Another restless night. She doesn't know any other sort of sleep. She doesn't always wake from sleep during the night, but often the act of sleeping is more tiring than not sleeping.
Her dreams are, by turns: disturbing, hilarious, heartbreaking, nostalgic, violent, melancholy, full of love, full of anger and frustration, sad, arousing. Sometimes they are all that at once. They are always vivid and full of passion, whatever the overarching sense is.
Sometimes she wishes she didn’t feel things so intensely, even in sleep. But when friends or family tell her they don't dream — or at least they don't remember their dreams — it makes her feel sad for them. She would never want to stop dreaming, or to stop remembering most of her dreams. Despite all the ways her body physically ties in knots during the night. Despite all the ways her mind mangles itself as her eyes flicker under their lids in the dark. She would never will that other world away; want it gone.
The tension in her muscles. The ache in her bones. The tangle of nerves under her pale skin as her body physically responds to what is happening in her dream (or is the storyline in her dream dictated by the sensations in her resting body as it recovers from the previous day, week, months?)
She feels the emotional and mental sensations of her dreams through her body as she sleeps and wonders that it remains mostly prone while she’s unconscious. She wonders that she doesn't wake up physically entangled by her bedsheets, imprisoned in them, given the way her mind and heart often feel when she wakes from dreams in tears or in anger, her throat dry and hoarse as though she’s been screaming or yelling in reality as well her imagination.
From time to time she’s awoken by her own voice, albeit trapped in the back of her throat. She wakes to uncontrollable tears. To shaking; to breathlessness or ragged breathing; to unutterable fear and a racing heart. That one time she woke to laughter, her own, opening her eyes to find her partner staring at her through the morning light, incredulous at the sight of someone laughing in her sleep.
She dreams of sleepy, but impassioned, entanglements as her body lies beside another. So vivid that when she wakes to find them breathing deeply, sleeping soundly, she’s startled it was just a dream. The pleasurable ache between her legs lingers for long moments after waking, making her question everything around her.
Most nights her body temperature rises. She sleeps lightly clothed, aware that too much material close to her skin will cause her to overheat. Will cause her to wake in the night, her hair a damp mass encircling her neck, strangling her.
Other nights she shivers, feverishly, though the night be mild. Conscious of the need to add layers, she nevertheless dreads uncurling herself and unwrapping herself from her bedclothes to venture into the fresh night air to find more clothing. She curls into herself, knees drawn up to belly, elbows and wrists aligned, cupped hands clasped together and nestled between neck and pillow.
She dreams of houses she's lived in and those she can only dream of living in. She revisits houses she's never physically stepped foot in, but that she remembers from other dreams. Houses of many rooms, and many corridors twisting and turning. Lavish in parts; derelict in others. She makes her home in them or moves from them. Oftentimes they unexpectedly fall apart, become derelict, or she simply finds herself evicted.
For months before and after travel she dreams of planes and missed flights; of being far from home; of uprooting her life yet again to other shores.
She dreams of family long gone as though they weren't. Those dreams are often the hardest, as it's like saying goodbye all over again as she wakes.
She learned years ago that if you force yourself to wake from a bad dream to escape it, you need to fully wake, rouse yourself completely from the dream, or you will fall back into the same dream. But if you are woken prematurely from a beautiful, pleasurable dream, you can never just fall back into it, no matter how you let your mind run over the memory of the dream as you fall back into slumber.
Her mind is a tapestry to be woven then picked apart. An embroidery to be carefully created with fine needlework only to be tattered with sharp blades. It creates its own reality, then breaks it up into a million pieces. All within a matter of hours. Every night.