All of a sudden I’m caught off guard when it starts. One minute everything is normal and the next something hits me like a ton of bricks. It’s more like a huge power switch turned on. I’m home in my living room watching television when a deep magnetic pull inside me takes over my entire body. Never have I felt this before but I don’t fight it because somehow I know it’s futile. Immediately but calmly I stand up and head towards the front door. My fingers reach for the doorknob and I turn it. Sunlight peers through the rectangular stained glass-looking section of the door. I don’t know why I’ve never truly noticed the intricate design before today. My eyes soak in its beauty as I walk past it and close the door behind me.
My skin feels the gentle rays of the sun and a slight cool breeze. The sky is cloudless and offers a slight purple hue to it. It puzzles my brain for a second because it was so faint but splendid. It almost didn’t seem real. I reach the end of our driveway and turn left. Headed towards the direction of the street sign at the end of my block that adjoins a neighboring street. The white house on the corner belongs to my friend Angel. Is she home I wonder? It really doesn’t matter because that’s not my destination. With each step the pull inside me is stronger, and I never question why I’m doing this or what I’ll find.
I don’t notice any lights or sounds coming from Angel’s house as I walk by. Quickly I realize I’m headed to Broadway Road which sits on the backside of her house. At this point my brain begins to slightly disconnect from my body. I can sense I’m almost there.
What is happening to me?
And for the first time I am afraid. As I turn onto the sidewalk of the the busy road I feel the stale air rush over me as cars buzz by and the familiar smell of exhaust fumes waking my nostrils. My heart beats rapidly as I almost feel myself running the last couple hundred feet to my intended stop. The active street is to my left and a row of businesses on my right. I know it as soon as I take my last step – my foot journey has now come to an end.
But to what?
I am standing alone on the high traffic street wishing I was back home in my living room. All I need to do is turn and walk back towards home, but I can’t. My body feels glued to the ground and a tear rolls down my cheek.
S-sstop just stop it! I tell myself because I.do.not.want.to.cry. I hate (let me repeat) I hate to appear weak, but deep down I know the pathetic truth. I try oh so very hard to look poised, tough and in control but it’s a joke. My strength is flimsy at best and as you can see powerless to even fight against this unknown force that drew me here.
I’m deep in thought so I don’t hear the car when it pulls up beside me. The passenger door abruptly swings opens which makes me take notice and I turn my head to see several people inside the car. I’m completely bewildered looking at my surroundings because something has changed. Realizing the street has now become a ghost town. Not a car, truck or person in sight other than the green 4-door sedan with its inhabitants sitting 2 feet from me.
Within seconds my body is in the backseat of the car. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I didn’t volunteer to go. Everything happened so fast I wondered did I even try to resist? I hoped I scratched and kicked and screamed trying to avoid the abduction.
But I just can’t remember.
I scan my brain trying to recall exactly what happened but it’s useless. The information I desperately desire cannot be found. In the backseat I’m stuck in the middle of my captors. My insides are blaring MAYDAY MAYDAY and I can hear and feel my pulse beating throughout my body. My instincts tell me to holler and wail and fight like a hellcat for my freedom.
I’m reminded there are just too many and my plan will never work. So I don’t move a muscle or make a sound. Fear forces my eyes closed because I simply can’t deal with the horrifying truth of my situation. I’ve been kidnapped so close to home and nobody knows. This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening I repeat silently over and over. No-no-no-no-no I’m home in my living room and this is just a hideous dream.
I hadn’t looked at the faces of the people in the car. Why? How would I identify them later? Or would there even be a later for me? I didn’t want to think about it. So I took a deep breath and tried to calm myself down. Well as much as I could considering my predicament. Oddly there was something inside me that felt as if these people were not strangers. Did I recognize their voices? Although I don’t recall hearing anyone speak. Their smell? The car? I wasn’t exactly sure but something felt familiar.
I could hear the gear clicking into drive and we sped away. To where? I wasn’t told. For how long? It was a mystery to me. I stood on the sidewalk watching the car finally disappear into the sun down the long 4 lane street. I should’ve tried to remember the license plate so I could report it to the police, but I didn’t. What did I do? Stood there waiting. For what I didn’t know. But just as I was certain of my destination when I reached it I was undoubtedly sure I was supposed to wait.
So that’s what I did.
Without wearing a watch I can’t tell you how long I stood there. The sun had moved to the opposite part of the sky, and the purple hue had vanished. My mom would be making dinner soon wondering where I’d gone. Rubbing my eyes I really wished I was home. Which was ironic considering I usually found any excuse to not be there. In spite of the yelling and fighting that existed I desperately desired to be inside those four walls in that moment.
I was ready to do just about anything for this day to be over. All the anxiety and stress had taken its toll and I was completely exhausted. I didn’t know it was possible to feel this level of fatigue in my mind and bones. Timeworn would be the best way to describe it, and I was done.
I looked up in time to see the green car pull up beside me once again. Fear gripped my heart and this time I was able to take a step back. The driver and I looked at each other directly in the eyes. Immediately I froze not knowing what to do. Just then the back passenger door opened and a girl was tossed out halfway on the street and the sidewalk. The door closed and the car quickly sped away.
I was overwhelmed and in effort to protect myself closed my eyes. When I finally opened them was looking eye level at the ground. When I realized I was partially in the street panicked and pulled myself completely onto the sidewalk. I didn’t quite have the strength to stand so I laid there trying to assess the damage.
My arms and legs wobbled when I finally attempted to stand up but I managed to do it. There were many bruises and scratches but I’d survived. I wanted to smile when I discovered the magnetic pull was gone and I could leave my spot. I brushed myself off and felt stinging on my right elbow. I lightly touched it to discover it was bleeding. Must of happened when I was shoved out of the car I thought. I pulled my sleeve over it and began to walk home.
Achy and bruised I walked home with a slight limp, but I didn’t care. All I could think about is making it back home. Anything that waited for me there was better than what I had just experienced. Then I realized I don’t even know what that was because I can’t remember. What happened in that car? Where did I go? Do I even want to know? Looking at the condition of my clothes and my body I know it isn’t good. Once my feet touch my driveway I’m instantly relieved because it’s over. A few more steps and I will be inside my house and in the comfort and safety of my bed. It’s only a short distance but seems like miles. I want to cry. I finally stand at the side door that opens to the kitchen and reach for the doorknob….
Then I suddenly wake up.
What I just described is a dream I had for almost 30 years. Everything about it was so real that I honestly thought it could be! As crazy as it sounds I didn’t know if it truly happened or not. At the age of 35 or so I actually found a moment of courage and asked my mom about it. She looked at me wondering if I was serious and assured me it never did. Strangely it brought me a slight sense of peace to hear her say it.
I’m not blind to the symbolism of my dream. The ability of my child mind to create such a tragically powerful and accurate picture of my life of abuse astounds me. Also very grateful that it’s been close to a decade since I last dreamt it.