I almost never dream in the present. I can count on two hands how many times my children have appeared in my dreams. It's been this way all my life, but lately my dreams seem to be stuck on a record player, playing the same music over the span of a few years.
Most nights and some afternoons (when I sneak a nap), I wake in panic because my dreams are not dreams. They are beautifully haunted memories. I see faces and freckles and khakis and blond bob haircuts. I smell wet asphalt, old perfume, stale popcorn, car air freshers. And I hear music. Oh the music--the Cranberries, Blink 182, Dishwalla, Counting Crows, and Peter Gabriel. Damn Peter Gabriel. In your eyes gets me every time--even in my dreams.
The memories rotate at random, but they are consistently picked from a time period I can hardly remember when I'm awake and completely cognizant. Dreams are the weirdest. How is it possible that our subconscious recalls things our brains do not? There are weeks and months where I don't think of people, but they appear in my dream. They talk to me like they used to, but with a different perspective. Sometimes they introduce me to their families. Those are always my favorite dreams; I haven't seen so many of my high school and/or college friends in ten years so meeting their children is amazing. Sometimes I will meet their families while I'm in the midst of a memory. You can only imagine how confusing that is to my 19-year-old self.
The hardest dreams for me to cope with are the ones where I find myself in an argument with someone--a real argument that actually happened years ago. Some of those arguments were resolved; some were not. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot change the outcome. I often find myself sitting on the edge of my bed at the end of the dreams with my head in my hands because I could not change my old reality.
What is all this about? I cannot understand it. I do not comprehend why so many of these memories will not be satisfied to be just what they are--memories. I thought, perhaps, that if I wrote about this experience that maybe the dreams would cease. But I guess if not, I will continue to mostly enjoy all these haunted memories, and I will play a little game of inception in the mean time as I find ways to jump from one memory to another while remaining deep in sleep. It's pretty fantastic if you ask me.