As the crowd cheers my name, I leave the vicinity of the curtains and walk upright to the podium. I wave and smile at the people below me, which makes them chant my name with even more enthusiasm. As the crowd starts to quiet down, eager to hear me speak, I feel a rush of happiness run through my whole body. I don’t know why I’m here, don’t know what I’m here to speak about, but all I know is I feel infinite pride to be there. I thank the crowd for being there and as I do so I quickly brush my hair behind me, wanting to make any last minute adjustments to my appearance before I begin the speech. A few strands of hair fall out of my head and float to the pages of my speech. I brush them off quickly as I open my mouth to start speaking. Another few strands fall off just as I’m about to start speaking; I brush them off again and try to continue. The crowd starts to grow uneasy and I can hear them murmuring to each other in concerning breaths. Before I know it, more and more strands are falling off. I can’t see the words on the page anymore and as fast as I brush my hair away, the faster it falls off my scalp and unto the pages. The crowd gasps as they see this, some shouting for a doctor, some starting to make a dash for the exit. I want to run backstage and into the comfort of my family and friends arms, but my feet feel chained to the floor. Faster and faster my hair falls off onto the pages, onto the floor near my feet, covering me like fire does to paper. The whole crowd starts to panic and mass chaos breaks out, everyone running for the door at once. I try to plead with them to stay, tears choking me up as the hair continues to fall off now in chunks, but they continue to push each other out of the way to make there escape. As the last chunk of hair falls off my now shining scalp, every single one of my adoring fans is gone, leaving the stadium empty. I fall to the floor in tears, my hair surrounding me. I start to wail, a sound that I’ve never heard before that starts deep in my belly and escapes to my throat. As I’m grasping what once was my beautiful hair I shoot up in my bed. I am breathing heavy, and I feel my night shirt sticking to my back. I wait until my breath becomes even again, and cautiously I reach up. I blow out a sigh of relief as I feel all my hair still secure on my head. I head to the kitchen, the first place I always go when I have nights like these. My hands shake as I pour water into a glass, but try with all my will to keep them steady. As I gulp the liquid down, the dryness in my mouth subsides, for a moment at least. I fight the urge to reach for my hair, instead keeping my hands busy by making a sandwich. As I cut into the thick bread, I glance at the light blue digital numbers on the stove. 3:07 work in 5 hours. I’ve had so many nights like this since my first doctor’s visit, each time with a slightly different dream. It makes it worst that I’m not one of those cliché “reoccurring dream” people; at least then, I would have some predictability in my life. The only reason I think about reoccurring dreams was because Dr. Marvin was trying to find a theme in my dreams, trying to make sense of all my angst and terror. I hate these doctors who try to find a deeper meaning in everything. The reason why I have these dreams is plain and simple. I know why, the doctors at the hospital know why, my ex-husband knows why. I’m still shaking now, not with fear of the dreams, but of something I can’t put my finger on. I stand, staring out the window, leaning my elbows on the cold granite counter top. I ponder for awhile, thinking about all the turns of event that have happened over the past three years. I stand there for so long, when my attention finally snaps back into reality the stove clock reads 4:35. I also realize that my hand is grasped into my hair.
Chapter One: The Dream
December 5, 2011