The Wallpaper

Lying in bed, it spreads across the wall
An ornate, cabbage-like design on the wallpaper
Circle repeating after each circle
All tied in with swirls and scrolls
It was when I was very young that I had the first dream
It’s a race
Must reach the top of the wall
From one scrolled circle to another
Desperation and panic sets in
Must get to the top
My breath is heaving from my chest
And then it is over
The dreams continues to come and go from time to time
Always starting the same with the race to the top
And ending with those feelings of panic

Years later a new addition to the dream
Two new characters
A clay figure and a toothpick character
Both joining the race
The frail, toothpick figure scrambles to keep ahead
Ahead of the big clay blob, clumping his way through the race
Constantly at the heals of the toothpick character
Panic sets in
Fear of being smothered by the big clay blob

The dream is with me for many years
With no explanation of what it really is or what it means
No sense of when it will be triggered
The scene is always the same
The wallpaper, the race, the toothpick figure, followed by the figure of clay
Always desperate
Always grasping for air
And always that feeling of panic

In high school a new scene is tagged after the race
A flash of a dark, basement room
Many pipes
A janitorial area
The wallpaper race begins, along with its characters
And then the room with the pipes
It’s dark and scary
I feel myself step over a big pipe
Precariously straddling it
The same feelings are there
The race
The desperation
The panic
And that is the end

Later in college another scene was added
An indoor swimming pool
I’m in the water
I feel the heat and moisture of the pool air
And soon I dive under water
Swimming along the bottom
Its very brief
I feel the air being held in my lungs
And then its over
Gone is the pressure
Gone is the panic
Even the race is gone

The dream reoccurs over and over through the years
Still no understanding of what it is
Not knowing how it starts or how it ends
But always present with the feelings
In later years it no longer is secluded to a dream in the night
I’m not sure if they were ever at night
The dream flashes in front of me
I could be anywhere
In a meeting with co-workers
Riding in a car with a friend
It seems like something triggers the dream
It happens fast
I know when it was happening
But no one else knows

The dream then took on an eerie addition
It would go through the scenes
The wallpaper
The race with its characters
The room with the pipes
And the swimming pool
And then came the dialog
The people in my reality recite the words from my dream
I feel stunned
This is not possible
Caught in both worlds
At the same time
With the same conversation
It’s as if the dream knows what is going to be said
It’s not possible
I feel the panic
My breath becomes short
I begin to sweat
And then it’s over
I am a little shook up
I check, and nobody has noticed
It takes me a moment to get into my current surroundings
Things feel a little foggy
My senses seem hypersensitive
No one has noticed
And then I am okay
Until another time
When my dream enters my world

Years later my son who was diagnosed with epilepsy. Originally I did not know of any family history of epilepsy. Now I look back and wonder if these dreams I had were actually seizures. Perhaps they were absence seizures.  I may never know.
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