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.