I’ve asked professionals why I have such vivid, recurring dreams. Some attribute it to generalized anxiety. Or diagnose a “sensitive psyche”. Or an overactive imagination. Even excessive movie watching. Others just shrug.
I dream that I’m alone on a long, narrow beach at twilight. It has massive, crashing waves on one side, and tall, dark cliffs on the other. I imagine, against geographic sense, that this might be similar to the beach Daedalus and Icarus were left on before that fatal flight.
I dream that I’m blind. I move through the scene in my dream unable to make anything out, except for faint outlines and shadows.
I dream that I am paralyzed. My brain is awake, but I can’t move. I know I will lose the ability to breathe. I try to wake my body up. After intense struggle, I do. Release.
I dream that I can fly, but I can’t control it so can never fly at will, or high enough. I dream I run as fast as I can, until my legs hurt, until my shoulders hurt, but I don’t move forward even an inch. I dream that I need to read an important document but I can’t make out the words. That I have a vital meeting that I can’t get to. That I need to go to the bathroom but cannot find one. I dream my teeth fall out.
I dream that Luca cheats on me. It’s not the cheating that causes the most anguish but the fact he doesn’t seem to feel there is anything wrong with it when I confront him. It’s the fact that I suddenly don’t know who he is. I wake up furious, refusing to talk to him until the dream wears off.
When I dream I’m in danger, I usually – gratefully - wake up before any real harm comes to me. Except for twice, where I’ve dreamt that I die. Once, in a car accident where I got hit by a bright yellow school bus. I remember seeing faces of children framed in the windows, their wispy hair and hooded jackets; feeling the heat of impact on my chest and neck, then total darkness.
The second time was a plane crash. My piece of the plane careened into the San Francisco Bay. I heard a splash surround me, felt the rush of freezing water, the arm of the seat digging against my hip, my lungs screaming for air, my clothes sticking to my skin, restricting my movement. I looked up and opened my eyes under water to see a circle of light, a blue image breaking through the surface, of Luca gesturing, pointing down. I could swim out if I managed to release the seat belt. But, I run out of time. I thought, with an involuntary, heartbreaking, total surrender, “This is it”. Everything went black. And then, to my disbelief, I woke up in my bed, warm and safe, cocooned in blankets; awash in such fear my hands and feet and toes were tingling painfully. I got up to give my legs a shake. Maybe this is the afterlife.
I dream that my current life that I love is all a dream. Not just something I could lose – but something that never was. I am back in Mexico City in my early twenties and all I feel is empty and disoriented.
I wake up. I look around. I realize I’m in my room, in my house. I turn to look at the person next to me. LUCA! I married Luca! And this life is mine! I made it all, from scratch! I got myself here! Sometimes I say all this out loud.
Needless to say, with all the panting, flailing, kicking, gasping, crying out in anguish or in joyous celebration, Luca’s nights are seldom uneventful. And to think all he ever dreams about is that he’s playing soccer. Either that, or he doesn't remember a thing.