A friend once told me, during a drunken, rambling midnight dissertation, that a dream is the place where a wish and a fear meet. When the wish and the fear are exactly the same, he said, we call the dream a nightmare.
The nightmares are back. Went to bed at 2 a.m. My eyes flew open at 6 a.m. Apparently, my dreams woke me. Petrified. Terrified. I was told that sometimes nightmares are part of withdrawal symptoms. Of course I laughed and scoffed at the thought. Haven’t had nightmares in years. Surely they would not return to disturb my hallowed sleep. I also refused to take sleep medication, having just learnt of this new idea called ‘sleep hygiene’.
What scares me most is the nature of the nightmares. They aren’t dreams where I’m being chased, hunted down or persecuted. As a matter of fact such dreams excite me. The stuff of my nightmares is far more mundane and prosaic, and consequently more terrifying. Wait for it: I dream – have nightmares – about my exes. Ex-girlfriends. Women that I liked or loved the most. Or women that I should have had relationships with but didn’t. The women of these dreams, if they can be so called, were and are beautiful, both inside and out. Physically, mentally, personality-wise and spiritually. Though I’m not quite sure what being beautiful spiritually looks like, what the heck. And the reason I lost these women is always the same – the terror of similarity – (yes you can call mine terror): pride, ego, hardness of heart, fear of commitment. Name them.
And in these nightmares I get to court these women again. With the knowledge, guilt and pain of our shared pasts still evident. And eventually in these dreams we make amends – almost- and the joy, hope, sadness and fear smashing up against each other feel too much for my sinner’s heart to bear. I become excited, happy, remorseful, sad and terrified. At what wasn’t and what was, at what could have been and what could be. And then my eyes fly open. My body breaks out in sweat and for a horrifyingly long moment I don’t know where I am, who I am, or at which point of this crushing life I am.
At times, sometimes, I wish that I could just forget. The past weighs upon me heavily, and the pain can be seen in my eyes and it takes effort to conceal it from my countenance. But life must go on. Life goes on. The pain is like a thick, heavy chain around my neck, in the middle of a bottomless ocean. It is cold, this chain, but at the same time it is red hot. I’m cold, burning and drowning at the same time. And yet this thing around my neck that is surely killing me – this chain I do not care about. Because my hands are too busy desperately wrapped around the knife plunged into my heart. The searing pain is all I can think of sometimes, yet I don’t know if these hands of mine are pulling the knife out, or pushing it deeper into a heart that is bruised, battered, broken and misshapen.
As I sink deeper into the ocean I can’t feel the cold. The light of the sun above me gets farther and farther away. Of what use is the light if it only serves to hurt us? Are we not more alive in the dark? Are we not more at peace with the night? All the light does is illuminate our flaws. All the light does is warm us up for a moment that is too short. All the light does is show us what we are missing, or what is missing in us. It gives us a taste of joy that is not meant to last, a joy that cannot last.
Victory has defeated me. Peace has cost me my strength.
Love or what we have been made to believe is love makes us weak.
Love will hurt you, as will all fairytale emotions and ideas.
What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.