Time Warp

low angle view of spiral staircase against black background
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For as far back as I can remember, I have had the occasional odd thought that when I go to bed at night, I will wake up and it will be sometime far in the past of my life, and everything since that time has been a dream.

Sometimes, the thought comes after a particular milestone. When I turned 10 years old, for instance, I remember going to sleep that night, wondering if I would wake up and be six or seven years old, and all of the accomplishments of the past few years would be erased in the few waking moments as the dream disappates.

I’ve never quite shaken this. Even now, at fifty, I sometimes drift off to sleep, wondering if I will wake up and be fifteen, and have to do it all over again: high school, S.A.T.s, college, jobs, life. It would be nice to think that if I did have to do it all over again, I’d have some foreknowledge, thanks to my “dream”–but that is not how dreams work–at least not for me. The dream fades quickly, the details sinking like stones in water, until all that is left is the ripples on the surface that hint at something that was once there.

I wonder if this is a common thought? I’m not going Google to see if it is or not, but I have to think that it is fairly common. My all-time favorite Star Trek episode (of any of the series) is “The Inner Light“, and perhaps one reason I like it so much is because the story is another version of my dream fantasy–to live an entire lifetime in a dream, and then awaken from it to find that you are back where you started, and only a few minutes have gone by.

I suppose that Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is another form of this fantasy of mine, with all of the events of the story happening in a single night.

The difference between these two stories and my own peculiar fantasy is that in mine, I’d wake up with only the vaguest, fading memories of my dream experience, while in both “The Inner Light” and “A Christmas Carol” it is the memory of the events that allow for the characters within the story to grow.

Written on June 20, 2022.

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