Herself has always been a vivid dreamer. It's odd. Even though she considers her imagination to be fairly pedestrian when she is awake, her subconscious -- or whatever mechanism serves to generate dreams -- is extremely creative, bringing forth complex, multilayered storylines while she sleeps. She is more likely to have unusual dreams if she has a migraine pending or if she is ill, although even ordinary nights can yield dreams of exceptional detail. She always remembers her dreams, too.
Once when she was very tiny (probably three or four years of age) she had a fever-induced dream that she still can recall today. She dreamt that her bed was made of sand; there was a warm yellow sunlit glow in the room and a soft pleasant breeze. She was digging happily in the sand, feeling it flow through her fingers and patting it into piles, and was singing a song aloud to herself. When she got close to the end of the song, the air in the room suddenly became still, a hush fell over everything, and the closet door flew open, revealing a paper grocery bag standing upside-down with the bottom toward the ceilling. The bag mouthlessly sang the last line of the song in a loud, proud voice. The bag was alive. She woke up drenched in sweat, horrified.
Nightmares of inanimate objects becoming cognizant have long since passed away. Adult dreams tend to have a foundation in the mundane, such as being back in college and realizing she has missed a class or not studied for an exam, or needing to facilitate a complex homework project for one of the Offspring. There are the typical flying/falling dreams that most people have, too. Even within those dreams, though, there are tiny details - heat and cold, sounds, smells, sensations of touch - that linger in her memory after she awakens.
More powerful than the sensory elements of her dreams, though, are the vivid emotions that occasionally come into play. Dreams generating anger, fear, or despair: the feelings bleed into the first minutes after she awakens, and she must actively douse the flames of the rage, the terror, the sorrow, lest they follow her into the day.
She had one such dream last night. It was an unusually intricate nightmare, so very real in its details and so very horrible in its content, that more than once she asked another individual, is this a dream, or is it real? She could not tell. She finally was awoken by a sensation of panic and was able to drag herself back to consciousness. Such a relief. She is still haunted nearly four hours later. I asked whether describing the dream here would help to release her from its hold, but she cannot bring herself to put it into words. In truth, she says, this dream needs only a single word to describe its horror:
Fascinating, what hides in the psyche.
14 hours ago