I can’t sleep on my back. If I do, there’s a good chance I’ll experience sleep paralysis. A few nights ago, I turned to my back in my sleep and sure enough, it happened. I’m always stuck in a situation and I either wake up screaming because I was trying unsuccessfully to yell out in my dream, or I partially wake up, trapped in between sleep and wakefulness, unable to move.

This time, the screams stayed in my dream and I didn’t feel fully paralyzed either, but when I opened my eyes, I saw a deer standing next to my bed. After the initial moment of terror, I quickly calmed down and continued to look at it with knowing smugness. It was part of the strangeness that occurs often when I find myself on my back and it was no supernatural moment. Sure enough, before long, the deer was replaced by the clutter in my room.

Sleep paralysis is an interesting thing. It’s terrifying when it happens but the minute I realize what’s going on, I calm down and simply turn to my side and go back to sleep. I wonder how many people throughout the ages thought there were actual demons attacking them in their sleep because of this phenomenon.

Yesterday, Carol told me that she woke up in the early morning due to a terrible nightmare and was unable to go back to sleep. I get those too. My mind sure knows how to create a custom horror story for me.

Carol dreamt that Rick beat her father to death and he was now trying to convince her to help him burn the evidence. I thought that was pretty symbolic of what Rick’s influence has allowed her to do to her family. Because of that, I had trouble sympathizing with Carol but I never dared to express that. I just told her that I have quite a few nightmares too about horrible things like that happening. I did not elaborate. Some dreams I will never speak of to anyone.

Last night, however, I had an interesting dream. A woman had fallen through ice into the water underneath. I saw her go under. I rushed over to her and I broke the ice she was now under to pull her out. I held her tightly, giving her my warmth and said, “It’s okay, miss, I’m going to take you to a doctor. Sorry, but I have to hold you close to keep you warm. I don’t mean nothing by it.” She seemed afraid of me at first but began to trust me as I continued to carry her in the right direction.

Next, I was in a hospital morgue, helping move the body of a man who drowned. He was bloated and smelling awful but my main concern was avoiding getting some of his internal water on me as I moved him.

I was then in a cozy cabin, speaking with a coworker from many years ago. Carol used to joke about having a “work boyfriend” so I called this coworker my “work girlfriend” out of my annoyance with Carol over it. She was nice and pretty, someone I would’ve been interested in if I wasn’t dating Carol. But I was dating Carol and was crazy for her. This coworker, if she was interested at the time, had no chance to get noticed by me. Not while Carol and I were young and burning with desire for each other. It wasn’t until we were separated that I saw recent pictures of this former coworker and thought, wow, she’s pretty.

So here I was with this coworker in a cabin. We were in our work clothes from way back then, chatting just like we used to. Then all of the sudden, I grabbed her and began to kiss her. She gave me a “What are you doing?” look then began kissing me back. I put my arms around her like I do to Carol and said something about how it’s nice to take some time to just play around like this. It felt like she was my wife in the dream and we were being naughty at work together.

I woke up, feeling good and accomplished about helping that lady out of the water, confused about how the drowned man came into the picture, and even more confused that I was dreaming about that coworker from so many years ago.

Thinking about it now, it makes sense to wonder how things would’ve turned out differently. If I wasn’t with Carol, maybe that coworker and I would’ve hooked up. And if we did, it’s possible that we’d be happily married, without infidelity poisoning the relationship.

Where I am right now is not where I want to be in life. I want to be happily married, enjoying my time with my wife and kids. I’m married and but it’s not happy. Not while this hangs over us.

In Carol’s process of discovering that what she wanted was here all along, she turned it into what I don’t want.

My dream has been crushed and there’s no going back.

9 thoughts on “Dreams

  1. What could’ve and should’ve been will poison you. I think anyway. We could say that about a ton of things in our life. Although this wasn’t your dream. It could be a different dream. Maybe not better dream but a good different. More communication. More intimacy. More of whatever might have been lacking before. If you both continue to work very hard it could be a different dream. Maybe your dream wasn’t her dream and now you can have a dream together. I am in no way saying that the affair was a good thing to make you realize anything. Affairs are never good. Can never be good. The affair will always be there now. But does it always have to be an elephant in the room. Can someday it be a kitten. Or even a turtle that hides under a rock. I don’t know. I hope that for my marriage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jack
    A beautifully written piece. My sister once said to me ‘you can leave Rich, you will always find someone new, but whose to say it will be better? They could be someone who doesn’t change their pants all week, and wears their socks when their having sex! Better the devil you know sometimes, at least you know what your buying into.’ She was right, so I stayed, and you will see how hard it was. I hope that I can give you hope.
    I learnt that marriage is the good and the bad, in this case the worst! But from the bad we got stronger, but it took five years to even have a day where I didn’t think about it. It’s early days Jack.
    Sending a hug.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sleep paralysis sucks. First time it happened to me I thought for sure there was some evil demon sitting on me. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    You may not know it now, but you and your wife are making amazing strides. This is a long process. Don’t rush it. In reality, you can’t, though you may want to.

    I get pissed at myself that I’m 2.7 years out and I still have so much pain. But then if I look at the whole timeline, I’ve actually come a long way. He and I have come a long way.

    The hardest thing for me to hear that first year? “That marriage is done. It’s over. Now you begin a new one.” God I hated that. It wasn’t my choice to ‘end’ those first 20 years, and I fought against that idea.

    But now I’m starting to see that yes, it will never be the same as it was. We are building a new marriage. Dare I say I like this one better? It’s a new dream…. I hope.

    I hope for you too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure I agree with that.
      If that marriage is done, and those years no longer matter, why bother rebuilding?

      It would be much more logical to start fresh…

      But those years do matter. The history must matter of the loss of the future wouldn’t be so painful.


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