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Nightmare

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I gasp and bolt upright in my bed.
Sweat beads and pours down my face, my hands are clammy.
My heart is like the bass on a strong stereo in a small room, it moves my body, consumes it, I am my heartbeat.
The cloud that was my mind clears, and my heart rate slows, but only just so.
What was it, was it what it always is?
No, this time it was different, it made me so afraid, and so sad. A nightmare that made me sad.
What ever it was, it was most definitely not the usual. I shiver, and more sweat forms and rolls down my face.
After sitting straight up in bed for more than ten minutes, I relax.
Just a dream, just a dream, just a dream.
I slowly lay down.
Just a dream, just a dream, just a dream.
I close my eyes.
Just a dream, just a dream, just a-
NO, not a dream, it was a nightmare, a nightmare that made you sad, that’s made you stay up for- I glance at my clock, and my jaw drops -an hour.
What kind of a nightmare makes a person sad? As I search my brain for what it was that made me sad, I am forced to review every image, every feeling, everything. I begin to shiver again, and to breathe heavily, this makes me freak out even further, I can’t make noise, noise is danger.
STOP IT! It was a nightmare it’s not real. At this point I have remembered what made me sad, and tears begin to roll silently down my face. I will not remember it all, will not, will not, will not, but it doesn’t matter what I say, my mind acts on it’s own and before I know it I remember every detail of that moment. I let go and let that part of the dream wash over my conscious.
We sit in a post-apocalyptic world, we have made it back to the family house, but WE are the only family left.
I gather the few things I want, and go to her room to tell her to hurry, we don’t have time, or maybe we have too much, it’s not really clear....
I walk in and she’s packing a few small toys.
She sees me, and explains, “For when we get to somewhere safe, I don’t want to be bored!”
She says it in that ever-optimistic 7 year-old voice, not a hint of worry in her eyes, the look says, “it’s ok, I don’t have to worry, you’ll take care of me, you’ll find somewhere safe, and when you do, I won’t be bored!”
This wrenches my heart, it breaks it in half. I think what I cannot say.
As I escape that dark landscape and return to the reality of my small dark room, the tears roll faster down my face, and I begin to sob.
In the dark of the night I whisper it out in a small, hoarse voice, “I don’t know if there will ever be anywhere safe again, baby girl.”
I spend the rest of the night, sweating and shivering, sometimes at the same time, praying for my alarm to go off, so I can focus on other things, so I never remember it again, but I know that I will remember this forever, maybe even beyond that.



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