There I was, minding my own business, in the midst of a very busy life, when he appeared in a dream. Time had dulled him from my conscious mind, his features obscured. He was simply ‘that man.’ He was the one who came upon me as a vulnerable fourteen year old, and nearly ended my life. I had nightmares about him every night for many years, and the relief was indescribable when they finally ended. It were as though his hold over my life had ceased. Free at last! At last… It took my by surprise a week ago, when he appeared once again. I dreamt I was in a shopping centre, and he had spotted me. I knew instantly who it was. The stubble, that voice, those eyes… It all came flooding back. I ran, desperately trying to get away. It seemed to go on for eternity, until he cornered me. At first he was reassuring, telling me that he wasn’t going to hurt me. His voice had a pleasant tone, obviously rehearsed. I wasn’t moved by his display, and I kicked out. He didn’t like that at all; not one bit. Now he was snarling, ready to destroy me. After a mammoth struggle, I woke. I was crying, my whole body shaking. What the hell just happened?
I wondered what old file I was desperately trying to dump from the recesses of my brain. I hadn’t thought of him for so long… Since the dream, I have felt fragile, and haven’t had time to process what occurred or why. In some ways it has been a good thing, to be kept busy. In other ways, it has given me leave to avoid thinking about it, to my detriment. I wonder what was going on deep in my subconscious to summon him in my dream? Was it the crime report involving a young girl that had come to my attention? An advertisement for the aftershave he wore? A man who looked like him in the street? It could have been any one of those things. PTSD has no rhyme or reason. You can be coasting along splendidly, and then whack! I have slept fitfully since, as though my mind is fighting going into REM. It doesn’t want to let go, lest he be waiting.
We have a little cockatiel who was born with a deformed tail. It is curly, and magnificent, though sadly leaves her unable to fly. She is a delight. She was on my lap the other day, and felt so comfortable, that her eyes grew heavy and she fell asleep. No hyper-vigilance or anxiety with this little one! I looked on with wonder at the ease of her rest.
I pray I never dream of him again. I hope I never have to use all my mental resources in a lucid state to outsmart and defeat him in the future. The scars reading like a street directory over my body state that I have been there and done that. I want to close my eyes like this little bird, and fall into deep, blissful slumber, without the inclusion of him. I hope over time his features will be obscured again. He will once again recede into the ghoulish mists in the periphery of an otherwise enchanted tale.