Mandi struggled back to reality while cobwebs of her dream continued to drag across her mind. As she had so many times before, she examined her psyche to try to discover the reason for the dream that continued to trouble her mind. The dreams started when Mandi was a child, then evolved over time to the dream that it is today ~ some 60 or so years later.
In childhood, the nightmare threats, unremembered now, always ended when Mandi tried to scream and run away. Her screams were mute as she realized she could not scream. Also, leaden legs would not move as they should. Instead, it was like trying to run through molasses. Though the monster never caught her, her attempts to escape were agonizingly fruitless. It was also in childhood that she learned that she could will herself awake to escape the threat. Willing herself to awaken became her escape…
In college, Mandi frequently dreamed of standing on a patch of ground hardly larger than her feet, as muddy brown water swirled around her. She tried to scream for help, but only a whisper came out. There was no monster…only swirling, muddy water for as far as the eye could see. There was no escape. Fear and thoughts of impending doom immobilized her so that she did not fall off her tiny patch of firm ground.
As Mandi lay in the comfort of her bed, her mind continued to probe and examine the why’s of her recurring dreams. Though the scenario was ever changing over her long life, the constant was the inability to scream or to run away.
She pondered the age old question of whether a dream is a predictor of a future event, or if the subconscious mind is working out a problem while the conscious mind slept. She had never quite answered that question to her own satisfaction, nor come to a firm conclusion. She recognized that to ponder what may happen in the future can only be described as an exercise in futility, so she never lingered long on that thought. What she did linger on were her memories, which seemed to be sharpened by age, as she recalled that the childhood nightmares ended when she learned that there were no boogie men living under her bed. The muddy water dream ended with the realization that she did not have a strong enough stomach to become a nurse. Once she switched majors, she never had the dream again. There were others that ended with resolutions in real life situations. Yet, the inability to scream or run away remained. Different times, different scenes, different people ~ same endings… Why could she not scream nor get away?
Mandi lounged lazily in her bed while she contemplated her new recurring dream. In the two years since she retired, she often dreams that she has returned to the work force. Even before she starts to work, she realizes what a huge mistake she has made, but she has already committed to a minimum of 3 months. Commitments are important to Mandi. She stands by her commitments, so she goes to work. Accustomed to sleeping until the crack of 10 am, she wonders how she will ever be able to get to her job on time. She thinks about the loss of freedom because she will have to return to a structured life. She wonders how on earth she will work 40 hours a week outside her home and still keep her home attractive and clean.
On the job, a job she did for many, many years, she sits in utter frustration when she realizes she has not a clue what to do with all the paper on her desk. She has forgotten all that she knew and the pile in her IN basket just seemed to grow before her very eyes. Her supervisor walks into her office to tell her to get busy. Resentment is growing within that she must once again answer to an alarm clock, a time clock and a supervisor. With warring emotions and conflicting standards, Mandi grows more and more upset. Suddenly, she screams and tries to run away. Her scream is mute and her legs move in slow motion. Just as suddenly, she realizes she must have dozed off again and this is all a dream. Mandi awakens to her beautiful retirement world, grateful to welcome a new day.
Ahhh….life is so good…. Whew…what a nightmare!
By Darlene Cirinna