“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


Whose Dream Is This Anyway?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I was asleep when it attacked, gripping my leg in pain. My calf screamed out for me to save it, but sleep still kept me powerless to assist. Somehow my reaction to the pain woke my husband next to me.

“You okay?” he asked groggily.

“Mmm....” My language skills were slow to awaken. “Cramp,” I managed to mutter. When he didn’t respond I repeated the single word, the only word my brain could find at the moment. “Cramp,” I said a little louder.

Suddenly my vocabulary burst over my sleepy haze like the first rays of sun over the horizon. “Charlie horse,” I blurted.

“Ohhhh.” His voice oozed compassion.

“It’s starting to fade now.” I realized that my pain had disturbed his sleep as well as mine. “I’m sorry,” I said.

“For what?”

“For waking you.”

“Oh, it’s okay. Those things can really hurt.” And knowing that I was okay again, he rolled over and went back to sleep.

I, however, was not so lucky. Nature called just moments later, so I rolled out of bed and made my way blindly through the dark into the bathroom. Walking was a good way to work out the remains of the leg cramp anyway.

Diva was lying on the rug in the bathroom. Her purrs immediately filled the room when I entered, and she began to rub on my ankle, the wall, the floor – anything that might be willing to scratch behind her ears.

I tried to remember the whole of my recent ordeal. How did I wake him anyway? Was I writhing that badly? Did I actually cry out in pain? What woke him?

Several sleep-filled hours later, nature decided it was his turn to be awakened by its call. His absence woke me too, and the question was still there. “So how did I wake you anyway?” I asked him.


“When I woke up with that charlie horse – how did I wake you up anyway?”

“Um, I think you dreamed that.”

“No, remember? I woke you and you told me it was okay because those things really hurt.”

“No, I think you dreamed that whole thing.”

“But I remember. And I got up and used the bathroom afterward. I remember it.”

He crawled back into bed and went back to sleep while I laid there wondering.

Did I really dream the whole thing? Or was he sleeping when he responded to me? It’s strangly unnerving to know that this is just one of those questions that will never be answered.

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