On sleeplessness, and waking up

In the dream, my father was making more sense than he did before his brain exploded. We were sitting near a window and talking about the future. He was guiding me.

Then I woke up. I’d been asleep–hard–for about an hour. Falling back to sleep was not easy. Staying asleep, I found, was impossible.

In the dream–the one that came a few hours of tossing and turning later–my dad was walking again. In his hands he held nothing. Not a walker, not a cane, not a therapist’s shoulder. He was walking through the grass in the front yard of our old house on Yulan Drive. I saw a limp, but I saw him smile. It was apparently the first time he’d walked since his head exploded. From several feet away I saw him fall over in the grass. I ran to him, apologizing for not being there to catch him when he fell. As I got closer to him, I thought he was crying. Then he rolled over in the grass. He stayed there on his back, laughing the laugh of a freed man until I woke up in a dark room. I’d been asleep for 45 minutes.

In the last dream, we were all at a familiar pizza joint. Some longhair was playing the guitar and singing songs we liked. Our group was a little large and the table was a little small. We crowded around it all the same, opting for intimacy instead of convenience. It was a celebration dinner, of sorts. We ordered, laughing, poking fun at each other. I left the table feeling warm and normal. I went to the bathroom. When I looked in the mirror, I had shaved only half my face of the beard and moustache I grew during my dad’s roughest days. I was embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to see. When I walked back into the dining area, I noticed my group had switched tables. I was at the end and found I wasn’t hungry anymore.

So, I woke up before the alarm this morning. I couldn’t stay in bed. I showered, shaved, and grabbed a cup of coffee. This will be my first day back at work since I left a month ago. I will be clean-shaven, in a suit, and faced again with responsibilities.

Maybe I had not yet admitted it to myself. Maybe a night that should’ve been one full of rest is forcing me to admit that I don’t feel right returning to my normal life when my Dad and mom are still fighting to find normalcy. Or maybe, what I thought was a normal life just wasn’t as normal as I thought.

It’s a little much to confront on a cloudy, wet morning before 9am.

Nonetheless, I suppose this marks my return to Rapid Eye Reality. I hate that it’s come on a down beat.

Here’s an interesting thought, though: Even the casual reader here will know that I’ve always lamented the lack of change and progress in my life, even to the point of whining about it.

Now, my world has changed and I’m not sure how to feel about it.

I suppose even the casual reader could’ve expected that.

Now, though, the coffee has warmed my insides and the caffeine is making a nice substitute for the night of sleeplessness. I guess I should take that as a signal to get up, put on a tie, and become that guy I knew four weeks ago.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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