrun him, or I stop and fight. And so, I stop. I fight with all my might and even try to scream. But no one can hear me. I know it. The fear has overcome me now. There is no sound coming from my throat. I try to scream again but nothing happens. All I hear are his grunting sounds. I am getting weaker, so I shut my eyes and pray.  I feel the weight lifted. I open my eyes to see he is gone too. And now, I am standing in front of a house. A house that I believed belonged to me. I see myself breaking down knowing I can never go in there. I try to step inside but again my legs give up on me. Standing there, I only feel sorry. I fall to my knees on the threshold with my head down and cry some more. It takes tons of effort to finally get up to start all over again. But I do, I get up.

I turn around but my heart is heavy with even more fear now. And it all starts again. I am back in the garden and I see my baby sister sitting on the hammock smiling at me. I am holding the hands of my two daughters, the ones I did not fail. We decide to take a walk because it is a lovely day. I ignore the open and bleeding wounds I got fighting the monsters and the excruciating pain in my legs. Because it is a beautiful cloudy day with a gentle breeze, a wonderful day to spend time together and make memories. So we three go for a walk in the streets I once called home.

It is now 5:30 am. The dream is over. I am sitting on the edge of the bed, rubbing my eyes. I get out of the bed with a weird pain in my chest because I was trying to control myself from screaming while sleeping or so. I drag myself because there is a day to be lived and routine to be followed. I spend the day doing chores and waiting eagerly for today’s therapy session. But today is going to be different. I tell myself, in fact, I instruct myself. Because today I am not going to tell her about the dream. Even if she asks, I will lie. There has to be just once when I don’t see this dream. Just once. 

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