I woke up all at once and sat bolt upright in bed. Sweat poured off my forehead in thin rivulets that followed the contours of my face. My skin felt cold against the unsatisfactorily heated air. I looked at the clock, 2:35 glared at me, the digital numbers harsh to my sleep deprived eyes. It was the dream again, the same one that had been returning night after night for almost a week, distorting my sleep patterns and making my tottering life miserable. Normally I rarely dreamed, and when I did it was standard fare, nothing particularly memorable or bizarre. I actually used to feel a little jealous when my friends would recount crazy stories of three headed unicorns reading The Grapes of Wrath while hippos smoked cigarettes and waited for taxis.
Now I was having a bizarre dream of my own and I didn't feel up to telling anyone about it. There were a lot of reasons for this I guess, but mostly it was the nearly overwhelming sense, sometimes for hours after the dream was over, that I was supposed to do something as a result of the dream. The dream itself wasn't disturbing, it was a little boring. But once I woke, once the anxiety began to rise, it was clear that this particular brain concoction wasn't just the psychic pipes giving themselves a cleaning. There was expectancy; innuendo. And maybe, just a hint of menace.
I had no idea what I was supposed to do, but whatever it was, while I wasn't doing it I felt the way I had as a kid, sitting on the sofa watching television or reading a book while I was supposed to be emptying the dishwasher or mowing the lawn. I felt as if any moment my Mother would start yelling at me to go do something productive.
My feet swung to the floor and I rubbed the palms of my hands against my eyes. Small white lights danced merrily in the darkness from the pressure of my palms. I thought about how we can never see the insides of our eyelids even though we look at them more than any other thing. The only way to see your eyelid is to put a light really close. Then, if you hold it just right, you can see the blood vessels that run under the skin. Dreams too, come from the darkness that lies behind our eyelids. And God, sometimes he comes from behind there too. And when he does, the questions suddenly become more difficult than the answers.
I padded off toward the bathroom, nearly tripping over the half invisible form of my black lab Misha who was lying curled up on the floor, probably plotting how to take over the entire bed and the comforter in a single move. It was only a brief glimmer of green from her eyes that alerted me. They had probably been open and watching me since the moment I woke up. I lunged uncontrollably in another direction, so as to avoid squashing her. As seems to be unwritten law, my foot managed to find some unidentified, but painfully sharp object on the floor, which threw me further off balance. I finally crashed onto the floor in a heap, arms akimbo. I lay there, looking at the back of my eyelids, chuckling softly to keep from getting really pissed off.