Here’s a nightmare for you. ..
I dream I’m flying over the city of Chicago, not in the traditional way, but on top of a plane while hanging on for dear life with my feet eventually on the landing wheels. I have absolutely no idea how I got here. But isn’t that the nature of Dreams?
Oddly enough, I have two girlfriends who are secure at the front and the near the tail. (What’s odd about that is, I don’t have two girlfriends. Most of my friends are males. I do have one girlfriend. She copy edited my book.)
We are flying over the downtown Chicago “loop” as I try to cling to the top of the plane. Heat is coming off the high-rise buildings, causing the small craft to shake.
I keep asking if we could please land somewhere soon as I’m not sure how much longer I can hang on. I’m terrified of heights and the girls are laughing. It’s not that they are heartless. They just see no cause for alarm. They casually shout, “Just don’t look down and you’ll be fine. Hang on!”
One of them is quite comfortable and even changes positions. I ask how soon we can land, only to be told, “Not until we get to Chicago Executive.” (A small suburban airport located 40 miles north of chicago.)
“What about Meigs field?” (That’s the landing strip that Daley destroyed overnight.)
“We can’t. It’s not there anymore. Just hang on!”
I desparately look to them for emotional support. But they’re totally detached from anything I’m experiencing because they’re secure in their positions. They reiterate that I must hang on until we reach our destination.
The plane begins rolling a bit from left to right. I try to imagine that I’m the “unsinkable” Molly Brown in a lifeboat after the sinking of the Titanic. I break into song, singing “You Oughtta Be In Pictures”, (although this song is not from the film “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”). It works…but only briefly.
I’m growing tired of hanging on for dear life. I notice one of the girls shifting positions. Losing sight of my position momentarily, I decide to “do as the Romans do”, letting go for a moment to readjust my position.
I realize the impact of my decision as the wind swiftly separates me from the aircraft. Their response is like the wizard at the end of The Wizard of Oz, when the he accidentally takes flight in the hot air balloon without his intended passenger, Dorothy, onboard ” We don’t know how to help you! We’re sorry!”
It’s too late to correct it now. Nothing can be done.
I make a desparate attempt to get back by swimming the breaststroke at an altitude of 8,000 fee, to no avail. The force of the air and wind is far too great.
As I begin to freefall, I experience a momentary sigh of relief, until my sense of peace is shattered. What feels like a jolt of electricity to the head, is in fact, the stark realization that my choice to “do as the Romans do” by letting go, is irreversible and my life will be over shortly.
I can’t help but scream as I plummet towards Wrigley Field. In that brief moment, the irony is not lost on me, that after all the years of having to endure the sound of multiple sporting events on TVs throughout the house (during my 24 year marriage) my life should end by being hurled at lightening speed onto Wrigley Field.
By now, I realize that shrieking is a useless way to spend my very last moments. This is an unprecedented experience in the lives of most people. Given my ardent fear of heights, as much as I’ve dreamed of what it would feel like to skydive, I would never have had the courage to do it. It’s just my dumb luck that (regardless of that fact) I now find myself doing it, minus the essential parachute!
Do I really want to spend my last few moments of life fighting the inevitable by screaming? No. To what end?
Although I experience this myriad of emotions in what is likely a split-second, they are nonetheless prevalent in the utmost forefront of my mind.
I choose to surrender and enjoy my final ride in life, as I savor being weightless probably for the first time.
One would think that my life might flash before my eyes, but it doesn’t. On the contrary. I’m totally present and at peace…until I get much closer and begin to scream again, wondering if the wind will carry me to the open field or the bleachers. I’m praying it’s the field. Although given the speed I’m traveling at now, what difference could it possibly make?
I say “goodbye” to life as I know it, filled with abject terror at this point.
I close my eyes and reach out my arms in an effort to at least break the fall so as not to land on my head.
Suddenly out of nowhere I find myself feeling suspended. What? How is this possible ??
I open my eyes to discover that I’m a actually doing a handstand in the center of Wrigley Field without a soul in sight!
OMG!!! I’M ALIVE? I’M ALIVE!!! YAY!
How did this happen? Even better? I’m alive, on the ground doing a handstand? The shock of me being able to do a handstand is surpassed only by the realization that I’M ALIVE and unharmed.
Suddenly I wake up, feeling terrified and relieved.
This was a dream? I had NO IDEA! I’m alive and in my bed, in my lovely little apartment.
That has to be one of the scariest nightmares I’ve ever had, but what a great ending! That was exhausting. (Albeit, I’ve got a raging headache. But who cares?) What was it all about?
In the dream, hanging on so tightly and wondering how much longer I could, was the worst. But the fear of letting go was far worse than actually letting go.
So what’s the message, if indeed there is one? Maybe it’s simply to let go of the outcome of my efforts. After all, I was finally on the ground, safe.
If you read my writing, you’re aware that I’m constantly debating whether or not to “own” my truth for fear of reprisal. I love to write! I REALLY love to write. It is my hope to actually earn a proper living once again, through my writing.
I know. The odds are against it. But I don’t play the odds. What are the odds this theatre major would go into business on a lark, (which lasted 30 years) without ever taking a single business course or even having a website? Or the likelihood of finding my first love again after a 37 year absence, only to have him become my best friend on the planet? Nope. I don’t play the odds.
My ongoing dilemma is, I have so much to say and so many stories to tell that I find myself second-guessing whether or not I should.
This is my long winded way of saying that I think the dream was about letting go of trying to control the outcome. In the long run, it doesn’t really matter! I need to write! People will either read my stuff or not. That part us beyond my comtrol.
My two dearest friends have encouraged me by saying (in essence) “if you build it, they will come”. In other words, just keep writing and eventually your work will rise to the top. But (again, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz) I had to learn it for myself. It just took a hair-raising nightmare for me to realize it .
So in the event you continue to read my stuff, just know that while I may appear to be all over the map, perhaps it’s because in terms of life experiences, I’ve been all over the map! Regardless, the voice will always be mine. I can only hope and pray that something resonates with you enough to keep you engaged.
It’s time to let go of the fear and just float! I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
With utmost love and respect,
P.S. BTW, in spite of my fear of heights, I’ve actually piloted the Cessna that was in my dream.