A Waking Nightmare | Teen Ink

A Waking Nightmare

January 8, 2015
By AnnaOfMirkwood SILVER, Raymond, Mississippi
AnnaOfMirkwood SILVER, Raymond, Mississippi
6 articles 9 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To define is to limit." Oscar Wilde

It’s an average day. Maybe you’re in math class, maybe you’re driving down the road, maybe you’re sitting in your backyard. Suddenly, the fire alarm goes off and you smell smoke, your car swerves suddenly on a patch of ice (even though the day is warm), a horde of zombies crash through your white picket fence. You’re a mere second away from a burning roof crashing down upon your head, careening into a tree, or having your brain begin the process of digestion. Then, as suddenly as it began, the scene vanishes and is replaced by blackness.
You thrash around and your hand knocks against something familiar. You turn your beside lamp on and blink in the sudden light. You’re in your bed. Around you is your room, the same as it’s always been. You take deep breaths as you pass a hand over your clammy forehead, trying to slow the rapid thumping in your chest. A laugh escapes your dry mouth. It was only a nightmare.

You wake up and feel relief. None of it was real. Everything is back to normal now. You can turn the light back off and go to sleep content that the fire wasn’t there, your car didn’t crash, a reanimated corpse didn’t eat your brain. Whatever happened in your dream, it’s going to stay there.

It’s not quite the same with me. Sure I have dreams about my car’s breaks not working or having a zombie grab me from behind while I’m out walking my dog. But when I wake up, I don’t dwell on the screeching tires or the disgusting look of rotting flesh. I think about how I was walking my dog without a limp or stiffness in my legs, how my hands didn’t scream in protest when I grabbed the wheel in a vice-like death-grip.
Good dreams are no refuge either. I could have won a beauty pageant, but I’ll see myself reflection and notice that my skin is porcelain and not riddled with red and purple discolorations, that my body is a good eighty pounds lighter—how I looked before I was diagnosed with lupus in the eighth grade and put on over ten different medications. I could dance in a recital, until I remember that I wasn’t able to restart my dance lessons after I got diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in the seventh grade.

No matter what dream I have, good or bad, I always wake with a sobering reminder. None of it was real. Everything is back to normal. I can reach to turn off the light with my swollen, reddish purple hand and attempt to arrange myself in a position where my back won’t be sore in the morning (a futile effort). I didn’t win the pageant or perform in the recital. I don’t wear size-4 dresses or have perfect skin or do perfect splits anymore. Whatever happened in my dream, it’s going to stay there.

The author's comments:

Just a piece I wrote one night after waking up and being too uncomfortable to go back to sleep. 

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