I’ve been having a recurring nightmare these last few weeks. A nightmare based on real events.
See every December, my neighbourhood cowers under a spate of violent crime, armed robberies, some resulting in death, most likely shootings. This December was strangely quiet, no one robbed at gunpoint, no homes broken into, no deaths… but my subconscious has more than made up for the silence.
Every night, in anticipation of crime wrought at violent hands, my brain listens out for strange sounds in the night. And when I fall asleep the nightmares begin, mash ups of memories of different times when I have experienced a home invasion.
Last night, my main preoccupation in the nightmare was to get my laptop computer into a hiding space where it would not be found. I struggled hard, going in circles, desperate… not to hide from violence, but to hide my laptop. Nothing else occupied my desperation, nothing else was of so much value to me.
In my dream, my mother finally reached a breaking point. She yelled, furious and frustrated by my circles, “Your life is so much more important than that thing!”
And I looked down at the ‘thing’ in my hands, and I said: “But this is my life!”
And I woke up in terror.