I can’t breathe. It feels like I’m being held under water but the sensation against my skin is that of air. I gulp, thinking water will enter my lungs but I receive nothing. Not air, not water, but free space. I am drowning outside of water. I open my eyes and see nothing but white. In this moment I know I am going to die.
Suddenly, I begin to do something that I have not done in a very, very long time. I start praying. I am pleading, begging to believe in something. Is it God? Is it fate? I do not know. I start thinking about all of the beliefs of my friends and wishing I had thought about this sooner. I am beginning to understand what an eternity of “nothing” can feel like and I do not want it. This cannot be my fate.
“Please,” I gasp but there is no sound in this plain. I feel my heart beating against my chest, at a pace I never thought it would go, it too is begging for ANYTHING… just a little bit of oxygen. Just when I think I am going to explode into a million pieces dots begin to form in my vision. I am going to pass out and then I will die. However, those dots begin to make forms. First, I see grass forming and then trees growing. This is followed by the beginning of a lovely stream and then I start to materialize as if I had never been there in the first place. Then, I take a breath and it is the sweetest thing I have ever tasted in my entire life. I fall to my hands and knees, feeling the grass beneath my hands creates an air of appreciation within me.
“Never again,” I say. The sound of my voice frightens me for a moment because it is raspy and clearly out-of-practice.
“I won’t ever betray you again,” and then a cold, harsh laugh sounds somewhere to my left. I begin to turn my head to see the figure looming over me when he says “yes you will, which is why we must do this again.”
And then I woke up.
It is a strange thing when you are dreaming but it seems so real. I sat in the chair and I listened to every problem she had. There was boyfriend drama and tears. I gave her a hug and told her everything would be okay. I laughed with her and I cried with her. I think the moment I realized it was a dream was the moment I got angry.
She was sitting on my floor staring up at me. She said that he cheated on her and deep inside of me I felt this pain. It was pain leftover from when I had been cheated on. I felt it escape that box that we hide our unwanted emotions in. I felt it spread throughout my entire body and fill me to the brim with an intense sense of hurt. After that I felt anger. How dare he? We were in love! We were dating for three years; we were supposed to get married! Everything hurt. I felt myself roll over in reality but I was stuck in this dream. I could not escape.
“Let’s go find him,” I said. I felt the anger travel to my eyes and pierce right into hers. She nodded and grabbed my hand so I could help pull her up from the floor. It was then that I realized I had been drinking. The room spun for a second but I caught myself and followed her out of the room.
The next thing I knew I was standing before him.
“What is wrong with you?” I whispered. I was projecting my emotions onto him, trying to get him to feel the pain that I felt… that she felt. I had somehow transformed into her and we became a unit of anger. I couldn’t even see her. I was just angry FOR her.
He looked at me, eyes dead center with mine and stated: “I think you are asking the wrong question. There is nothing wrong with me. What is wrong with you?”
And then I woke up.
I am a bird. I am soaring high above the Earth and I can see everything. Up here I am in complete control. Nothing can touch me and no one can bother me. The sky is like my own little sanctuary. During my flight I come to the realization that I can do anything I want. I could literally be a “fly on the wall” for the most intimate conversations. So, I fly down to a random house in the middle of Arizona and perch on their windowsill. There is a little bit of arguing and then a woman comes rushing into the room. She slams the door shut. I watch as she falls into her bed and begins crying. She is hyperventilating as well as pounding her fists repeatedly into the pillows beside her. I feel empathetic, staring in at her from my little spot.
“I can’t handle this much longer,” she finally screams. She is physically releasing emotion into the air around her. I can feel it like it’s static electricity gliding across my feathers. I squawk at her but she can’t hear me through her screaming. I want to help. I need to help. What if she does something unintelligent? What if she tries to kill herself? I start flapping my wings incessantly, attempting to get her attention. The form of the bird once felt free but now I only feel trapped. I cannot save her. I cannot escape from the inside of my prison. I cannot help my fellow human being because I am not a human being right now. I am a bird. A bird with the ability to be human, but physically cannot be.
And then I woke up.
I am sitting at a round, wooden table with seven other people. I recognize each of their faces and I know that I am the leader here. Much like King Arthur, I sit with them as equals even though I am the one in charge. We have been receiving a lot of threats lately. I know that someone wants me dead. It is a personal threat and I fear bringing it to the table but in that same breath I know I must.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it has been brought to my attention that Prince Braden wants me dead. He has threatened me via letter and other small coincidences on the street. I am not going to change my day for this man and I will not appear weak by going into hiding. If he comes, he comes. You need to be well-aware that if he outsmarts me then I may not make it. I expect none of you to fight my personal battle and there will be no change in your routines either. While it is a matter of the kingdom it is also a matter of personal grievances and I will not mix the two together. Understood?”
Each of the knights nod and while I could tell they did not agree they also did not question my judgement. I nod back in acknowledgement and then rise from my position to take care of some other business.
It is then that I am walking down a dimly lit hallway. There are candles lining the wall and I am wearing a night gown of some sort. Why am I up so late? I think as I stroll through the halls. It is then that I begin to feel this panic deep in my chest but I stand straight and tall. I will not show the fear that I am facing. I am not running and I will not run. No one is with me and I do not think any one knows that I am in danger.
Someone grabs my arm and yanks me back. I turn and see that my attacker is wearing all black, including a dark hood with a face mask. I do not scream nor fight, merely face him.
“I am going to ask you to let go of my arm one time” I threaten. I can feel the energy and intensity in my eyes as I stare at him. I cannot see the color of his eyes, only a shadow of where I think his eyes should be.
He laughs for a moment. “You’re coming with me,” he states quietly but his voice is strong. I pull my arm towards me, making him move towards me. I use the momentum of my pull to strengthen my punch and hit him in the face. His head rocks back for a moment but he is a warrior and grabs my wrist. I fall back, trying to use my weight to make him let go of my arms but he is trained for military combat. I am too but I am smaller than him and it is going to take an intelligent, sneaky move for me to get away from him.
“Are you done?” He questions, which pisses me off but I push my emotions back and look at him like the leader I am.
“I will never be done”
And then I woke up.
I am in a lighthouse. I am standing in a large window with no glass, its like an inverted balcony overlooking the ocean. It is dark outside so all I can see is the light cast from the lighthouse and then a vast darkness far beyond what I can comprehend. It looks lonely out there. I remember thinking that if I could go anywhere in the world it would not be out there. I would miss people. Just as this thought crosses my mind I feel a hand slide across my lower back. This is such an intimate gesture. For a second I find myself a little confused. Then I look to the left, the opposite way the hand moved, and see a man standing there. Even in this dream-like state my consciousness thinks “you were on the bus!” His dark brown hair is mussed atop of his head and I find my hand reaching out to tangle it even more. My back is to the open window but I know that I will be okay. I trust this man more than I could possibly explain.
“Why is the universe so cruel?” I ask, looking into his hazel eyes. He smiles, which confuses me. “Don’t smile! I’m serious!”
“I am too,” he pauses, biting his lip. I watch as his smile travels into his eyes. “I don’t think the universe is cruel. I think it is right. We may not be allowed to be together in public but that’s okay… because it is the small, intimate moments such as this that make me like you so much. Yes, I want to be able to shout it to the world… actually…” He stops and looks right at me. I know he can see me. Every part of me.
He turns, puts his hands in a cup-like motion around his mouth, and yells “I AM IN LOVE WITH ASHLY BLAKE” and I listen in astonished silence as his words echo through the lighthouse and across the vast, lonely ocean.
And then I woke up.
I am sitting in the middle of a stage on a piano bench. The curtains are down and my anticipation is up. My fingers are neatly poised upon the piano keys and my eyes are glued to the bottom of the curtain. The lights are shut off and I am enveloped in this strange half-light/half-dark state. My heart is racing. I am ready. I discreetly nod but I know that my stage manager will see it and open the curtain. As I think this the curtains begin to rise and a bright light attacks my senses. I take in a deep breath and allow my eyes to adjust to the stage lights. It is time.
I smile at nothing in particular and then begin the composition. My fingers are fluttering across the keys as if they are the feathers of a bird, gentle yet strong in the presence of the wind. Willing to hold the bird in the air. Graceful and powerful all at the same time.
It is then that I start singing. There is a vibration deep in my chest and in the front pockets of my face. I am the instrument. I close my eyes as the feeling of playing the piano and singing at the same time cascade through my body. There is nothing in the entire world that can create this feeling of wholeness. I know I must stop soon and that saddens me more than it probably should, so I enjoy it for a few more moments.
And then I woke up.
I am in New York City. I am standing beside M&M World’s in Times Square. It is late at night and the streets are barren. I am confused. This is the city that never sleeps and I appear to be the only person awake! For a moment I close my eyes and simply listen to my surroundings. I hear a can rolling across the street not too far from me. I know that I must go there, so I open my eyes and follow my ears to get to my destination. As I approach this coca cola can I am acutely aware that I am no longer alone. A creepy-crawly sensation drives through my spine as I prolong my walk for a long moment. I turn my head slowly in all directions, allowing my senses to scan the area. It is in this distinct second that I realize what my super power is. I can control time. Thus, this person that is pressing on my “warning button” should not be here. I am in control here and there is no room for another.
I close my eyes, yet again and listen for any sign of movement. When nothing returns signals to my brain I decide on another tactic.
“Who are you?” I whisper, probing the area. Suddenly the can stops its roll. If a pen were to drop in the center of Times Square the sound would echo.
“I am life and I am here to tell you that you cannot control something you do not quite understand.”
And then I woke up.