For decades I flourished on four to five hours of sleep a night, and in spite of the relatively short snooze, usually awoke refreshed and cheerful—jacked-up to meet the day. YETHIR! Besides, it annoyed me to hear experts say I had to spend one-third of my short life in a condition of unconsciousness. I figured my brief, but peaceful and restful, slumber was due to a high amount of Stage 3 (or Rapid Eye Movement) sleep—that’s the most restful state. My assumption was based on the theory that I dreamed (multiple times) every night, which only happens during REM. Then about a year ago I read an article suggesting that the human body requires seven to nine hours of nightly rest for maximum health benefits and longer life. Well, being one interested in both of those advantages, I began taking a substance called diphenhydramine before retiring, and sure enough, have since received at least a solid seven hours of sleep every night. |
Aside: Diphenhydramine is a non-habit forming chemical that scientists discovered combats the effects of seasickness and anaphylactic shock. The serendipitous benefit is that the substance also helps one sleep longer and more peacefully.
Since taking the chemical, my dreams while 99-percent pleasant, have taken on a different nuance. Before my chemically induced slumber, my reverie was full of goofy, nonsensical content of which I was always involved (as the featured “star”), but my recall except for one time was practically nil. That exception was a graphic trip to Hell, which began pleasantly and ended horribly. I mean, how could it not? I chronicled the experience as a chapter in a 2010 work of fiction (Because who’d believe it?) entitled, "Songs From Lattys Grove" (available on amazon.com in either hard copy or eBook).
Here’s the difference: Since taking a shot of the magic purple liquid before retiring, my recall of details remains poor, but often the dreams DO NOT feature me. (Wha…???) Instead they unfold before me like a story with a cast of characters I’ve never seen before in my life. Some are mysteries, others are adventures, but like before, I only have total recall of one recent dream—an improbable love story. What makes that particular night vision more strange is that it features me looking into the dream of one of the players—a dream within a dream. As weird as that may seem, those who know me would sigh and say it’s typical of my quirkiness and my ability to think sideways. What I mean by sideways thinking is that I believe in parallel universes. Ever think you’re catching a glimpse of another person out of the corner of your eye, and upon looking see nothing? I think that’s a person in a parallel universe. (They’re coming to take me away, hee-hee, ha-ha, ho-ho…)
Let’s see what you think of this dream. I do not recall the names nor the ages of the “cast”, but believe he is twenty years her senior; perhaps in his forties. Likewise, I do not know their specific time periods, but it seemed she lived, say, 200 years prior to him. Anyway, it all began somewhere in the USA when he found a French photographic book at a used book store. Out of curiosity—only that and nothing more—he absently flipped through the pages until it stopped where his right thumb rested. The grainy, black-and-white photo was entitled "Dansez Vous", and it depicted a young ballerina at the barre in a relaxed pose staring intently into the camera. Her lips were slightly parted, her hair was down; and looked to be jet-black. She did not have the slender build of a typical dancer, but was athletic bordering on powerful. He was immediately captivated by her eyes and inscrutable expression understanding at once that it was the visage of a “dream girl” he had carried with him for years. It was like the eyes peered into his very soul. He caught his breath, purchased the book, took it home, and in the privacy of his den gazed at the image for hours trying to understand the meaning—if there was one.
Later he fixed a strong nightcap, watched the late news, and closed the book without marking the page of his mysterious dancer. He retired for the evening still wondering about the significance of the photograph. Sometime in the night she came to him in a dream and spoke to him in soft, sensual French. Her voice was musical. Oddly, he understood every word though he didn’t know her language. (Author’s Note: Maybe that’s because I do.) They spoke through the night, and before he woke declared their timeless love for each other. She said she had been waiting over a century for him. He replied he had always longed for her, seeing her image in his mind’s eye. I wish I could remember the specific dialog. As I recall it was very poignant.
When he awoke and couldn’t make any logical sense of “the visit”, he went to his den to look once more at the book. Though he remembered closing it, the book was open to the page of the photograph, "Dansez Vous". Except now her expression had changed into a playful smile. Shocked, he took the day off, and talked ceaselessly to the photo, willing her to appear either in the flesh or during a nap. Unsuccessful and exhausted at the end of the day, he closed the book and retired once again waiting for her to appear in his reverie. She did not materialize either that night or the next. He gave up hope and chalked-up the experience to alcohol and an overactive imagination. When he opened the book to her page the playful smile was gone. More tricks of the mind…
A month later (don’t know why I know that), she entered his dream world once again and they talked through the night making plans to be together. They searched for a time portal for either of them to be transferred to the other’s era and place, but their only accomplishments were failure and frustration. Finally, she kissed him before fading and whispering, “Adieu.” He knew what that word meant—that he wouldn’t see her again until his life was over—and cried the tears of a thousand good-byes. He uttered a mournful verse…
Once I had a dream / You were sent from God to me / But it wasn’t meant to be / Now I’m all alone / Will you return to me / When I reach my final sleep / And dream my final dream?
She answered: Nous ne fesons qu’un (we are as one), dansons ensemble en rhythm (dancing together in time).
That was the ONE dream I recalled from my recent chemically-induced sleep habit. Certainly that fantasy was more pleasant than the other I recalled, which ended up with me screaming into an endless abyss with a legion of other damned souls. On the other hand, it was not satisfying either. I mean, what-the-heck? Was he supposed to wait for a reward somewhere down at the end of the line? Was he supposed to deny himself the chance of finding another love during his lifetime? Was he supposed to assume this dream lover was to be his great and only passion? WHAT??? Maybe someday I’ll receive another episode. Stay tuned…
Copyright 2016 by Gene Myers author, speaker, and all-around good egg (among other things of ill-repute).
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