Today is Tuesday, May 20, 2014 and I am real. At least I think I am. Since 7th grade I have been different than anyone else on the planet. I have something with no name. Something that makes me question the very existence of everything around me. I call it “in somnium ambulat”. In Latin it meant “The Dream Walk” and that doesn’t even start to cover it. Occasionally, when I dream, I fall asleep. When I wake up I can’t tell if it’s real life or still a dream. I can live for months at a time in my dreams only to wake up and find that it’s only the next day. My parents are still alive, my cousin is still dead, and my sister was miscarried. I’ve walked with my sister for months only to have her ripped away from my reality. Who are they to tell me what’s real to me? I’m 18 years old, I’ve lived through 40 years, and I’m not crazy.
I guess I’ve gotten ahead of myself a little bit. There’s a reason to all of this I promise, just bear with me a little longer. Every few dreams that I have are eerily accurate to the events that follow them. I’m not saying that I see the future, but I know it’s not just déjà vu. What I see in my dreams comes true. I distinctly remember having a dream in which I had a normal school day. I talked to my friends, got in arguments, and hated riding the bus; a normal day. Then I woke up.
That was the first time that it had happened so, naturally, I was confused when the date hadn’t changed overnight. My first reaction was that it was a really elaborate April Fools’ Day joke that my friends and family had planned. That idea left when the people who couldn’t stand me started to have the exact same conversations that they had in my dream. Everything was the exact same. The same, “Daniel, you’re going to be late for the bus!” The same burnt toast and honey on the way out the door. The same substitute bus driver glaring at me for making her wait as I sprinted down the sidewalk before she drove away. The same conversations, lessons, missed homework assignments, lunch and drive home. I was obviously more than a little confused.
What I thought was a fluke accident in my brain turned into a constant annoyance and fear. You can’t tell me that what I felt and heard and saw and smelled was fake just because you didn’t experience it. I’ve had normal dreams. I know what they feel like. These are not normal dreams, they are my life. Everything that I experience in my dreams stays with me. The doctors couldn’t figure out why my back hurt so badly. After all, I was never flattened by a train. My teachers couldn’t comprehend how I could forget my homework so often; it wasn’t like they assigned it months ago. I lived my life in my dreams for longer than I did in real life. “Real life”. Who defines what real is? Is real what the people around you experience? If that’s the case, who defines it for them? No, my life took the place of my dreams.
It got to the point where I never knew if I was asleep or living. I never knew if jumping out of my window head first to break my neck would actually kill me, or simply wake me up. I never knew if I really had a relationship with my best friend. Hell, I didn’t even know if my best friend was real or not. Who had died, who was still alive, who had never really existed at all; it all blended together. I nearly died at the end of my 8th grade year to suicide and my parents didn’t understand that I just wanted to wake up. After that, the dreams became less and less frequent until the time between them was finally longer than the dreams themselves. My life was turning back to normal for a change. Well, as close to normal as you can get when having premonitions about the end of the world every few months.
My dreams never entirely stopped, they only waited. That wouldn’t have been such a bad deal if they hadn’t gotten darker and darker as they became less frequent. It’s to the point now that they only occur once every few months. Before last night, the last one was in January. The 15th if you must know. It was… odd; almost normal but with a sense that a disaster was about to happen that would change everything. This was the single longest and most realistic dream that I had ever had, so it made sense that I was more confused than ever when I woke up and the past 20 years of my life had never happened. What scared me the most was that the disaster never happened. There had been world leader changes, economic ups and downs; for Christ sake I had two kids! My entire life had disappeared and everyone went on like nothing happened at all! Damn it I’m real! They were real! Give them back to me!
For the next few months my life was a living hell. I didn’t dream, I barely slept, and my relationships fell apart. Well, last night it came back. I had never gone back into the same dream before, but there I was coming home to my two daughters. Arizona had just gotten back from her first day as a freshman that was a mix of emotions. My youngest daughter, Elizabeth, had stayed home, sick for the third day in a row. She came outside pulling my wife, Emily, along with her and I knew something was off. Something was terribly wrong and I had never noticed it before. Maybe it was there the whole time and I had never felt it but it was definitely there now.
“Get inside! Now!” Emily screamed as she unlatched the basement door and comforted Elizabeth,who was still scared of the dark.
Utterly lost as to what was going on, I looked around. What was wrong? What was so terrible that we would cower underground like a rabbit being chased by a dog? There were no gunshots in the distance, no police sirens coming closer, no fire trucks racing down the road. That’s when I felt it. A heat more intense than anything I had ever felt in my entire life, followed by a light that consumed everything.
I watched as the entire city was enveloped by one massive explosion. I watched as Arizona screamed in terror. I watched as the explosion moved closer and closer to our home. I watched as my house and daughter were vaporized in front of me.
I didn’t wake up, everything was just gone. It was as if nothing had ever existed outside of my own mind. The only thing that existed was blank space. Not a vacuum or darkness, simply a white absence of matter. For what seemed like an eternity I existed in that emptiness with only the memory of losing everything to accompany me. When I finally woke up, it was only Tuesday, May 20, 2014, and I am real.