Wouldn’t it be romantic and wonderful if you and your dream could prance and frolic in a field of flowers, laughing and singing like Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music”? It would put a flower behind your ear and tell you you’re beautiful, even when you don’t meet a deadline or happen to be too busy to focus properly. It would massage your aching feet and make you a cup of something delicious and say it’s with you till the end, for better or worse.
Goddamn you Julie Andrews.
*Takes off reality filter*
You’re on your third cup of Bailey’s and coffee, staring bleary eyed at your computer. The insipid cursor is taunting you, winking in and out of existence and echoing like the steady TAP TAP TAP of a school master’s expectant shoe on a sterile linoleum floor. (Yes, it makes noise if you stare at it long enough). Your fingertips are numb from counter-tapping on the desk, attempting to inject a melody against the TAP TAP TAP; trying to drum up inspiration.
It’s 2:36 am and you have to be to work at 7:00. Something falls in the kitchen and you startle so badly you slosh your coffee, your body jerking awake, ready to leap into action. OKAY! You’re awake again! Your fingers tap tap tap on the keyboard for a while and then stab the back space button in annoyance. This happens for perhaps half an hour more. Ridiculous. This is getting you no where. It’s time for bed and you can continue with fresh eyes when the sun is out again.
Your blankets greet you warmly, tucking around your shoulders and snuggling up to your back. Your pillow cradles your aching head and its feathery fingers reach out to pet your hair and relax the nerves. You close your eyes and sigh deeply. Time to shut up and shut off….
You twitch and open one eye and survey the room. Nothing but darkness and the familiar shapes of your furniture. Must be a muscle spasm. You curl your body in on itself and pull the blankets up higher. Sleeeeeep.
heh heh heh heh heh…..
WHADAFAQ? Your ears sharpen in the yawning silence and behind your eye lids, your eyes rotate spastically, trying to catch the sound again. Surely this is sleep deprivation. Your body is trying to keep you awake for a fourth wind. It can’t let go. So much to do and too much worry. You try deep breathing. In two three four. Hold for seven; let out for eight….
It’s not real! You are still as you can be, devolving back to kindergarten where all children know that if you lay like a dead person, the monster can’t find you. You’re afraid to open your eyes. It’ll go away. It always does. You’re freaking out over nothing.
DEFINITELY NOT A SPASM! OMFG it’s FREDDY KRUEGER! Its FREDDY!!! Or Jason! No, not Jason! It’s PREDATOR!!
You throw back the covers and stand on your bed in a crouching position, piercing the void with your suddenly superhuman sight. You grope for a weapon; you grab a chewed up pen from your night stand. Your spine feel likes its electrified and your leg muscles tremble, waiting for another poke to prod you. Waiting, waiting…
Nope. Nope nope nope you’re not waiting. You make the snap decision to move before it can get you, leaping off the edge of your bed (because the carpet has turned into lava and you can’t touch it or you’ll die) and landing as close to your doorway as you can before stumbling through and slamming it shut, locking the monster inside. You run back to your desk chair and you put your feet up onto the seat, pen in hand and now armed with your still hot coffee.
It’s a small eternity of you waiting and watching before you feel safe enough to turn your back to the door way. Since you’re up again and clearly not going back to sleep any time soon, might as well work. You feel a warm breath against your neck and you shudder.
You’re doomed. That’s it. Game over. You can sleep when you’re dead, which might be sooner than you anticipated.
An invisible pair of hands grips your wrists and plunks them down on the keyboard and you feel like a puppet being manipulated. First it stabs your index finger down, and then your pinky and then middle finger of your left hand. You squint and try to make out the words you’re involuntarily typing but after a while, you give up and give in to the compulsion. The breath is still at your neck and the weight is on your hands for hours, TAP TAP TAPing away, showing that cursor whose boss.
When you come to, the sun is out, it’s 6:30 am, and when you look at the screen, your word count has jumped up 6k and HOLY SHIT it’s actually GOOD. You look around, neck sweaty, muscles tight. At some point, you were fed because there’s an empty Cheez-it bag to your left and a glass of juice you don’t remember pouring to your right. (Is that juice?)
You turn in your chair and stretch, your eyes gritty from strain and deprivation. When you stand, for a split second you see a form in the shadows and your body spikes with alarm. And then you shake your head because you swear you got the impression that it winked at you and saluted before drifting away and releasing you from its thrall.
And you smile.
Dreams aren’t romantic. They’re goddamn scary MoFos and they come at you like Hell Hounds when you’re least expecting it. They mean well though, you see, because they want to come alive too. They want to live and breathe and take shape and because YOU are their vessel, they have to push you past your comfort level sometimes. Only the really good dreams do this; the ones that hold on to you like a dog with a bone.
The dreams that chase YOU are the ones you need to keep close. Those are the ones worth not giving up on.
(This is a true story from the life and times of Jessica Jordan.)