When I woke up this morning I felt freaking amazing. Swear. I couldn’t believe how good I felt. I opened my eyes and hopped out of bed and wanted to fly to the moon when my feet hit the floor.
See, I got back problems. It’s been probably eight or nine years since I could physically hop out of bed. Ever since the accident at the factory, I’m crunched up and slow moving. For a while there, it was touch and go as to whether or not I was going to make it.
But this morning. Man! It was like I had one in the chamber and the bullseye was six inches away. Just the best. And it’s not like I did anything any differently, last night or yesterday, or hell, the past six months.
I’m running on a full tank again, and I love it. I whooped, and shouted, “Soy muy hocicon!” But since I haven’t used my high school Spanish in the past thirty years, I have no idea what I said. That wasn’t the point though; the point was the emotion behind the exclamation.
I tried again. “Escuchame!”
My neighbor started pounding on the wall. I could hear him hollering something at me, but I couldn’t understand him. Besides, he wasn’t going to spoil today for me. I felt great! It didn’t matter if no one cared. Not one single solitary bit!
I opened my bottom dresser drawer, mostly because I hadn’t been able to open that drawer in years. All I found was old cargo pants, but I went ahead and put them on, because by God I was going somewhere today, and most people wouldn’t like it if I went naked.
I grabbed my work boots from the hall closet and jammed my feet in them as I struggled into yesterday’s tee shirt.
When I threw the door open, the birds where chirping like I was Snow White. Glorious.
I took two steps before I tripped over my own feet and came crashing to the pavement.
And just like that, my back hurt again.
I groaned and rolled over to stare at the clouds crawling across the blue sky. Just my damn luck. I closed my eyes and gave up.
And then I woke up. Not feeling as amazing as I had in my dream, but I was still pretty optimistic about getting that bottom drawer open. Today’s the day!
I do not recommend reading a book on writing memoir right before you go to bed. I did it last night, and it was a mistake.
I didn’t even read that much; just a few pages, and then I was like, nah, dude, I’ll read this novel that I also downloaded when I finished Everything We Keep the other night. So I read that for a little while, and it was fine. I got sleepy, I put the Kindle down, I closed my eyes, and next thing I knew, it was five hours later and I had to pee and I had been having some pretty messed up dreams.
I’m pretty sure that every single bad decision I made in my late teens and early twenties came back to haunt me in my sleep last night. And I didn’t just dream what happened; oh no, my good ole brain had to go and make everything a thousand times worse.
Brain: you had an amicable breakup in the middle of dinner at a restaurant then finished eating together and went home separately? Not anymore! Now you’re screaming and naked and fighting for the entertainment of thirty thousand people!
Yeah. That kind of thing.
I woke up feeling the deepest darkest feelings of failure that I’ve ever felt when I’m not in the midst of a bout of depression. Miserable. Like everything I’d done was wrong.
I slept a little bit more and then I was okay for the most part, albeit still haunted by the sensations those dreams had left me.
And then it went away, as dreams and their effects so often do.
It’s funny now because I fell down an internet rabbit-hole this afternoon and ended up reading about James Frey and A Million Little Pieces. I’d somehow missed that story before.
Tilly woke frantic, struggling to kick out from underneath the covers. When she was finally out of bed, she realized that it was all a dream. She didn’t even have a donkey, let alone one that was capable of operating a submarine and shooting torpedoes at the Empire State Building.
Kelly pressed her finger on the skip button again and again: no Chili Peppers, no Pixies, no Lil Jon. Yes. Chris Isaak sounded exactly how she felt right now. Her swollen eyes slipped closed, and her hand released her phone, letting it drop down to land softly beside her on the mattress. The lovesick lyrics rang true in her broken heart, and her breathing slowed and deepened until she was fast asleep.
The dreams came fast and thick, up mountains of deadly forests and through seas of pesky acrobats as the grandfather clock tolled the hours, one after another after another.
She woke in the early morning hours, her corduroys damp with sweat and wrinkled from being pressed into her sheets by her sleeping deadweight, a smile on her face and her tears long since dried. She rose, and seized the day.
He woke sweating from nightmares of reaching, grasping tentacles uncurling from pits of darkness. He licked his lips to wet them and tasted the screams dried there, bitter and tangy. The sheets twisted around his feet, and he struggled to kick free and sit upright, shaking the last vestiges of the dream from the dusty corners of his mind.
Alice bundled her coat into a ball as she took her seat on the train. She turned to her seatmate to introduce herself, but the man was reading a paper. Quite determinedly reading a paper, she noted. He rattled the pages fiercely as he turned them, shaking out imaginary wrinkles and possibly mixing up the words, Alice presumed. She shrugged and faced forward to wait for her journey to begin.
The remaining passengers bustled by, occasionally knocking her elbow, but mostly focused on themselves in that polite way that people assume in mass transit situations. Alice settled back and thought about her grandmother’s house. where she’d be in just a few short hours.
She was named Alice too, and ever since Alice the younger was a little girl, she’d been entertained with the most outlandish stories of dreams and mirrors and decks of cards. Alice the grandmother even had a nifty little bottle labeled Drink Me that served as a prop for one of those stories. Summers with her grandmother were the best times of young Alice’s life.
The train began to move, and she nodded off, to dream of a rushing rabbit in a waistcoat who was terribly late.