A Dream I Keep On Having

Graphic by Banani Kalita

It was past midnight when I heard muffled voices in my front yard. My curtains were drawn and my eyes half shut. I was resting my head on the dining table and had almost fallen asleep while reading a lifestyle magazine I bought from ablind woman in Mumbai local. It must be the neighbour’s kids. Or the leaves swaying. I made a wild guess without turning my head.

Few minutes passed in silence and a wave of deep sleep started engulfing me. A loud squeak, a cracking of rusted iron gate and I woke up with a sudden jolt. My sleep was long gone and I started getting restless. To check out the commotion outside, I went to the window and slid aside the curtains. There stood two men, one in khaki and the other in an ocean blue shirt. The man in khaki was slowly opening the lock of my iron gate while his acquaintance helped him with the metal tools. My fingers froze on the curtain. Beads of sweat dripped down my neck. I ran inside the living room and frantically dialed my friend’s number. The world around me stopped and fear rushed through my veins. After two failed attempts, my friend picked up the call. In incoherent words and a tone barely audible to my own ears, I told him about the two men, the cracking iron gate and my shivering hands. He patiently waited until I finished and asked me to lock every door of my house and bolt every window. He calmed me down and assured me that he was on his way to my home.

After a brief pause on both ends, he reminded me to fasten my back door. A spasm of fear sent chills down my spine. A muted silence fell all over the room as I turned around to run to the passage. Two figures, one in khaki and one in an ocean blue shirt stood in front of me, unhinged. A loud cry, a louder laughter and everything around me was pitch black.

I woke up with a heaving breath and a nagging pain in my chest. It was the same recurring dream I had dreamt a million times. I reached out for a glass of water near my bed and turned on my phone to check the time. It was dark outside, almost past midnight.

The human heart is exquisitely fragile. Our deep rooted conflicts, unsolved issues and our unmet desires turn themselves into dreams that could occur more than once over a short period of time or maybe over the entire course of our lives. Falling, drowning, being chased or failing a class are some of the most common recurring dreams experienced by people. In my recurring dreams, I see a hand pushing me off a skyscraper. Or I am getting trapped under the ice of a frozen lake. During these dreams, I am at my most vulnerable state. My subconscious mind is alert and I feel a need to be saved. Saved from the two men, from falling down the Skyscraper and from suffocating under water. In moments like these, I refuse to be my own messiah and crave for a hand to hold and a shoulder to lean on. I want to be protected from the things beyond my control and wake up before my dream concludes, because it leaves a door open for hope. I want to sleep again with a sense of tranquility and end my nightmares on a positive note. Just like every other person, I find my solace in knowing that I have the freedom to write my own climaxes and alter their ends. To have this option of choices is a blessing in disguise as it gives me the strength to face my dreams and dare to close my eyes again. Recurring or not, dreams have been an integral part of my humaneness. They have the ability to wake me up smiling or push me in the abyss of never ending thoughts. But in the end, I am more than the nightmares that make my heart race and lips dry. I am more than just a person falling, drowning or being chased. I am more than my intrusive thoughts and insecurities that keep coming back after every recurring dream. I am more than the night I fall asleep. I am the daylight I wake up to everyday.

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