I don't have nightmares. Put me in a building full of zombies and I am perfectly relaxed. I'm going to survive this, I just have to wait in safety until they are all destroyed. Ever I am the scariest thing in the darkness and, while these midnight creatures exist, they don't give me the heebie-jeebies. Emily considered my unconscious confidence a kind of pathology, a statement that my mind is unbalanced because I don't shrink before the monsters but feel I must be in control even in my fantasies.
The worst dream I ever had as a kid repeated about a year apart until I reached puberty. A stage magician had released anthropomorphized evil into the world and I had to find the one word that would remove the demons or I could never again wake up. I considered this nocturnal mission more of an inconvenience than a terror, but was petrified at the prospect of being forbidden to wake up.
After Emily left me, for the two days I spent in a hellish haze, I dreamt of her. We were together, at a wedding reception. On one side of this floating island of earth was an aurora at which the wedding guests marveled. On the other, electricity shot from the ground in fantastic arcs, the blue of it matching Emily's dress and eyes. We didn't know anyone at the reception, but they were familiar composites. We were happy in this dream, enjoying our few moments together outside of space and time. But it dawned on us both, crying lightly, that this was only my dream and I would eventually have to wake up. She wouldn't be with me ever again and we both knew. This iteration of Emily didn't know why, just that it was so. We walked and kissed and spoke of our happy times together, all the love that constituted our combined life. We sat on the edge of the island, looking out into the starless void beyond. I tried to resist, tried to forget I knew the word that banished and brought me back to the waking world, wishing for the magician's curse. I'd love to say that she kissed me one last time and I was awash in love and understanding, but the dream simply evaporated. I woke up and cried silently to the sun, alone.
I had a dream last night. Like any dream, people and situations were combined and stretched. Melanie and Emily wore the same body, one with the stigma of history with my ex-fiancÃ©e and the tender smile of my girlfriend. The crux is that I took Emily back, knowing the consequences to my soul, knowing how much this was going to hurt, knowing we wouldn't but hoping we'd get a happy ending this time. In the dream, I was already forming and resisting the dozens of questions I would realistically have if I considered loving Emily again. I felt the anxiety that could not quite push out my weakness, aware I was making the wrong decision, that I was leaving behind the wonderful for the familiar. Worst, that I was willing.
It shook me because it represents some part of my head that has arranged my role in a complicated scenario, just in case. It shook me because it associates two women who - aside for a love of Twizzlers and, possibly, me - are completely separate. What scared me when I woke was what this could mean. You Freudians have at it, but here is what I think: I'm not in control when it comes to my heart, that much should be obvious, and this frightens me far more than the undead. Right now, short of nuclear war, what personally terrifies me is the vague thought of losing Melanie to her age, worldliness, or some other person's interest. Frankly, those concerns are in descending order of worry. My fright is that Melanie will prove to be like Emily in the most fatal way, the need to part company with me to move onto other things. I do not want to continue to be the one that my lovers outgrow, the island in space, though I specifically and certainly want to grow closer with Melanie. To have her melt in the dawning light and to wake knowing I will never again feel her in my arms, this is my nightmare.