The Nightmare.

September 21, 2012 at 11:12 am | Posted in Heartbreak, motherhood | 4 Comments

I’m in someone’s house; I’ve never been there before, but I recognize all of my college friends there, helping pack, take down curtains, move boxes. There’s a gorgeous lace sheer in one of the rooms, and I remark how pretty they are. A friend offers it to me. “Do you want it, Serenity? I don’t know where I’d put it in the new place.”

I agree. So we’re helping her move, then. I take the curtains down and start folding them, then move into some of the other rooms, too restless to stay in one place.

In the kitchen, someone’s putting together lunch. Salmon, steaks, salads; it’s a huge spread and I don’t understand. If they’re moving, why do they have so much food?

We all sit down, a table of women, and I take a piece of steak, suddenly famished. I cut it and put it in my mouth.

Then my best friend warns me not to eat it. “It’s not fully cooked, Serenity. You could get listeria*!”

I take the half chewed piece of meat out of my mouth, wrapping it in my napkin.

And. There’s a pause at the table, and everyone looks at me expectantly.

“Well, Serenity? Is there news you want to share? Are you pregnant?” a friend asks me, somewhat teasingly.

I reply as vehemently as I can. “NO, no. I am NOT pregnant. Trust me, there is NO news to share. I just don’t want to get sick from uncooked meat!”

I stand up and walk out. I want to find Charlie.

When I go outside, I see Lucky’s stuffed dolphin, Spoochy, on the ground. Surprised, I look around for he and Charlie, expecting them to be together.

Except Charlie is helping my best friend’s husband with something in the driveway. Lucky is nowhere to be found.

So I search him out. It doesn’t take me very long before I see him, across the street, high up on someone else’s property, playing in the front yard. The property is on a steep hill, so the side he’s playing in is raised high above the sidewalk on the side street. I start crossing the street to get to where he is.

He’s walking along a curb at the top of the property, holding onto the fence, pretending he’s a tightrope walker. It’s one of his favorite things to do when we’re walking somewhere, except he always holds my hand. He’s probably 20 feet above the sidewalk. So I speed up, walking a little faster, because I have this sense of wanting him to be careful.

Because the fence he’s holding onto ends, and it’s just the curb to the edge of the property. And instead of hopping down, he keeps walking.

And then I see his balance falter. And his arms windmill, trying to grab onto something.

And he falls, toppling onto his head, landing right at my feet. Crumpled, not moving.

I wake up sobbing. Heart pounding, muscles screaming, I can barely breathe.

Thank goodness for my husband, who wraps me in his arms and tells me that Lucky is fine, he’s asleep in his bed, it’s not real. I’m soothed enough to fall back asleep again, and thank goodness I’m not plunged back into the nightmare again. Because sometimes that happens.

This week has been awful for work. In the past three days I’ve worked 34 hours, and where I’ve been able to see Lucky in the morning for a few minutes before we have to leave for school, it’s not been real quality time.

So this morning, Lucky and I slept in, and we had a real breakfast together in our kitchen, and we played a bit before it was time for school.

And in the car, when we were stuck in traffic, I looked in the rearview mirror at him, and was filled with love and ache. I was suddenly struck with how close I was to losing him. In my nightmare, yes.

But it’s a really good lesson.

Life is tenuous.

Savor it now.

*Yes, I know that uncooked meat is more of a risk of salmonella, not listeria. Apparently my subconscious wanted it to be a pregnancy-specific issue. Yay.


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  1. I know that dream panic and fear that in going back to sleep it will continue. Just know, that dreams are not literal, so this likely has nothing to do with Lucky or being pregnant. But, clearly there is a lack of control element to it.

    Wishing you peace.

  2. Hugs.

  3. My heart is just in my throat reading this. Hold on to that little boy.

  4. That’s rough 😦 I’ve been having horrible nightmares too and I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD (after a million years.) I’m so sorry. Bad dreams are really tough. Glad your husband is being cool…

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