The Craziest Dream…

I have always had pretty vivid dreams. In fact, they make it pretty hard for me to realize I’m dreaming, they’re so realistic. I have to write on my hand as a trick to realize that I’m dreaming. Occasionally, I have a nightmare so realistic that I can’t get back to sleep all night and it haunts me for months, after.

In the wee hours, I woke in a cold sweat. I dreamed that I was a desert refugee. I felt like I was in Sudan, or Tanzania, not sure which. We had built a makeshift camp, out of crates and chain-link fence. There was a spot where we could see soldiers, running toward gunfire and the dream had started that way. Gunfire. It was everywhere. I could feel the sand on my face, and it was all flies and dirt and hot. But, mostly, it was ratatatat. Gunfire. I didn’t know if it was Guerillas or soldiers. Bad guys and good guys, all mixed together. All looking the same. The children sat in the safest spot and we couldn’t sit with them. I couldn’t hold my daughter; my most primal urge. I couldn’t go to her. She was scared, but she was strong. She’d been through it, before, it seemed. We all had. So many times. And there were so many of us, all huddled together, waiting to know whether or not we’d live through the day. Friends and neighbors; strangers and brothers; all waiting. To die, or to live. Who would be here when the dice were done rolling? We had gotten some water from a stopped train, nearby, and I watched my daughter, hoping she could drink some. It was so hot. Would she drink, or would she be shot? Would she live? What could I do, without her? What would she do, without me? All of us, huddled, and more were coming. They were bloodied and bare. Naked and diseased. I grabbed one of them…a little boy who touched my daughter’s face with Leper’s hands. I sat back down, when I was told to, but I couldn’t let him just keep touching her. She still hadn’t drank. I needed her to be smart, to live, to fight. When would she drink? More refugees came and we went through a wary period. There was no knowing whether they were friendly or violent. They might try to kill us for our water. Or, for our camp. They were too weak to fight. They came and slumped. They told us the water was contaminated. So many of them. Dead and dying. I still can’t hold my daughter. Where is she!

Then, I wake up. Finally, again, I was me. But, I will never forget that glimpse. Selfishly, I hope I never get another one.