I had a dream…


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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.

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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.

Writing 101. Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page.


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I have been recovering from pneumonia, and have missed quite a few days of the writing challenge. I tuned in today to be asked the question, what are you scared of? I was asked to address one of my worst fears. I don’t have a terror of dying, nor of public speaking. Snakes and spiders don’t scare me. Its heights. That is my Everest. I don’t have the gossamer wings I’ve always craved. I don’t even have invisible wings. In preschool, a group of children dared me to swing upside down (on my coaxing), from the monkey bars with no hands. This occurred back in the good old days of metal cubes soldered together over a pad of cement. None of that springy material as ground-cover. Sure enough, I soared head-first  to the cement, and went splat. Concussion and a nose ripped open, requiring stitches. I decided heights weren’t for me.

 

I had nightmares for ten years about being thrown off a balcony… Then it happened. Even as I was in the experience of being set down on a ledge, I couldn’t quite believe it. It was an out-of-body experience. My nightmare was a reality. When I fell, time and space seemed to disappear and it took forever to hit the ground. I knew it was going to hurt and may well be fatal. Was the nightmare a precursor to this fated event? It seemed too coincidental. It was cruel to be spirited out of the world-siphoned away from your body- by an act that happened to be your worst fear. I survived, and of course, my fear of heights grew. Twice I have fallen and twice have been broken by the experience.

 

My fear was so great that I couldn’t venture past  ground level at the Queen Victoria Building, nor of most places. Anywhere that had an open centre and  a railing or balcony, well, I couldn’t do it. I am markedly better now. It has taken a long time. There are some places and experiences I will never allow myself to encounter, and I don’t need to. I have nothing to prove. Walking up a staircase after having been jostled up one, going up an escalator, and walking anywhere near a balcony is triumph enough. I am a nervous flyer. My child squeezes my hand, and bless her, talks me through it. Its the take-off and landing which scares me. When we ascend and are in the clouds, I relax. There is nothing to fear up here. I am embraced by clouds, and can relax, the fine opaque film reassuring me. I am above it all now. Concerns, terrors and nightmares.

 

I have a daughter who adores climbing. I watch her at gymnastics, climbing up the rope, all the way to the ceiling. I attended  a playgroup party at a softplay centre when she was three. I heard a little voice call out “look at me!” I looked up to see my child waving. She had crawled through three levels, found a gaping hole in the mesh, and had pulled herself through it. She was now standing on top, with nothing around her. “Stay still! Mummy is coming!” I called, in my best sing-song voice. My heart thudded as I made my way through the hellish levels of toddler fun. She thought it was hilarious, and I needed a stiff drink. Somehow we survived the experience. Its amazing what you can do when adrenaline kicks in. I have gotten used to seeing her climb at every opportunity. I may not have wings, but will do everything in my power to ensure whatever I have ever been through holds no tool that could clip hers.