“I’m telling you, it’s as real as anything, it’s as real as right now. “

“Yeah, Mike. It’s weird. I really don’t understand it.” Dana's voice is dull as the butter knife I’m spreading  over my English muffin. 

“Happened ever since I was a kid. It’s terrifying. The doctors call it 'Sleep Paralysis'. I’m literally paralyzed. I can’t move. It’s crazy. Sometimes I see stuff. You wouldn’t believe.”

“Yeah, Mike. Crazy“

I realize I’m distracting her from the celebrity news headlines on her computer. 

Dana is un-phased by what I’m telling her. She’s probably tired from hearing about it, and still a little hungover from the night before. It doesn’t matter to her the way it does to me. It’s always fascinated me. This is the reason why I’ve wanted to become a psychologist. Specifically, a sleep psychologist.  I’ve wanted to understand this part of myself; This strange, almost paranormal, disorder of mine. Since I was eight years old I’ve suffered from sleep paralysis. It sounds exactly like what it is. I become paralyzed in my sleep. Despite feeling like I’m completely awake, I am one hundred percent paralyzed from head to toe. Nothing moves; not a wiggle. I’m a cement cinder block sinking in quicksand, buried beneath a giants ass. When I was a kid  it would be monsters and ghosts holding me down to the bed. My demons exercised themselves through my condition.  I’ve had my worst high school bullies tie me down, taunt and torment me all through the night. I often envision the devil himself, knees on my chest, crushing my bones to powder, compressing my organs to ooze. Perhaps I've been repressing something. Whatever it may be, all these years of psychoanalysis and textbooks on 'dream psychology' have yet to uncover the truth. 

Dana is used to this same scenario every Monday morning. We’re at the breakfast table I venture into my ramblings about dreams while she sips her homemade latte and confirms her plans to workout with Karin later that morning. I finish my English muffin, I give her a kiss which she returns haphazardly and then I make my way to the office. 

“Tennis tomorrow?”

I say before leaving. 

It takes half a minute for her to break from her computer and respond. 

“Yes, still...on. “

Tennis is on Tuesdays. We play with another couple—Peter and his wife Giselle. They beat us every time. Peter played in high school. He carries most of the weight, but Giselle holds her own too, returning my serves without even breaking a sweat. 

I start the car and the Gordon and Bob morning show is playing on the radio. Usually on Monday mornings their rants about celebrities and other trivial nonsense puts me in a good mood.  But, on this particular morning, as I’m driving I can’t get last nights dream out from my mind.  It’s a reoccurring one I’ve been afraid to mention to Dana. Ive been afraid what it might suggest to her. Maybe she’ll think I’m shallow. Hell, she already knows I am. I’d rather not exacerbate   the whole thing. Lord knows, she’s heard enough about my dreams. She definitely doesn’t need to hear about this one. 

By the time I’m at work I’m still thinking about it. The dream is still playing out in my mind so vividly: 

The room is dim and hazy. I can see Dana’s head craning backwards, her eyes rolling to the back of her skull. 

Meanwhile I’m in my office listening to Susan. Susan can’t sleep at night and so she’s unfit to hold a day job. She’s started working nights at the supermarket but even that doesn’t help. 

“This past week I’ve only slept 12 hours, doctor.” 

I’m not listening.  Dana’s mouth is gaping open  and violent shrieks are erupting out from her as my mind replays the scene yet again. 

“I’ve been exercising and I’ve been journaling just like you said... even without Gerald’s snoring it’s still the same—“ 

The incessant moaning. dripping perspiration covers her body in a thin glossy sheen.  Her hair is like a wild flame as her head bobs violently. Her hands slide up and cup her breasts. 

Susan rambles on until the clock strikes 12. The clock in my mind is still stuck upon 3 am. 

Susan thanks me with tears in her eyes for I’ll I’ve done today. I tell her it’s a pleasure. She leaves and George walks in.  

“I was driving last Tuesday...”

Again I’m not listening. 

The weight is tied to my hands and feet and Im drowning in a lake of fire and the only thing I can hear beyond my screams are Dana’s heavy exhalations. 

“ I’m tellin ya’ a second goes by and I open my eyes and- and, I don’t know where I am! I had fallen asleep at the wheel and woke up without any idea what happened. I have no idea how long it had been. Thank God nothi—“

I need to get out of here. I need to wake up. I need to wake up from this dream. I can’t take it any more. This dream will be the death of me. 

“ well, Doc. I’d like to thank ya. This has been so helpful. I appreciate doc, I really do. “

“My pleasure, George” 

I rise to open the door for him.  

“And Doc, I know I should t be asking you this, but, is everything, uh, okay?” 

I choke on my words. 

“Oh, yes, George, absolutely. I appreciate you asking. Take care of yourself and please keep logging everything for our follow up next week”

It’s lunchtime. I grab my keys and race to the car. I’m driving and beneath the sound of the engine I hear it all:

Their bodies grinding in embrace like factory gears, pumping together like two pistons, howling like jackals .  

I arrive home and thankfully, I see Dana’s car in the driveway. 

I open the door and with almost perfect synchronicity, I hear the shower faucet turn just off as I’m heading up the stairs. 


I call.

She doesn’t hear me. 



Comes her startled voice.


“It’s me, Dana. “

I say entering the bedroom. 

“What are you doing here?” 

She says from the bathroom. 

“I need to talk to you.” 

“About what? Is it serious?”

She comes out in her robe. Her face is tense with concern. 

“I need to tell you about my dream”

“About your dream? You came home to tell me about your ‘dream’? You mean, like, this couldn’t wait, Mike?”

Her voice is irritated as I’ve so selfishly interrupted her daily make- up routine with my juvenile dream nonsense.

“No, Dana...”

I feel my fists clenching involuntarily. 

My mouth is dry. The sweat drips down my burning face. 

His hands grab the back of her head and pulls her face towards his. Their open mouths engage in a struggle. Dana’s manicured nails claw deep into his back as his teeth gnaw against her lower lip. 

“It couldn’t.”

“Okay, what about your dream, Mike?”

“Dana, I’ve been dreaming about you—“

“Well, thanks for telling me that. I dream about you too sometimes, Mike. “

“ You and Peter, Dana. You and him together. “

“Oh.You have?”

“Yes, Dana. I’ve dreamt about the two of you right there beside me. I’m just laying there unable to move while the two of you are—-“ 


“Yes.  I didn’t want to mention this because I thought it may seem strange to you.” 

“Not at all. I understand. It actually makes a lot of sense.” 

“It does?”

“Yeah, because, like… You weren’t dreaming. “

I’m stunned as the words leave her mouth.  Her face is completely straight; her voice cold and calculated. 

“Yeah… “ she says, after seeing my ineptitude for words. 

“It was real. When I told Peter about your condition, we thought it would be kind of, I don’t know, hot, I guess...” 

There is a slight smile spreading over her lips. Dana sees I am still too dumb to speak and continues.

“Yeah, I guess after these past few weeks enough is enough. It’s time to give it up. We’ve had our fun. It’s over now. It’s over, Mike. “ 

“Dana?” I say finally. 


“I was awake the entire time. “ 

May 23, 2020 02:40

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