A Reader's Dream or Nightmare Part 1

About a dream or nightmare that a reader submitted.

The Dream

From: ELIZABETH BEHR (Rochester, N.Y.)

My dreams are unusual, I think, judging from comparison with other people and assorted articles on the subject. They are very realistic. I live them. Occasionally I watch them; that is, I, as myself, do not appear in them. They are always in color. I hear sounds as I would if I were awake. In fact, all of my senses seem to function in a normal manner.

Frequently, I have what I call "dream hangovers." A dream hangover results from a deep involvement in the dream and lasts until the dream is explained or the emotions wear themselves out. I have had dream hangovers which last five minutes, and others which last as long as three weeks. One of my longest hangovers was from the following dream:

I am in a ladies' room, somewhere in the world. There is an old woman who came in with me. I think I carried her suitcase. She walked with her head lowered, and her legs were wrapped in ragged bandages. They were wound from the tops of her dusty black shoes to the frayed hem of her polka-dot dress. There was only one receptacle in this ladies' room. The old woman entered it. She was in there for close to 30 min. Soundlessly. As soon as I became aware of the silence, I began hearing strange sounds. Tearing, shredding, slapping, mushy sounds. I suddenly realized what I was hearing. She was unwrapping the bandages. These noises continued for close to an hour. Very abruptly they stopped. I found myself wondering if she was all right. Finally I called to her, asking if she needed anything, asking if she needed help. There was no response. I waited about 15 min. before repeating my questions. As before, there was no answer. I thought she might be dead. I told her that if she did not answer me, I would have to open the door. I waited for an answer, and when I got none I pushed open the door. I awoke sweating, with a scream stifled in my throat.

I had this exact same dream recur two or three times a year for about three years before it happened. Yes, it happened.

Two years ago, at the age of 25, I chanced to be in a Greyhound bus station in Long Beach, Calif. It was the first time I had ever been west of Chicago. I arrived at the station at approximately 5:15 A.M. My cash assets consisted of one quarter. My plan was to call my uncle, who lived in the area, but it was just a little too early. I saved a dime for the telephone and splurged on a cup of coffee. I started to drink the coffee and decided to take it up to the ladies' room and relax, smoke, wash up, and change clothes.

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