You all have nightmares, right? Maybe even reoccurring nightmares, that pop up like the flu, stick around, make things shitty for a while, but then they go away, right? Mine haven’t gone away for three weeks now and it always starts the same. I wake up in my basement, in the North-East corner, on all fours, with a Flint Company brick next to me on the ground. All around me is black nothingness. No matter how long I resist sooner or later, I will turn the brick, wake up in my basement, and then I notice the light is on in the office….
She’s there. She changes outfits each night. She has an appreciation for fashion obviously. Last night was a summer dress, with deep red and purple flowers, running up it. That same strange flowery smell.
I think this is the whole sleep part, but every time feels like the first time. Like I am always confused that she’s in my house. And as the nights go by, she seems to sort of shift and shimmer herself, until it’s a different woman each night, then a different one each minute, each moment.
The tortures have gone way passed “House of the Rising Sun” and the guitar. Oddly enough I can no longer touch my guitar during the day. Like literally cannot touch it. Today, my wife had to pick it up off the floor and put it back on the chair when the dog knocked it over. The Muse has decided that I’m a roach and can’t be expected to play an instrument anymore.
Last Monday, she put me on a weird sort of stand-by, which is just drowning blankness and then clips of random memories tossed in there, sometimes to shocking effect. Blankness. Blankness. Blankness. The time I face planted in the dirt, going no-hands on a swing. Blankness. Blankness. Blankness. The night I lost my virginity. Blankness. Blankness. Blankness. Random time my dog got away. Blankness. Blankness. Blankness. Car accident when I was sixteen.
Wednesday, she introduced a long distance running program, where the sick twist is as long as I keep running, then I am free from the nightmares, but if I stop for even a second they come creeping up out of the woods, out of nowhere, then all hell breaks lose. I always end up running, lost in the forest, with these nightmares dropped about like land mines.
Thursday, I decided I would try and fight it . I figured that I would stay up really late and hopefully just crash so hard that maybe I could skip the whole process. Complicating matters is the fact that my house is up very early, so I knew I was looking at a “power” 1-2 hour nap. Thing was though, a solid, Muse-free two, sounded way better then the terrified roller coaster of four that I was currently facing.
The first attempt was somewhat successful, I still ended up downstairs, kneeling by the brick. But I turned it, started my run and was just about to break a sweat, when out of the sky came the chubby hand of my two year old. This worked perfectly and snapped me right out of my sleep.
Startled awake, I was terrified though. I hugged my son protectively, sickened by a compulsive thought, which assaulted my waking, rational mind, that if he could pull me from over there, what stopped over there from pulling on him?
All that day I was nervous and sort of on edge. Even though I’ve started writing about this experience on my blog, I’m still in denial about the whole thing. I’m still trying to chalk it up to an active imagination, maybe even a little boredom, but that uncanny sight of a chunky little toddler hand, coming at you as you run up some dirt road of imagination land, was just a bit much for my mind to ignore.
You may be surprised by this, but my wife has not even seen any of the previous installments of Interludes, so I had to fill her in last night.
I’m reluctant to dive too deep into our personal affairs here, but for the sake of comprehension in the story, I will just say that she is definitely the Yang to my Yin. We are sort the cliched opposites that attract. My wife is a normal, pleasant, and generally sociable woman. She can go along to get along, and get along with just about everybody.
She’s a nurse. A great nurse actually, which basically says it all. I, on the other hand, am a bit more introverted, strange, emotional, and sensitive. When I began to disclose the recent events, with some tact concerning the other woman in the picture, and leaving out some of the darker bits to sort of down play the whole thing, she seemed frustratingly unalarmed.
“I noticed you were extra tired these last few days, but I just figured you were in a funk,” she said.
Like I was explaining, this calm, no non-sense demeanor is exactly what I love about my wife. If I was married to a crazy, flakey-artist type, like myself, everything would spontaneously combust. And before you get all Freudian and judgmental, let me also note for the record my wife is, in fact, a wonderful artist, especially in her crocheting (and in her divine feminine magic as well, but no need to stir that pot anymore). But yes, I love the balm that is my wife’s coolness. Most of the time, but in this situation, I needed a solid defensive reaction.
Instead, she told me I needed to get a good night’s rest, and that I probably just needed to drink less coffee. And before I could even get a really good monologue going on her, she headed off for her shower. The issue was settled, I guess.
I was worked up, but all the kids were sleeping, so I was trapped in this shell of silence. I could have turned on the TV, but the reminding sound of my wife’s shower was making me restless. I decided to head downstairs and sit in the office, wide awake and frustrated. Thank you very much.
My dogs were happy and surprised to see me back downstairs. Once down there, I was now very tired, too tired even to turn the computer on or anything. I ended up just staring at my two dogs for a while.
A familiar clunk of the shower going off upstairs snapped me out of a nap. I had fallen asleep in my office chair. I knew something was off though, when now my dogs were nowhere to be found.
I waited for a minute, very afraid. Then I heard the sound of someone coming down the stairs. My mind wrestled with the idea that it wasn’t my wife coming down, but someone or something else. The guitar was standing there, leaning against my desk, and I had the urge to pick it up and blast whoever came through the door.
instead I just sat there, sort of freaking out. I heard the sound of the laundry basket being dropped on the concrete. I calmed down a second. My wife entered the room. I turned around and she smiled at me.
“What are you doing?” She asked.
I felt so embarrassed. I didn’t really have an explanation.
“Thinking,” I said.
She smiled again, that too-nice smile, said okay and went back into the laundry room, which just happens also to be in the North-East corner of house, where I always wake up with the brick.
I sat there for some time, still sort of scared and uncomfortable. I needed to start the conversation again, about everything that was happening, with the Muse, but it all just sounded so ridiculous. Yes honey, I am being tortured by a tyrannical guitar teacher, a ancient entity, a creature of my own imagination…hopefully.
That’s the thing. I still don’t really understand what I am dealing with here, and besides feeling tired, a little confused and depressed, everything else is fine.
“Are you coming to bed soon?” She called from the laundry room. The wet thunk of the clothes being tossed in the dryer recalled one of the gruesomest nightmares. I fought the urge to throw up.
“Or, should I ask, are you all done “thinking”?”
I sat there, stunned. I felt a pressure like never before. A responsibility. There seemed to be so much to explain, and warn about. We needed to have a meeting, a family meeting and figure this all out. I wanted to tell her to call into work, and batten down the hatches and all that, but the words were not coming.
“Why don’t you pick up the box and play me a tune?” I couldn’t believe that I heard that, but it was my wife’s voice.
I stood up so I could see her more clearly. All I saw was the back of her head, everything about it was just like my wife. She was in an old red t-shirt, with her hometown’s name on it. She was wearing her blue shorts shorts that she only wears just after the shower. But the tone wasn’t hers, that was the Muse’s. There was no mistaking that.
“What did you say?” I asked her. I tried to soften my tone but it was so hard to get the words out, through all the fear and anger.
“I said how you coming on the guitar babe?” She asked, as she slammed the lid on the washer and popped the start button.
She turned to look at me, and everything went blank. And then, there was the brick and the blackness. And in supplication, I am on my hands and knees.