Same Dream

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She had basically the same dream every night, with small variations. She was running through the streets of town naked. It seemed like she was running in slow motion. At first she couldn't see what was chasing her, but she kept looking back to see if it whatever it was is gaining on her. Eventually she would see the monster chasing her, and it would always be gaining on her. She would panic and feel her heart beating as if it was about to jump out of her chest. She would always start looking around for door to escape through, but they were always locked. She ended up each night getting into some sort of box, to escape. Sometimes it was a dumpster. Other times it was a cardboard box already occupied by a homeless man. One night it was even a coffin. As the monster would catch up to her and grab the box she was in, it would be that moment she awoke. She would come awake with a violent lurch forward and bathed in sweat. Sometimes she would have to check every door and closet in her small apartment, before she could go back to sleep.

She read about the meaning of dreams. Depending on what source you were reading the meanings varied widely. The psychological meaning of being naked in public is that your feel vulnerable and exposed. Old wives tales said that dreams of being nude in public fortold of a terrible scandal soon to pass. Some Christians felt it refered to the final judgement before God. The running portion of the dream dealt with feelings of insecurity according to psychology. For children it might be that they are being bullied at school. For men it might be a fear of castration, which usually meant they were dealing with a strong willed woman. For women it was running from sexual attackers that secretly symbolised their desire to be wooed. Native Americans believed that if you were being chased in a dream, you should turn and wrestle whatever was chasing you to the ground, and by that overcome your fears. The part of the dream about escaping into boxes only to be caught was too esoteric for much of any of the reading she had done. Each source would have totally different meanings for dumpsters, cardboard boxes, and coffins. Since it happened in each dream, she felt it must have a more consistent meaning, that she was missing.

Tonight she fell asleep and soon was running down the streets naked again. This time she felt the stones in the street as she stepped on them. She was aware of the sweat streaming down her body as she was running, not when she woke up. This time she didn't try the doors because she knew that they would be locked. She didn't look back this time, because she knew the monster would be gaining on her. Ahead she saw the light of a telephone booth, with the door open. She couldn't remember ever trying to escape into a phone booth, so ran into it, and slammed the door shut. As the monster started to shake the phone booth, she didn't wake up this time. She only heard, "For God's sake Frank, take that box with the thing in it and get rid of it. Whatever it is stinks to high heaven. How is something like that let loose to run around and smell up the place in a civilized society like ours?"



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