Thoughts on a nightmare that you just can’t shake

14 Jan

The Nightmare, by Henry Fuseli (1781)

At 1:37am eyes unfocus on the paperback and lids slip down.

Bridget makes a spectacle of going to bed at 3:09am, giggling, putting warm too-tickly kisses on my neck I smile, turn over, turn over again and fall down a wishing well of sleep to land in the black waters of a nightmare.

The mare in nightmare comes from the Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse term mara, a demon that sat on sleepers’ chests, causing them to have bad dreams. There were many superstitions surrounding nightmares and their prevention; stopping up the keyhole, placing one’s shoes with the toes facing the door, and then getting into bed backwards were all remedies for bad dreams.

I can’t remember the nightmare that plagued me for hours. All I recall is my mother and grandmother repeating bad news, news I didn’t want hear, news I didn’t want to be true but knew was.

I wake up and the morning doesn’t creep through the curtains. Our loft is like a mausoleum . The mare still sits on my chest as I make strong coffee. That feeling. The feeling of dread like something is falling from the sky, still to high to see but will come down on your head someday.
I walk through puddles all day with this feeling.



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