Nightmares

We’ve had a string of bad dreams over the last week and it’s making me realize that having adult problems sure makes me feel old.

Audrey woke up Saturday morning and told me that she had a nightmare. I asked her what it was and she told me, “I don’t want to talk about it,” and flat-out refused to discuss it any further. Her resolve is insane! Later, I overheard her telling Tyler about it while we were driving to Monster Jam. She told him about how Pepper, our black lab-mix (interesting how I call her a black lab-mix, instead of a pit bull-mix), was on fire and burned to death. She struggled to say it outloud and it was clear that she was on the verge of tears.

Tyler, possibly in an attempt at making her feel better, told her that it wasn’t real and how he had a nightmare a couple nights before that. He dreamt that people had broken into our house and were trying to kill us.

As I think back to my childhood, I remember having a recurring nightmare about a 50 foot tall Frankenstein’s Monster chasing me through my elementary school. His feet would crash through the roof and rubble exploded all around me. Inevitably, the nightmare would nearly always transition to me running away from the same monster, but normal-sized this time, through my backyard. But the backyard was a swamp and I could neither run fast nor scream. It was terrifying and haunted me for a long time. I wonder if I’ve ever shared that with my parents; they may not even be aware of this childhood trauma.

But as an adult, it’s different. I had a dream that was mentally horrible for me a few nights ago and felt like a nightmare at the time. I’m in my car, at a stoplight. It feels as if the light has been red for longer than it should and that I’ve been sitting still for a near lifetime. Finally, the light goes green and I hammer on the gas pedal. But just as the front bumper of my car enters the intersection, it happens… I see that the light didn’t actually turn green. It was the left turn signal that went green. I slam on the brake pedal and screech to a stop. All eyes are on me as I sit, utterly embarrassed, waiting for the traffic signal to turn green. It was mortifying. Why my brain interpreted this as a nightmare is beyond me, but it certainly elicited those emotions from me.

And then it happened over and over again. The exact same thing. I’d get to the next light, sit there, see a green light, hit the gas, realize it’s the left turn signal, slam the brakes, sit embarrassed and wanting to die…. wash, rinse, repeat. Oh, the humanity!!!! The only thing that could have topped it is if Frankenstein’s monster was sitting in the passenger seat laughing at me with his stupid giant feet.

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