I dream. We all do. Some people remember their dreams and some don’t. I always remember mine. I dream often. I dream lucidly at times. Others, I dream I fly through unknown areas only to visit those places years later and find out that I already knew about them. I know what it lies at the end of the road, I know what I would find when I turn a corner. Some call it astral traveling or astral projection. Some say simply that our minds (some minds at least) work faster than we can perceive, so it conceives of places, locations, and situations before you are actually there. And hence when you get to that crossroads in your life, you have the sensation of Déjà vu.
I don’t call it anything. I am just there for the ride. For the most part, I enjoy my dreams.
When I was a child, and over different periods of my life, I had recurrent dreams. Dreams that would be the same over and over. I thought about them carefully because they will always be the same. Eventually, I came to the understanding that there was something missing in my life, like a piece of information or knowledge that I was missing. Or perhaps that there was some misdeed I had to make my peace with; apologize, that is. Other times there was some family secret I should know about. A missing piece of the puzzle that is the story of my life and my family.
I understand dreams to be weird projections of our subconsciousness. It projects our fears and hopes. Our despair, our ambitions. Dreams are a projection of our soul.
Many years ago I read an article that featured a doctor that was mowing his lawn. He accidentally ran over his dog’s leg and cut it off. Instead of taking the poor creature to the vet, the doctor ran over the animal a few more times and severed all his limbs. The article clearly featured an image of the poor dog just laying on the ground with no legs. Probably in terrible pain.
Sometimes I dream that happens to Misha. That I accidentally run over her with my own lawn mower, or that some evil person does it to her.
Other times is my cat, Buffy, that comes home with her tail cut off with scissors of her face half hanging off her jaw due to a fight.
Even stranger, are my dreams about my fishes. We keep the tank clean and healthy. The pH in the water, the right temperature, the appropriate chemicals. But every once in a while they die. They sink to the bottom of the tank and get entangled with some weed or another. If I don’t remove them on time, the other fishes will devour the remains.
But in my dreams, they have a different way to die. I wake up to switch the light on and feed them in the morning, only to find them all dead, but floating at the top of the tank, right at the edge of the water level. I often wonder why, though. I mean, consciously I know for a fact that fishes sink when they die, but I have no clue why my mind projects them dead and floating, lying sideways.
I am not stupid (I know, I know, that is debatable). I am fully aware that my dreams are the projection of my worst fears when it comes to my pets. I love them deeply. I love them more than I love most humans; with the exception of my husband, perhaps.
It is not often that I dream about people. Mostly is strange places bathed in silvery moonlight. When I do dream of people, they are usually strangers. People I have never met in my life. For the most part, I tend to not remember people’s names. But I put that to the fact that I don’t care enough about people to make an effort. However, is a different story when it comes to faces. I never forget a face. Sometimes I can’t place them or recall where I have seen them, but if I have, I always know that is a face I have seen before.
This year has been a strange one when it comes to dreams. I have been dreaming about my mother often. My mother died in 2015. She was very sick. And for a few days, she was in the hospital. I was living in Slovakia at the time and, during the winter months, there were only 3 flights a week from my nearest location to Alicante. I jumped on a flight at the first opportunity. But mother didn’t last. She died as I was flying over Europe. I got to the airport nearing two o’clock in the morning. My uncle picked me up and told me the news. We buried her at 7am.
At the funeral home, during mass, I clung to her closed casket and cried until I was led away by my uncle and my brother. I remember I had a strong urge to kick it into the floor and watch my mother’s corpse spring from the casket and into the ground.
Don’t get me wrong, there was never any great love between my mother and I. I was the child she never wanted and I, in turn, despised her for her many weaknesses…
I didn’t grow up in a happy household. My mum would drink and beat me up and do terrible things to their children. I have no memories of my mother hugging me or kissing me, or even asking me if I had a good day. We were never allowed on school trips that lasted more than a day and, even for a stay-at-home mum, she didn’t care enough even to join school meetings whenever there was one. In fact, in all my years of education, she only came to one. Her answer after it was: “if your teacher asks for me again, tell him I am dead.” In fairness the particular teacher was an asshole, but still.
There are many things I could say about my mother. That she would leave her children alone for weeks at the time and go with her husband on lorry trips for his work across Europe, and that we were left to feed, cloth, bath ourselves and be responsible enough to go to school. I could write about us growing up alone, mother and I since I was fourteen years old and my parents divorced, and my working two jobs to support the two of us. I could write a lot and often, but it doesn’t matter. I wasn’t a good daughter either. Not the perfect model one you see on television.
It doesn’t matter how flawless she was because, at the end of the day, she was the only mother I had and the only thing I know as a parent.
She died in 2015 and for the first month, I couldn’t sleep. I would be fine one minute and the next, I will cry myself into oblivion. Uncontrollable sobs that would shake my whole body and leave me exhausted. But still, I couldn’t sleep. For a month I lived in a perpetual state of dizziness. The bright world around me looked like it lost a shade or two. Everything seemed a copy, of a copy, of a copy… Valerian tea eventually did the trick.
The strange thing is that, with the exception of when I was a very small child of 3 or 4, I have never had dreams of my mother until this year. Not when she died, not in the following years. Only now, four years later.
The dreams are always confusing. It is always the two of us back in the old kitchen of our farmhouse. Except that all the furnishings are gone, and is just a white-tiled room with her and myself. We aren’t talking. It is mostly me screaming at her. But I always end up beating her. I mean, not a slap or anything, I beat her up. I punch her in the stomach repeatedly. I hit every part of her body I can reach. I hurt her badly and I don’t know why.
I am not a violent person. I never have been. There had been only two instances in my life in which I lost my temper. Once, at fifteen, I kicked a girl in the chest (just the one time) from a standing position after months of bullying from her and her gang of friends. The second time I was sixteen. I was on a break from work. I worked in a restaurant back then and I was having a cigarette outside with one of the chefs. Another waiter came uninvited to our conversation. Then he called me a whore, so I slapped him in the face with all the might I could muster.
The most fucked up part of those dreams is waking up. I wake up exhausted as if I had actually punched her. Sometimes I wake up to find wet tears all over my face as if I had been crying in my sleep while I was punching her. But the worst part is this: I wake up feeling relieved and happy. Like if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I wake up with new energy and positivity as if nothing in the world could hurt me. I wake up and my soul is filled with light. A kind of white light that takes over my being and makes me explode with happiness.
But then I remember why and I feel like I am a terrible human being. Why I am so exultant and exuberant after beating my own mother in a dream? Why I am so happy about it? The truth is, that is an overwhelming type of happiness. It takes over me so much that even my own efforts to gloom myself down don’t seem to take hold over all the joy I feel after I wake up.
And I wonder why. I mean, are the beatings a literal payback for all the beatings I had as a child? Or are they a metaphor for stomping the daemons that hunt my soul?
The truth is that when I wake up, not only I am filled with happiness and joy after what I have done, but there a sense of forgiveness. It no longer matters what she did or didn’t do because it seems that as soon as I wake up, all that is washed away, gone. Relegated to the past of painful memories, but no longer able to hurt or haunt me.
Is it all a weird metaphor for forgiveness? Am I Kafka’s monster?
Perhaps one day I’ll dream of electric sheep. Or maybe I’ll dream that I am a real girl.