Wish this were a dream — but no, it isn’t.

Stress dream #1 — wake with heart pounding, short of breath.

Was watching a sketch comedy video… think Key & Peele, CollegeHumor, MadTV. Except add as much racism, homophobia, poop jokes, and lazy attempts at being “funny” by being as crude and “shocking” and “edgy” as possible. I’m ashamed to even mention much detail, but the basic premise was President Obama fucking Rush Limbaugh in the ass. It was really offensive. Don’t know where my subconscious came up with this, but I didn’t like it at all. Seriously, what the fuck, brain?!

Finally got back to sleep — I’d only had about 4 and a half hours of rest at that point.

Stress dream #2 — wake again with heart pounding, short of breath.

Face to face with my dad. My mom was there, off to the side. I knew something was wrong, but wasn’t sure what. I think I was somehow living there at their place…

My dad asks me “is your collar up?” in an accusatory tone.

“I don’t understand. What do you mean?” I ask.

“Your collar,” he repeats, as though he had been perfectly clear the first time, and was rapidly losing patience with what must be my stupidity, “do you have it. Is it in your possession. Are you aware of its location. Am I making myself clear yet?!”

“Yes. It’s in my purse.”

“Destroy it. Cut it up into tiny pieces. Now,” he orders.

Adrenaline flowing, I meekly shake my head, and stammer, “N-no… it was a gift, it… it was hand-made for me by, by someone I used to kn-know, it’s special. I won’t. I won’t ruin it.”

“Good,” he laughs, “I thought you’d make that mistake!” He advances towards me, and starts slapping my face — rapid, back-and-forth, mixing light with full-force blows from his open hand. My mom is still there watching, and giggling with amusement — immensely enjoying the spectacle.

I begin to cry, which seems to encourage him; he only lands the hardest blows now. I don’t even try to move, don’t make any attempt to get away.

And then I wake up.

And in real life, there’s the neighbor’s dog barking, as it does at all hours of the day and night, there’s the ka-chack, ka-chack, ka-chack of the staple gun from the house being built up the road, there’s the loud neighbors on their patio yelling at each other, and there’s The Rabbit and her spouse (who I’ve come to call Queen of the Universe or QotU for short — everything here revolves around her wants and needs and schedule) yakking in the next room, interrupted repeatedly by the phone ringing — which actually is the aggregate cacophony of at least three different phone ringers at full volume because even though they have an answering machine, they refuse to ever let it be used. There is a panicked rush stomping up or down stairs, through the halls, to grab one of the cordless receivers (total of three which get left randomly around the house) or one of the wall phones (one in the office next to the room I’m in, one in the kitchen.) Each of the wall phones has its own ringer, which can be heard anywhere in this building, and the set of cordless phones also has a loud digital bleeping.

So, from heart-pounding stress dream to heart-pounding reality with no break, no respite, no chance to breathe. I hate this place. I hate this place. I hate this place.

My old friend! I’ve come to talk.

Sleep, like little slices of death
I don’t want the whole cake — way more than I could possibly handle —
But a larger serving to begin with might be nice.
The little friendly helper from the bottle
Pulls me gentle but firm
Insistent but kind
And as I close my eyes
Welcome the cold embrace
Of the darkness…
I finally find a hint of a smile.

Goodnight.

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