Double-Wake Dream-Dream

Last night’s fitful sleep didn’t come until well after midnight, despite going to bed around ten. And, then, I was awake with a sinus-induced coughing fit around 1:00 a.m. Later, at 3:00, I was awake again for a bit. But I managed to sleep later, and even to dream.

The portion of the dream I remember most vividly was springing awake, sitting upright in a swivel office chair. My arms were folded on a table in front of me. Even in dim light, I recognized that I was sitting at the work table I use in my sculpture class, but the place was almost dark, except for a light at the far end of the studio. I was confused to suddenly find myself waking in a place utterly inconsistent with sleeping. I thought I must have fallen asleep and was locked in by security personnel, who closed the place up after hours.

But as I looked around the dimly-lit studio, I vaguely remembered the dream I was having before I woke; I was working in the studio, alone, when three men entered and began removing the slab-rolling table. Assuming they were taking it to be repaired, I asked how long before they would return the slab-roller. Apparently, they had not seen me, because they seemed startled at my presence and my question. The three of them began talking at once, giving contradictory information. My face flushed as I realized they must be there to steal the table and they might not want to leave a witness. My fear of the situation, I guess, is what caused me to awake suddenly in my dream-within-a-dream.

Another light came on at the end of the studio where a light had been on when I awoke. My instructor entered the studio from the door at the far end. The instant she entered, she seemed to sense my presence; she stared toward me and her neck craned forward as her eyes adjusted to the very dim light where I was sitting.

“Why are you here, John?” Her voice quivered, as if she were afraid of me. I tried to answer, but all I could get out of my mouth were unintelligible sounds. I think it was about then that I awoke from my real sleep and my real dream. But the dream-within-a-dream confused me. I wasn’t sure which of the dreams was my real dream and which was simply a component of the dream I was having.

That disconcerting sense of bewilderment is not the most comfortable way to begin the day, especially after a night of too little sleep and too much wake.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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