Irony of an Imbecile

I have a recurring dream. It’s a perilous trance fraught with horrible imagery and punitive repetition. It’s changed some over the years. The plotline remains intact, but a new cast of characters has been added to this woeful despondency.

It started with a rattle, then a boy. Followed, the girl in a tub. Then another girl, this one suspended by a rope. There was the man in the garage, the lady on the bed and then there are those whom I’d rather not discuss just now…

In the dream I am rushing to save someone. I run from room to room with an everchanging cast of characters. It plays out like that until I come to a doorway that’s half closed. I know someone inside needs my help, so I throw my shoulder against the door and invade my way through. There, on the floor of a bathroom lies a woman. She is on her side and she is not breathing. I kneel beside and with one hand, place my fingers to her neck to check for a pulse – it’s absent – and with the other, I reach for the airway kit needed to intubate someone. When I return my gaze to the woman on the floor, I become paralyzed by a shackle of fear and dismay. This figure, this woman, the woman on the floor has become my mother. All of what was familiar about her in life has transposed itself atop of a dead woman. I work feverishly and tirelessly to get my arms moving, but they move as if to be immersed within water.

Panic sets in, I begin to scream, wail, lament and cry;

“NO!!! MUM!!!!!”

She begins to slip away from me. Further and further she disappears into the unknown. I beg my body to move, to follow her, but it remains still and cemented in place. I watch as she fades to black. When I wake, the darkness has become the shadow of night that blankets the inside of my apartment. I am breathing heavily and frightfully. It feels as though I had just spent hours trying to save the damned all with the culmination of watching my mother die just beyond the reach of my finger tips…

I am crying when I wake. Sweat greets tears and sorrow meets with loneliness. A terrible congress.

The theme of the dream is suicide. Each of the partaking ghouls are images of people I really have tried to save – tried, and failed. I was never with my mum when she died. I have however since learned of how and where she was found. I have even seen pictures of the place she once lay. And as a man who possesses both a sinisterly aching mind and a wealth of experience with the dead, dying and gone, I have all the tools I need to fabricate that final resting place into sequence of dream. Not wittingly, of course, but all the same…


My elbow is sore. Anyone who has done CPR with any repetition over some years will likely attest to that familiar ache of a locked elbow joint. That, coupled with the fact that I had dislocated my elbow when carrying the heft of a dying man down a spiraling set of apartment stairs. If I’m honest, everything hurts. My body is rigid and stiff when I dream. I was once told by a woman who shared a bed with me that it seemed like I was having a seizure while crying and moaning horribly. I’ve never seen myself dream, but it sounds awful. Awful enough to end a relationship anyway…

I hate this dream. I hated it when it was just the boy and I detest it now that he brings others back from the dead with him. I am dejected that it is my mind that so casually chooses to betray me. Sleep is something most people look forward to – for me, sleep is something I have to convince myself to do… I never know what lurks behind the curtains of my eyes.

When awake and fresh from this nightmare, I am burdened by thoughts of those I could not save. I see their faces in remarkable detail. I smell their apartments, I hear their pill bottles and liquor bottles too. I can see a line or two from each of their handwritten suicide notes. Sullen tales written with finality. No surprise, but my mum’s is the most clear.

The world feels pretty damn big and empty on nights like these, the nights this dream comes to me. Martin Luther had a dream, a beautiful dream. I wish mine were beautiful too. I want to scream, but I reside within an apartment, so I cannot. But my keyboard will confirm my rage. My words will tell of my sadness.

Back when I was with, Ashley, and these nights transpired, I would start by apologizing profusely for waking her. I would then continue that apology when we had to change the sweat soaked sheets in the middle of the night. An inconvenience for a woman who had to be at work in the morning. I still feel bad for that. When she wasn’t angry, sometimes she would dance her finger along the skin of my back, like soothing a baby. She would orate softly, “shhh, go to sleep…” and I would try. Well, I would make her feel as though I had fallen asleep so that she could finally get hers.

I am fortunate that I do not have to wake anyone now. It’s just me and the ghosts. My breathing returns to normal eventually. It always does. But in the time that it takes, the clock ticks by. Awake again. I have seen many mornings born into day, oddly, not many sunrises…

I tried, you know? To save them. God, I did… Many of them were beyond my help by the time I had arrived. In real life, I mean. I suppose the dream too… There are times that I worry that I too am beyond saving. That I have fallen too far down the hole and have been incurably burnt by the fires of hell. The thought is usually ephemeral, but it sneaks in from time to time.

When I was in Bellwood, my roommate had nightmares. I felt bad for him. It was a horrible thing to watch. I never want to burden someone with that again. Catch-22; I am awake and lonely, yet I will never again let someone get close. The irony of an imbecile.

You may have heard me speak about pretty waitresses and baristas on my blog or podcast, or even listened as I remark on celebrities with the playful wit of infatuation. I suppose if I am being honest, I spend so much time when awake searching and scanning for something beautiful as a way to counter the awful things that so plague me. If you’ve ever caught me staring, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, I’m just searching for something a little nicer is all…

I said it once already, but I don’t mind touting it again, I hate these dreams. These losses… these nights…

That is my recurring dream; trying to rescue spectres that are already beyond saving.

I’ll leave it with this: I am aware of the beautiful things. The pretty things. The peaceful things, so don’t worry – I don’t live in total darkness all the time… not anymore…





3 thoughts on “Irony of an Imbecile

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Built with

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: