Most grown-ups will probably tell you they have nightmares every now and then, but not ones that sincerely scare them, or even wake them up in the middle of the night. I might also add that the majority of adults I've talked to A. Unless they're experiencing some traumatic stress, don't dream that often. B. Don't remember their dreams when they happen. C. Don't talk about their dreams if they have them and remember them.
I don't fit into any of those categories. I dream often, intensely, and usually remember my dreams for several days, and (if I think it might interest others) I talk about my dreams. I don't mean "I dreamed that I could fly" or "I dreamed that I was falling" sort of things. I once had a dream that I was Superman, flying around in my boxers and a white-collared button-up shirt. (As Superman) I stopped at a hotel, took the elevator to the top floor without anyone making a fuss about my attire, and once there a grungy, leather-clad biker pushed me out of a window and I died. At the age of 10 I dreamed that I was Brendan Fraser (whom I've realized it actually quite creepy looking) but the dream was a little more complicated, and I was decapitated at the end.
And yes, it had an end. All of my dreams have a beginning, a middle, and an end. I can blame this on my love for books, or stories, the fact that I'm a writer, blah blah blah. Or, I can blame it on the fact that my father is the same way and somehow dreaming in this manner is hereditary. Personally, I'm not really sure, but it's important to know that we dream the same way, and also have nightmares the same way.
I don't talk about my dad a lot in this blog, but today it's necessary. The next paragraph might embarrass him, but he can handle it.
My dad has crazy nightmares. I don't know much about them, except that when your father starts screaming at 1:00 am, it might as well be a nightmare for you too. I only ever heard about one of them, in which he apparently was running from something and ran straight through a glass door, then woke up screaming.
(Dear Mom, if you read this, don't tell Dad unless you know he won't get upset. Dear Dad, if you read this, well... you're the one who woke up screaming, damaging my fragile psyche as a child, and this blog is cheaper than therapy.)
To be fair, my dad has also had plenty of crazy-awesome dreams, and we've talked about those together too. The point here is the intensity with which we dream, despite the fact that you only hear about adults dreaming in books or movies, or maybe on television when it can add to the hilarity of your favorite sitcom.
Now, the last two nights I have had two very similar dreams. This might make sense if I had a normal sleep schedule, but I don't. I really, really, don't. Two nights ago I took 3mg of melatonin along with one PM acetaminophen. This allowed me to (miraculously!) fall asleep quickly and then stay asleep for a good 8 hours--typically taking both of those things allows me to stay asleep, but it takes me awhile to get there. Last night I decided to test my luck, so I didn't take anything. Fell asleep quickly, but woke up a few times.
Both nights each dream was about me and a friend--a "long-lost" friend, if you will--and how desperately I wanted to reconcile our friendship. This sounds juvenile, and dramatic. Except that it's part of real life. I have this dear friend who won't speak to me, won't respond to phone calls or e-mails, and won't tell me why we aren't friends anymore. Most of the time I try not to think about her, because as you can imagine, it's incredibly painful and sort of pointless to just focus on how horrible it feels. There are times when it's impossible not to think about her, because we were friends for many years, and there's this pen I still use--and she bought one to match mine. There are inside jokes that linger in other conversations, photos on my computer. Unless I make the effort to remove all memory of her, I will still think about her periodically.
But two nights in a row, I dreamed of her--and I had not thought about her for perhaps a week or so. I dreamed she showed up somewhere with a group of other friends, and she wouldn't speak to me. The first dream it was in a church, the second dream it was at a Christmas party, but both times she appeared and would make eye contact but said nothing. Tears were streaming down her face, and I ran to her, I hugged her and held her and apologized--not because I've done anything wrong, to my knowledge, but because that always seems like a good course of action when someone is upset with you and you don't know why. In the first dream, she refused to hug me back and walked away, but was still within sight. In the second dream, she made some sort of random Christmas dessert, announced to the room, "It's a Christmas tradition!" When I ran to her, she returned my embrace, but she was still crying, and still wouldn't speak to me.
Both times, I awoke breathless and aching with a deep sort of sadness. Missing her. Overwhelmed and confused--especially today, because I still can't understand why I'm having these dreams. It's sort of similar to dreaming about someone after they die. There's nothing you can do about it. There is nothing I can do about this. I've given up on the ideas about calling her every single day, or messaging her every single day.
It would be different if I was home--being in the same state would give me more chances to possibly see my friend. But I'm here in the midwest, as I have been 100% of the time for the last 786 days. I've lost touch with a lot of people back home but usually if I call them or send them a message on FB they at least return my call or send a reply. At least to say hello. They don't delete me from their list of friends. They don't cut me out forever.
So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm just going to put this out there. This blog is about things I've lost--I've lost a friend. And it's about things you find--I want to find her again. If you know her, and you feel like it, you can tell her that I'm reaching out in the only way I can anymore.
I miss you terribly. I think about you all the time. I don't know what went wrong or why you won't talk to me. I don't know if it's something I did, or something you think I did, but whatever it is, I'm sorry. I miss you. Please talk to me.