At the moment, it is 4:15 am. I have barely slept, and of course my alarm is going to go off in forty-five minutes because I have a class to teach.
It happens. Occasionally I have bouts of restlessness and insomnia, and this night has been no exception.
But sometimes I can sleep.
My girlfriend and I live together, and one night early into the transition of our domestic cohabitation, I had a nightmare.
In the nightmare, I was lying in our bed, when I suddenly heard Amanda screaming from the bathroom. It wasn't a "Hey, we're out of toilet paper" scream. She was being attacked. How, exactly, I didn't know (undoubtedly there was some dream logic going on there), but her bloodcurdling cries did what often an intense moment in a nightmare does -- it thrust me violently out of sleep, and into wakefulness.
The problem began with the fact that I was startled awake in basically the same position that I was in the dream -- on my side of the bed, with the same early morning light that was in the dream casting the room in a dim hue.
So, ripped from slumber mere nanoseconds before, into what feels like the exact same place and time as the nightmare I was experiencing, my brain/body has not yet discerned that my nightmare and waking state are two entirely separate realities, and I believe that the nightmare is, in fact, actually occurring. Even though she is no longer screaming (and in the world of reality, actually never was) I believe that she is being killed, and I burst into action, scrambling cross the bed in the direction of the bedroom door so that I may come to my love's aid and show the intruder what his spine looks like.
As I bolt across the bed on my knees and elbows, I realize that the mattress is awfully lumpy.
I look down in my panicked state to see Amanda curled up beneath the sheets in the fetal position, peering up at me between arms raised in protection.
Everything on her face is saying that she has made a terrible error in judgement about her partner in domestic tranquility, evident in the fact that he has gone full Overlook Hotel Jack Nicholson and is undoubtedly about to kill her, stuff her corpse into a trunk, and bury it out in a field with the rest of his old girlfriends.
I immediately go into damage control mode, but my body, pumping with adrenaline after bolting awake from a sound sleep like two seconds ago, betrays me -- and what I intend to say, "Oh my god, honey! Are you okay?! I'm so sorry. I was having a nightmare, and thought you were in trouble!", actually sounds more like "I--GKK--MARE--YOU--OKAY?!?!--KILL--BATHROOM--ERKKKKKKK!!!"
Which is not helping.
Quickly, quickly, quickly I am clearing the cobwebs from my brain, and am realizing that in an effort to save my dream girlfriend I have nearly trampled my real girlfriend to death. Here she was, sleeping peacefully, only to be suddenly woken, not by the nightmare as I was, but by one hundred and eighty five pounds of wide-eyed lunatic pummeling her with his shins and forearms.
Now Amanda is no wilting flower, so as I stumbling towards wide awake try to explain what I had been doing, she tells me in no uncertain terms to GET THE FUCK OFF OF HER! -- and I believe I immediately moved my ass back back a couple of feet and promptly fell off the bed and onto the floor, which served me right.
Thankfully, that was my only occurrence of bounding gleefully towards senility sudden waking mental breakdown, and she sleeps (when she is not experiencing her own fair share of brain won't shut down restlessness) peacefully beside me.
Fortunately, as I write this, she is deep in a well-deserved slumber. And as I realize it is now three minutes from alarm time, I wish I could have been there to join her in sleep.
Up and at 'em, kids! Have a great day.