I had a bad dream last night. I don’t remember too much about it, except that my late father was there and something about pie. It wasn’t great. Kind of scary, actually. This got me thinking about the dreams and nightmares that have never left me.
Here are my top seven:
7. Forest Island (Age 12): There’s this dense pine forest and a lake with an island. I need to get to the island but the only way is to cross this rickety bridge that disappears as I walk. Oh, and I’d be stranded forever if I do. This was such a vivid dream that when I woke up I drew it (see below).
6. The Purple Pants (Age 11): A few nights after a great aunt passed away IRL, I dreamt she was walking down the hall to my bedroom. I knew I was dreaming and that she was dead. And that she wanted me to get her nicer pair purple pants for heaven. Swish. Swish. Swish. It sounded like corduroy and burlap. Great Auntie kept scratching on my door trying to get me to wake up.
5. Dad Riding a Bike (Age 34): In the dream, my late father was riding a bike through my home town. He kept circling around me calling to me and telling me I was going to be late for the carnival. This action wasn’t scary, just the fact that I knew he was dead IRL.
4. The Witch’s Hand (Age 10): I was sitting on the front steps of the house I grew up in. A screechy scratchy sound made me look up and there was a giant freaking hand coming down the street-heading straight for me. Like Thing from the Adams family, but huge and wigglier and inky black. Just bumping along on its wrist-stump.
When it got closer, I realized it wasn’t one giant hand. It was 5,000 miniature witches stacked up on top of each other in hand-formation. I tried going back in to my house, but I was locked out.
The miniature witches dropped out of formation and surrounded me, pressing into my legs. They were scared. Something was chasing them. They needed to hide in my house.
3. Where’s Mom? (Age 35): IRL I was technically awake but couldn’t shake the feeling that my mom was supposed to be staying with us here in South Carolina. I called for my husband and wanted to know where she was but my husband kept telling (IRL!) me she was back at her house in Buffalo. What he actually said was ‘she’s not here’ and I was certain he meant she’d died too. Then, I sort of snapped out of it and realized I’d been wake-dreaming (night tremor I think it’s called?).
2. The Stairwell (Ages 7, 14, 22, 23, 27, 29, 32, and 35): So this recurring gem has me walking up and down and up and down this steep rickety stairwell that starts on a cliff and ends on a beach. Granted, there’s different people from my life each time, but the location never changes. And there’s landings every few hundred steps with pictures of me nailed into the floor.
1. Too Early (Age 17, 25, and 33): This is the worst. In this recurring dream I’m way too early to everything (summer camp, school, job) and by the time it actually time to be there, I’ve been absorbed by the space (trees, classroom, office) and but I can still hear and see everything. I just can’t communicate with anyone.
While some of the issues these nightmares touch on are obvious: grief, fear of abandonment, my mortality, I still want to know what the hell was chasing the Witches’ Hand.