Claw yourself up out of the dream to the windswept surface of the bed, gasping for breath. The alarm hasn’t gone off yet, it’s not time to get up. Fall back against the pillows and look up out of the window above your head—not midnight, not morning, just the cold still insomniac hour.
Toss. Turn. Try to forget the world of the dream, try to remember the world of your bed. This country, this continent. This house. This year. It may not be heroism but all the choices you made, all the paths you’ve walked, have taken you further from being the miserable trapped girl in the dream—pale, jealous, shattered—to being the ordinary sleepy girl in this bed, who needs to get up for work in an hour, a half hour. That’s a good thing, right?
Try not to take yourself so seriously. Fail.
Throw off the layers of blankets and unearth the cooled-off hot water bottle; trip over your new shoes that you got on sale over the weekend. Run barefoot and be-toweled down the stairs to the bathroom. Lather up, rinse off, use your special shampoo and your nicest-smelling soap. Don’t think about any other hands that have washed your shoulder blades, or any other eyes that have smiled at your slicked back shower hair. Don’t look at your drippy scrubbed-clean body in the mirror. Tell yourself you’ve drowned the dream down the drain.
Try to snap out of it. Fail.
Dressed and scarved and sunglassed, run out the door and down the steps and up the street, turning up the music to fuzz away the sickish stench of the dream: the dream that won’t seem to release you, the dream that’s not that big of a deal, the dream that was only a dream, that has nothing to do with you or your life or anything, no matter what your subconscious has to say on the matter. Straighten your back, march up the road, turn up the music. It’s a Tuesday in April, the night is over, it’s a brand new day. The sun is well and truly up. Is that a bird you hear singing?
Try not to take comfort in obvious metaphors. Fail.