Last night I had the strangest dream. I’ve been fighting a cold for the better part of two weeks and decided to take something and go to bed early. Kellie stayed downstairs to watch TV, and the kids were finally asleep. I crawled into bed just after ten and fell asleep soon after that.
I’m not sure how long I slept, but at one point I awoke and was facing the wall opposite me. The bedroom door was open and the light from the television downstairs cast shadows in the hall and at the foot of the bed. I immediately had the sensation that I was somewhere else. After only a few moments I thought that I was in my childhood bedroom and that I was a kid again. The wall looked like my childhood bedroom wall and I was on my side staring into space. I anticipated going downstairs to sit with my mother and was for a moment, more than a little scared. It was not long after that I finally came to the realization that I was in my adult bedroom in a different state (geographically and psychologically) altogether.
My son has been complaining of nightmares lately and I am sure that this has something to do with my waking up frightened and immediately wanting my own mother. I quickly dismissed the need for my mother as lunacy and turned over. Yet, after that I found it impossible to get back to sleep. Memories of my own childhood came flooding back to me and I began to remember what it was like to sleep in my small twin bed with NBA sheets. I remembered the toys I played with and the color of the room and the rug (both blue).
For as long as I can remember I have suffered from insomnia. Most of the time I am able to get up and do something, but last night I was unable to move. Therefore, I am unsure if what I experienced was a dream or just a hallucination brought about by exhaustion and cold medicine. For the entire following day after I was plagued with thoughts of my childhood and the wall that was my childhood wall but not my adult wall. It’s more than a little unnerving to think that one has every memory stored somewhere in one’s brain, but only a limited capacity to recall those memories, and even then at certain times. For several moments that night I was sure that I was back in my childhood bedroom at the age of 8 or 9, waiting impatiently for morning to arrive so that I could get out of bed and start the day as only children can. What I now realize, almost twenty-four hours later, is that it makes no difference if it was a dream or something more. What matters is the fact that for a few moments I was a child again, safe and warm in my childhood bed. What I experienced is a rare gift that does allow one to reclaim a part of one’s childhood, from which all adults all exiled.