I’m a fan of things that we in this house refer to as “woo woo,” just as long as they don’t get too close and personal. It’s all well and good to watch Ghost Hunters or Ghost Whisperer or whatever on TV – but I don’t want to wake up in the morning and accidentally step in a puddle of ectoplasmic goo on my way to the coffee pot. Not in my bare feet, thank you. Not before I’m caffeinated.
Okay – really just not ever. I’d much prefer to get the little shivers of distant fear by listening to a ghost story without ever encountering the ghost.
The same thing goes for dreams. I enjoy dreaming for the most part, although those dreams where all of my teeth fall out, or I’ve inexplicably gained a hundred pounds, lost all my hair, and find myself walking around naked in a public place because somehow it didn’t seem important to get dressed before leaving the house – those I could do without. I would also cheerfully skip the nightmares, not that I have many these days. Because one thing about dreams is this – even when I know it was just a dream, the experience of the dream stays with me as part of memory and reality. The fear remains, or the ecstasy. I know how it feels to fly, thanks to dreams, and I’m not likely ever to forget.
When I was a little girl, no more than 4 or 5, I’d guess, something happened that scared me for years afterward.
I was lying snug in bed with my stuffed dog, when a rhythmic thudding, drumming sound started. A little man appeared – no more than six inches tall – wearing a suit and a top hat. He began to walk the winding circle of the rag rug on my floor, moving in time to the drumming sound. That was it – nothing threatening on the surface of things. He didn’t threaten me, didn’t even look at me; he was intent on his marching. And yet I was terrified. I tried to tell my mother about it, and then my older brother. They told me I’d been dreaming.
But I wasn’t dreaming, I was sure of it. In retrospect, I think that is why I was frightened. In a dream, a small man marching around on your rag rug might be funny or just a curiosity. But a creature of dream made real was a terror that lived with me for years.
Logic finally dictated that since little men do not exist in the adult world, it follows that this event must have been a dream. And yet, somewhere deep inside where my wide-eyed inner child still looks out into a world filled with mystery, I believe that this was no dream. No matter what anybody says, no matter what I know as an adult to be true, my child self believes with unshakeable faith that this thing really happened, just as she knows that she could fly, if only she remembered the knack.
And who am I to argue with a child?
Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real you found yourself doubting that it was a dream?