Nightmares CAN Come True

As a kid I was used to having nightmares. I had nightmares all the time. I never even knew what a ‘wish fulfillment’ dream was until I was about fourteen and read up on them – part of the psychology training that my dad was giving me.

Every dream I’ve ever had was a nightmare in some way, up until I was about forty-eight or so. Every last one featured the same old things: death, wars, loss. Loss of one’s loved ones, mostly – after I’d gotten to where I loved them. “The Boy” comes from a dream like that – and in a way you can say it really happened. A ‘life long’ dream that finally came true. I can finally love my inner child, my ‘selves’, that ‘stuff’.

But one in particular stands out. It was the first major reoccurring dream I had. I’ve had several reoccurring dreams – one three nights in a row! You know what that means: it’s supposed to come true. But it didn’t, fortunately. It was one in which I was trapped . . . in an underground stone maze with a friend, and we kept getting killed by these Spaniards dressed in ancient armor. And we’d ‘sit’ and watch our bodies decompose . . . completely down to bone – and then we’d build it back again – and the chase was one. Over and over again, on through the night . . .

I almost felt comfortable with it in the end, feeling myself die at pike’s end – sinking to the mouldering floor, my friend perhaps besides me, or sometimes fighting on . . .

We’d wander those halls, looking for a way out. And there was never one. But it was beautiful in some ways – those old mossy stones – round cutouts above to let the golden white light in, until we’d stumble across the Spaniards, or they would come pursuing us. And then the race was on.

We always lost in the end.

Three times running we had that dream – it was when I was about sixteen. Weird thing it was.

But sometimes dreams – and even nightmares – come true. I’ve had several of them.

The very first one was when I was a kid living over in Germany. We’d been there a total of two years, with another year of running from base to base – meeting kids, abandoning them – or them abandoning us as the Army orders came in; mixing with various societies and cultures . . .

It led to a lot of . . . I don’t know.

Things, I call them.

And one of them was this dream.

In it we had come back to the ‘hood – the object of my hidden desire: to be once again where my true friends did not change, where the neighborhood and everything in it would remain the same. The same dirt road with the same people living up and down it, pretty much as I had left it . . .

But I guess inside my mind ‘someone’ knew . . .

We are standing on the dirt road, looking uphill towards the horizon. It is jagged and pointed with the tops of pine trees, their individual forms hidden in darkness. Our friend comes riding down the road – and lo and behold, it’s our very best friend from when we were a child!

We open our arms to him (feeling somewhat confused now; he’s bigger and his face is broader, and he’s riding a motorcycle, not a bicycle). He stops and looks at me.

He knows who I am – but does not care. He is not the same kid anymore. He doesn’t even live here (and he won’t; they moved soon after us due to a death in their family). He stares. I say “Hey.” He says “Hey,” back.

We are two total strangers.

Same dream, different time: the houses have all changed. Some of them have been built up into huger houses. The road is paved. Everything and everyone I know is gone. Everything seems busy, the yards are all fenced. You can’t walk on the road for the traffic. Crime is high.

In every one I feel that overwhelming sense of loss. “Here” keeps on changing – and I’m sure it will (‘here’ being Germany when I was thirteen), and yet there seems so unstable in my mind . . .

Could it really be true? I started wondering. (This is “13” here.) I could feel my inner child; the inner one: Little Michael & Little Mikie – moving in me, wondering, too, at the dreams I was having.

I went and asked my dad.

He said don’t worry about them. And I didn’t. Or at least I tried not to.

A few days later – or it might have been a few weeks later – I asked my mom.

“Sure,” she said. She was in the kitchen looking around for something, I think it was lunchtime or so. “Everything changes.” She turned around looking at me directly. There was a firmness in her mouth; the lines.

“You mean it won’t all be the same?” I could hear my inner child asking me and so I asked.

“No, of course not,” she replied, turning back to the counter messing with something. There was a large transformer on the counter. It powered the skillet from the German electricity voltage, which was set too high for our appliances. It started to give a big hum. I knew if you lifted it and dropped it a bit – not much! -it would stop humming. Usually. I ignored it and turned back to my mom and my ‘stuff’.

“You know the next door neighbors have left,” she pointed out. “Their momma got remarried not long after we left. And the Smiths are here in Germany.” They were the ‘other’ military family in the hood. There were just the two of us: us and them. The rest had regular dads that came home lots of times; ours didn’t. Sometimes he’d be gone for a loonngg time and we’d have to write letters to him. Sometimes those letters took six weeks to arrive, and just as long to get back. It was the same thing ‘overseas’ – all those letters we’d written took six weeks to ‘get there’ – and get sorted out – and then another six weeks for them to be sent ‘slow ship’ back. Even airmail was slow back then. And phone home? Just forget it. One phone for thousands of people – you had to schedule that stuff.

I wondered about it, what it would be like back home – if we did come back and find it all changed. I wondered a lot as the time grew closer – as November moved in and we were in our last year and ‘stuff’. Having just lost our best friend . . .

In our mind’s eye we started seeing: this was a dream that could come true, this nightmare and ‘stuff’ – meaning the feelings and horrid emotions that went with loss, grief, anguish, loneliness – and this staring-you-in-the-face despair that no matter what you do you will flounder in loss.

And yet our inner child held onto that dream – still does; I can see it in his shining face with his memories of sunshine and running into the wind across the white sand, the cloud puffed sky blue, the sun warm on his back, and the excited calling of his friends ahead; bare feet pounding on the road . . .

He had hoped and hoped that when ‘we’ came back and he came back he could get rid of this thing: all of these ‘false feelings’ and things which did not belong in the ‘hood. That he could shed those parts; shed those feelings – go back.

But as the old saying goes: There is no going back home. It’s never the same as you left it. It always has changed – gotten smaller, or more dismal, or even more depressing. Or it may be that it’s been built up so that you can hardly recognize the thing – all the old houses may even be gone, or so built up and altered you can’t tell a thing: you have to find your address by the number, and not the appearance of the yard and house.

The house may even be gone, and you find yourself staring at an empty field – one that’s soon to become a parking lot and a shopping outlet . . .

We’ve faced those kinds of things. All too many times in our lives. Moving is good: it changes your experiences, expands your mind, develops different outlooks, understanding, and tolerance. You make new friends (but you also might lose old ones), you find new jobs, new hobbies, new occupations . . .

But meanwhile a part of you in the heart of you keeps on calling for his forgotten childhood.

The one you left behind.


Some notes here; things ‘I’ (my adult sides) find interesting.

(Part 1 of what you could call a ‘Dream Journal’. 

I know my nightmares started early with the 2nd dream I ever remember having.  I couldn’t have been more than four years old.  That’s assuming my 1st dream was a dream not a religious experience.

This dream did come true, by the way.  When we got back ALL my best friends were gone.  There remained only the four kids from ‘next door’ across the road, and one was a very young daughter who, with three rough boys around, was a tiny terror to begin with.  (She’s still quite high spirited.)  The road had been paved. No longer the sand ditches to stand in and wade during the middle of summer, pumping our legs up and down in the cool sand until we sank, knee deep in the stuff. Parents and kids would get a laugh driving by – there’d be four or five us ‘standing’ in the sand like dwarfs, smiling and waving.

All that was gone.  The PEOPLE were gone.  Our friends, the Smiths, were still overseas – and wouldn’t be back for years.  People no longer leisurely drove by and waved.  “Our House” was ‘gone‘, my parents having sold it while we were overseas – and so we moved into my molester’s house – where the septic tank had to be drained before they could use it.  When they pulled the lid it was full of pink condoms, a thick skin, so much that the sewer men were laughing and pointing and giving knowing winks to my parents.  My parents were embarrassed, and I stared out the window (to avoid the stink), also embarrassed, because I had learned about this thing, ‘condoms’, while we’d been gone, and what they were used for – and thinking about ‘him’ and what he did . . . that love, that betrayal.  And where he had gone, my best friend, his younger brother . . . the all of them.  Gone.

And the future to be was dim at best.  At times I could see it turning dark as hell.  A thunderstorm was approaching, approaching in my mind. . . .

And yes, I did see my friend – and it was almost exactly as my mind had said.  Almost down to the last detail.  Except the sky was cloudy, gray.  And he drove off . . . sputtering away, then roaring on that old dirt bike of his, engine roaring . . . I never saw him again until much, much later.

Somehow a part of my mind – I don’t know. Was it trying to prepare me for this? Warning me – or trying to warn – the inner child? (again, I am “13”, or at least a part of me is; part of the adults are doing the typing; though I’ve learned since 7th grade . . . sighing).  We had just lost our best friend; gotta girlfriend, knowing we were going to dump her in a while, within a period of a few months (overseas).  She knew it and so did I.  The relationship was formed because we were bored, I guess . . . just a last something to do, and try to assuage the hurting in my heart . . .

Yeah, I’m depressed. I (“13”) am still sorta ‘stuck’ on this thing – and “the Teen” I built with the alternate personality “The Machine” (tough armor) around him. But it kept him “too much inside” shielded against his own emotions . . .

However, that changed the day The Machine Broke Down.

I’ll save that story for another day.

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