I had a dream the other night, a dream that I cannot shake or release or explain.
It was in the week between Christmas and New Years. My routine was gone; I was away from school, without predictable demands. We had been visiting, celebrating, eating and drinking too much. For me, sleep had been elusive.
I had been up and down at least three times since I had first gone to bed. The night was trailing off, but dawn was still a while away. After getting a cold drink of water, petting Tucker, and looking out the window at the empty, moonlit yard, I took myself wearily back to bed. Too hot under the covers, icy and shivering on top of them, I curled into a ball and tried to focus on a calming image. The ocean, a hot summer day, the waves crashing and retreating over and over again. I held tight to the feelings of warmth and peace, and slowly drifted into sleep.
And I dreamed.
I was walking on a winding, wooded path. It was windy, and I think that the sky was cloudy, although it was hard to tell. The air was dark, and I had a sense of rain or humidity, as if a storm were brewing. I kept going along the rocky path, but I was nervous.
As I walked, I could see groups of people also moving through the woods, on either side of me. I couldn’t make them out, but I suddenly had the realization that I was searching for someone, and that it was vital for me to find that person. My pace increased, along with my fear. The trees grew darker and closer to me as the path wound in and out, and up and down over rocks and fallen timbers.
I kept searching, feeling more and more pressure to locate that missing someone. I almost felt as if I had started to run; my heart was hammering and my throat was dry. I heard a sob, and realized that it was me.
I ran, on and on; I kept looking from left to right, through the branches on either side of me, sobbing and stumbling and searching, searching, searching.
Then the light changed, and it was morning. In the distance, far ahead of me, I could see women moving in and out of the golden light. I started to cry; it was so incredibly sad! They were holding babies, wrapped in soft, silken blankets. I could hear the babies crying, and the women comforting them. I could smell their milky, powdery hair, and the sweetness of their breath.
I kept running, but I moved more and more slowly, my limbs were heavier with each step. I felt the tears on my face and the pain in my heart. I was searching, but I couldn’t find my babies. I couldn’t get to them no matter how hard I struggled.
I woke up, soaked with sweat and holding back tears in my aching throat. The dawn was just breaking. The babies were gone.