September 25, 2018

A Recurring Dream

I've been having this recurring dream.

It's not the same as the dreams that plagued me for most of my adult years (that is, until recently)—being back at school, getting lost in an unfamiliar place, struggling to open my eyes to see, falling backwards, or driving off a cliff.

It's not even the sleep paralysis that occasionally wraps its arms around me, nor the night terrors that send me leaping out of bed to chase an invisible intruder into the kitchen.

Fortunately, most of that nighttime nonsense ceased once I adopted my cat.

But for some reason, by some impetus, I now have nearly the same dream every night—though the supporting characters might rotate and the exact circumstances may bob and weave around actual historical events and dramatic imaginings.

I dream that I'm still in touch with my parents—sometimes actually staying with them in their house or even living in my old bedroom—and I'm trying to get out.

I'm packing, collecting, scheming, and ruing the day I ever let them back into my life.

In my awake reality, of course, I haven't heard a peep from my parents in over a decade.

But while I'm asleep, I find myself alternately telling myself "They're not so bad" and asking myself "How did I end up back here?"

I'd gotten out!

And I have to get back out again.

Usually, in my recurring dream, I'm planning a clean break—to drive away one day and never turn back. Stop calling. Go into hiding. Change my identity.

But that's not how it happened in real life, all those years ago. I didn't even know it was happening at the time.

What I thought had been a stalemate or something of a game of "chicken"—who would give in and call the other one first?—turned out to be more of a one-sided, decisive event.

There was no fight, no ultimatum, and no declaration nor letter of intent. From either side.

And by then, I'd already picked up anything of mine that my mother hadn't thrown away. There was nothing to pack—and nothing I'd want to bring with me anyway.

But in my dreams, I'm still sorting, giving away, throwing away. I'm opening dresser drawers and hiding under the clothes hanging in my old closet. I'm folding and fitting into suitcases, rolling up posters and picking up shoes from the basement stairs landing.

My car is parked somewhere out on the street or in the driveway—at least I have my car—but I can't quite remember which way to drive to get out of Eastwood.

I worry about getting everything and not having to go back, especially because the locks were changed, and I don't have my old set of keys anyway.

How did I let this happen?

I have to get out—and this time, for good.

In the waking hours, I've stopped wondering what I'd do if one or both of my parents reached out to me. I'm relieved they haven't.

And I don't think I'll wake up one day back in their house. My dad commandeered my old bedroom a long time ago. My parents had erased any trace of me there long before they exorcised me from their lives.

They did me a favor, of course, by letting me go. I'm much better off now than I was back then.

Are they still alive? As far as I know. Are they still together? As far as I know.

Do they regret what they've done? I bet they don't.

I don't know if I'd feel better if they did.

But clearly, my brain is working overtime to clear things out while I'm asleep. I've already unpacked a lot of these issues while conscious, so I hope my subconscious can manage to pack it all up and ship it out to wherever it needs to go.

And I can move on to dreaming of better things.

Related Posts:
I Dream About Sleeping
That Which Haunts Me

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