You know that feeling you have when you’ve woken up just before the best part of a dream? When you wake up right when _________ (fill in the blank) was leaning in to kiss you? Or just as the big secret was about to be revealed? That feeling that comes when you’ve been dreaming of a good life, A better one, you think in your dream, than my real one. A house in Italy, or somewhere on a beach, where there is good, beautiful food, and the air is diffuse with golden light. And when you awaken, to the sound of a child’s want or to the alarm clock, you have the sense that the intensity of the dream is still yours to keep, except now it lies just beyond your fingertips, or behind your eyelids, if you could just reach it or fall back asleep. If I could just fall back asleep… But it’s impossible to get it back.
Do you know that feeling?
And then–after you realize you’re well and fully awake–comes the disappointment and, along with it, the annoyance of having been interrupted in that moment, even though it wasn’t real. Maybe especially because it wasn’t real, since reality isn’t all that great. You mumble, “Yeah, okay honey, climb in here with Mommy,” or “Shit, it’s 6:30?” while inside you’re crying Josh Lucas was just about to kiss me! And you wake me up now? Or, The house, the beautiful little house, it was mine.
There are more frightening dreams, nightmares, but the ones that weigh me down lately are the ones in which I experience some sort of accomplishment or success, only to wake up to a reality that measures my success in these units: three meals a day, plus snacks, for my children; signed homework sheets; soothed feelings; and a house that isn’t littered with socks or Lego pieces.
I imagine some of you know that feeling, of a personal dream lost or out of reach, a purpose unfulfilled.
This feeling of loss or yearning comes in all sorts of forms, and I suppose we each pick our poison. Here’s the hell of it, though: Sometimes I wake up with it even when my sleep was deep and dreamless. Without a warning. No prologue or preamble. Today was one of those days.
It’s possible to just wake up with that sensation of heaviness and restlessness, at once. To feel both weighted down and edgy. Rooted or chained at my feet, but with nerves that feel as light and vulnerable as the fluff on a dandelion gone to seed. Like one gust of wind could strip me bare.
All day long, I couldn’t shake it. And I can’t explain it either, or name the source of it. Maybe I shouldn’t try to lose it just yet, in case something important is trying to emerge from the bedrock of my brain. But I hope I can shake it soon. It’s not easy company.
Neither am I.