I've mentioned before the phantom dreams that haunt me when my body is under attack and my adrenal system is pumped full of steroids. It's the moments between consciousness and unconsciousness, when I'm aware that I'm dreaming but I'm not fully able to stop.
Tonight I was dragged under–and that's how it feels, dragged under the rip tide with no way to swim out–and my half dreams were more vivid than usual. I heard the little girls laughing, pulling me off the couch to get up and play. And I saw them playing ahead of me at the lake, but I couldn't join them. Eventually they no longer saw me; they forgot I was ever there.
As I fell more deeply into sleep, more images appeared, almost too quickly for me to see. My friends, dancing at my favorite bar in Brooklyn; my camp friends at our race in Denver. Again, the further I got pulled into sleep, the less of a participant I became. They couldn't see me. They couldn't hear me yelling, asking to them to wait up.
In real life, I have missed many milestones and inside jokes because I wasn't there, because I was sick. I have come to peace with it but I still hate missing things. I still fear slipping away.
These dreams are nightmares. These dreams are loss.