The Dream Team
I always lay down on my right side. Always my right side. I hear you choose the side of the bed you sleep on with a life partner the first night you sleep together, so I had been careful each time I went to bed with a new partner. I did not want to wind up on the side of the bed where I felt trapped. I wanted the side of a bed where I could get up freely and still be held in such a way that I always felt safe.
I curl into a fetal position with my knees pulled almost to my breasts and in a ball. The ‘I love yous’ are done. The arguments are laid to rest. It is a peck on the cheek or a kiss on the lips to remind each other of our love before we close our eyes. I feel him slide next to me curling his body next to mine. His arm drapes over my side and his hand slides up cupping my breast. It doesn’t squeeze, just rests there and that is so comforting. There is a lot to be said for touching.
My eyelids flutter shut and darkness envelopes me. As they settle down, I can feel my eyeballs begin their dance. They push upward and then almost as if refusing to go to sleep they fall back, so if I crack my eyes, my irises can gaze into the darkness. But it is almost as if they know it is time for sleep and they resume their flibbertigibbet journey until they settle into position. If you were to crack my eyelids now all you would see is the lower whites of my eyes.
I know I am asleep when they begin their march. There are always six of them. They are giving me a choice. Each one looks exactly like me, attired in Halloween parody. Me the princess. Me the warrior. Me the firefighter. Me the mother. Me the damsel and Me the zombie. I don’t get the zombie. It just screams nightmare, and who in their right mind would choose nightmare? One night there was no choice. I was dead and I could do nothing about it. I was glad when that chainsaw finally did away with me and the dream ended with a petrified scream.
Princess me waves her scepter and gazes at me imperiously. She doesn’t have to say anything, in fact, I don’t think any of them ever said anything. They just talk to me through their looks. They don’t say anything until my subconscious assumes their identity and I am transported to their world, to await the outcome of the dream. It is always the same each night. I go through the choice. I would let each make her case.
I am curious when I make my choice, what happens to the others? Do they go away to some holding area in my brain? Is there a physical place that they occupy and make gossip like old biddies? “Oh, what kind of trouble is she going to get into today?” “Is she going to give us anything we can use?” Or is it just going to be the same humdrum role? What do they say about me? What do they think about me? I mean they occupy eight hours a day of my life. Do they even realize that?
I let Princess me pass by without giving her the time of day. My partner and I haven’t argued today, so Warrior me faded into the void. I certainly wasn’t feeling heroic or motherly so they also join the other rejects. That leaves Damsel me and Zombie me. If it wasn’t for protocol I would reject Zombie me out of hand and wave her to join the others, but I always hope I will be gathered away when I make my choice before she has a chance to express her opinion.
I was feeling sexy. I was sexy. I wanted to be the damsel in distress, rescued by the handsome knight errant and given the opportunity to thank him for his rescue of me. Fuck Zombie me. I look at her with a scowl that tells her I had made my choice. Pieces of flesh hanging from her face and an eye dangling from one of its sockets, rotted teeth bared, she sneers and starts to fade leaving me alone with my perfect damsel and a sleep filled with delicious sex. I am about to embrace her when suddenly Zombie me turns back solidifying just to the point where I could see her. With growing horror, I watch, frozen as she turns around, coming up behind Damsel me, passing through her like some kind of fantasm. Her mouth stretches open until it is as wide as I was tall. It engulfs me and I scream. I wake sitting bolt upright in bed, my chest heaving and my lungs gasping for air.
It wakes Daniel from the depths of his sleep causing him to grab me and try to reassure me that everything is okay. I try to assure him that it was. I just had a nightmare. He looks at me strangely and said, “I didn’t think you ever got nightmares.”
“I don’t. I guess that is why this one scared me so much.”
“Go back to sleep, Sweetie. Everything’s okay and I’m here.” He gives me a reassuring hug and waits for me to lie down before curling up against me again, instantly snoring softly.
There are six of them, each one looking exactly like me. I can hear myself chuckling in my sleep. Did they really think I’m going to make a choice now? I glare at Zombie me and she returns it with a self-satisfied grin knowing a good night’s sleep is not in the works for me.