Bad dreams are always easy to remember. From the start they seem to know their hours are numbered. They rage and spit, gnash their teeth and wail, as the sun of their bleak existence quickly sets. In their limited time they etch their terrible marks on my brain, leaving them behind as evidence. Their ghosts faintly linger in those places, haunting my morning thoughts. I focus on forgetting them. As I open my eyes, I try to forget them; as I stumble sleepily to the bathroom, I try to forget them; as I wash my face and brush my teeth, try to forget them. Sit with my pen and pad at the ready, write something that will make me forget them. If I am to get through my day, they must be erased from my mind.
The desert. Erase it.The dark desert. Erase it. The boy in the dark desert. Erase it. Erase the boy who deserves to be in the dark, dark desert.
Such bad dreams.
Too often, they linger, like a cancer in my head. Infecting every cell, clogging every pore with my deepest fears and anxieties. I feel my blood run cold down my back and arms; the hairs of my neck stand on end. It’s as if they’ve put it in mind to stay a while longer, just to torment me. They want my tears.
I fear the good dreams lack that kind of passion: They know I’m always looking for them, desperately yearning to spend time with them. I would never turn them away. I want them to stay.
So perhaps, the bad, I wonder, just envy the good and only wish to be welcomed as the good ones are, instead of rejected, forced into oblivion. Could they just be misunderstood? What if they are merely working with the purpose they’ve been given? So is it necessarily their fault that I am so terrified of them — that I consider them bad dreams? Had they visited another that night, someone different from me, could they have been the quintessential examples of goodness in that sleeping mind?
Now what does that say for my good dreams then — dreams that seldom leave their virtuous marks for me to ponder? When we part, they are not looking for me — desperately yearning to spend time with me. They are running away from me. So, I wonder, have I become their bad dream? In some obscure light, am I the nightmare seeking their company every time I close my eyes? Their bad dream: the horrible nightmare they want to forget…or hope to at least.
Wake up, Malcolm.