Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sometimes the nightmare is better than waking up.

I lie on a floor in the middle of a crowded room. The faces are all familiar: I know everybody there. They are friends, family, co-workers, even my pets, past and present. Everybody I have ever known my whole life, congregated in this strange, round room that is not familiar. It is large, and painted white: alien to me. The floor if hardwood, a dark color. Teak or something. I'm not sure.

Everybody sips drink from their wine glasses. They talk, mix and mingle. All while I lie on the floor. I am screaming for help. There is no blood, no outward sign that anything is wrong with me, just that I am screaming and screaming and screaming. I am screaming for help: anybody, somebody, please help me. Mom, Daddy, Boyfriend...help? I get the impression that I have done something to myself, poisoned myself in an effort to escape. But something changed or went wrong afterward, because I've suddenly decided I don't want to die.

I scream for help from these people with me, these people who have known me forever and claimed to love me at some point. Nobody looks at me. Nobody even hears me, or at least they don't seem to. Except for one person. Or rather, one being. My dog, my little chihuahua, my Choo Choo. She hears me, runs to me, licks my face and whines. She is helpless to help me, though. What can she do? She's a four pound dog. She whimpers and barks and I scream and plead, and still nobody looks.

And suddenly I jerk up, and I am not in a strange alien room with everyone I know. I am at home, in our bedroom, in bed lying next to Boyfriend, who is still sound asleep, completely unaware that I was just dying moments before and he didn't care.

I know it was just a dream, I know it. But I can't shake the feeling of despair, of helplessness. I feel alone, unloved, heartbroken. I start to cry, soft cries of heartbreak and misery, but it does not make me feel better. If anything it makes me feel worse, and after twenty minutes of bawling in the darkness, arms around my knees, I am so loud it wakes Boyfriend.

Boyfriend is alarmed.

Why are you crying?

I dreamed I was dying, and everybody was with me, and I screamed for help and nobody heard me, except Choo Choo. Nobody noticed me on the floor, dying and screaming.

I expect Boyfriend to hold me, tell me I'm silly, that I'm loved and everybody would help me if I was dying in front of them. But that is not what happens.

Oh my god, really? Chanel, it was just a dream. Grow up! He rolls over and faces the wall, prepared to go back to sleep.

First I feel shock. Why is he being so mean? Doesn't he understand that it doesn't matter that it was just a dream, that the feelings are still there, that it frightened me? Then I feel angry. He should be more understanding! My God, it felt real to me! Doesn't he see his lack of empathy has just proven to me that it might as well have been real because he obviously doesn't care!

And that thought brings it all home, and I feel even more alienated and alone and unloved, and I start crying all over again, hard sobs that hurt my chest and ribs and make me hiccup. These are not my normal tears. Boyfriend has long since learned the difference between my "you've hurt my feelings" tears, "I'm trying to make you feel bad so you give me what I want" tears, and "truly heartbroken, feel like my heart will explode from the pain" tears.

These are clearly the third kind, and Boyfriend feels bad. He rolls over, wraps me up in his arms. He's been under the covers, his skin is hot and warm and welcome. My skin is so icy cold I feel like I might never be warm again, and he feels safe and comforting. I forgive his cold reaction from minutes ago. It doesn't matter. He's comforting me now.

I sob and sob and try to explaining how bad it felt, and he murmurs sweet things in my ear that I don't listen to, but I like the way the feel on his lips. He lays me down and I curl into him, and eventually I cry myself to sleep feeling better.

The next morning I woke up while he was leaving for work. He kissed me goodbye, and I went back to sleep. I woke up and found a text message.

"I'm sorry I was so cold last night. I love you, and I'll never let you scream alone."

Sometimes, he knows how to fix it after he fucks up. Sometimes.

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