Over the years, I've had a reoccurring dream that makes me startle awake in the middle of the night -
that makes my heart pound faster than the beat of a Shaman's drum.
In my dream, I am underwater.
I've never been a particularly good swimmer in life, but in my dream, I float effortlessly under dark waves. Everything is dark, perhaps it's nighttime above the surface.
Most of all, I am scared.
Wherever I turn my head, I see nothing but darkness. I look down and see an abyss. I look up and see the possibility of escaping, but my heavy body can't move.
I'm suspended in space - looking to my left and my right, extremely aware that something is coming and I cannot see it.
I don't know what it is but I am deeply afraid. I can't get away, can't swim to the surface, and cannot see anything. It's getting closer.
It's going to devour me whole.
And when I'm almost to the brink of insanity because of my fear, I suddenly realize that I can't breathe -
I've been in this godforsaken water for so long that my lungs have begun to strain from oxygen's absence.
What can I do?
I have nowhere to go, no way to breathe. The hidden danger is coming closer, possibly circling somewhere beneath me, and everything is getting darker. I'm tired. It's as if exhaustion is pulling me down further, whispering to me that it's okay if I want to fall asleep.
I want to fall asleep, I really do -
maybe it would be a better fate than the one I would be faced with if I were to stay awake and deal with the monster that's lurking in the darkness.
Just fall asleep, leave what's unimportant behind -
you'll finally have some peace and quiet, won't you?
Either way, I'm faced with an inevitable choice.
And in my dream, I choose to leave it behind -
I hesitantly open my mouth and begin to choke and sputter when water fills my lungs and burns, burns, burns me up to the brim.
I am burning, burning, burning from the inside out - tears would be streaming my face if the ocean hadn't decided to steal them away and tuck them into its pocket for safekeeping.
I guess this is death, but all I know is that I am grateful -
my eyes close against my own accord -
and I never have to see the terrifying thing that wanted me as its prey.
I feel saved -
except when I wake up and my pillow really is soaked with tears, and I still cannot breathe properly, and my heart feels as if it's burning up, and I am still surrounded by darkness.
Nobody wins - especially you.