Dreams are weird aren’t they? Everybody has them, even animals. We all dream every night whether we remember or not. Even more strange, is that science continually struggles to understand their purpose.
While I haven’t the slightest clue as to why we dream, I do know that dreams can be very powerful. One dream involving a sexual encounter with a rather large woman dressed as Darth Vader had my teenage mind spinning for weeks. Add to that the dream’s setting of a grocery store dairy isle and you’ll understand why I then questioned the most basic of life’s assumptions. That dream, however, is not the most powerful I’ve experienced.
I must have been somewhere between ten and twelve years old at the time. My parents were out of town, which was very rare in our home. I can count in one hand the times they traveled overnight without us kids in tow. This particular time, left my older brother and I in command of the castle. He rented Black Sunday on laserdisc and we picked up some garlic cheese bread from Pizza Hut and then we spent the night in front of the television. After the movie we went to bed. Nothing out if the ordinary. During the night, though, I had the most intense and vivid dream of my life.
It was more of a nightmare, really. In the dream my parents had been murdered. I didn’t witness it though, this was just understood. Whomever had committed the murder was now after me and I was being pursued through an empty fairgrounds at night. What made this dream particularly memorable is that I woke up and continued experiencing it.
I remember walking through the dark hallways of our house. I didn’t turn one light on. I just walked from empty room to empty room knowing there was an unseen force some few steps behind me waiting to take my life. Eventually I sat down in the couch outside my brother’s room and quietly started to cry. My parents were dead, I would soon be sharing in their fate, and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.
It was then that Paul come out if his room to see what I was doing. I don’t remember what I told him. It took him some time to settle me down but I eventually went back to sleep.
Some twenty years later I still remember this nightmare. It was that real. I think about it from time to time; not with fear, but with shame. I was about to die, my parents had been brutally killed, and I gave up that easily? I just wondered around the house for a while and then accepted my fate. I didn’t try to wake my brother. I didn’t build elaborate booby-traps with my toys like Kevin Arnold. I didn’t even dial 911 like William Shatner had been teaching me for years!
Is that the kind of man I am, one that just gives up and dies? I suppose the only way to know is to see how I would act in a similar real world situation. To be honest, I don’t really want to test this. However, if my parents are actually murdered and the culprit is really chasing me through my own house, I’ll at least turn the lights on.