A terrible dream

Terrible dream last night that seemed to run through all these different periods in my life. … I’m back at my bike messenger job in San Francisco peddling across the farthest outskirts of the city, lost. I’m on this steep hill, I stop and try to get ahold of the dispatcher, Little Joe, on my walkie-talkie to figure out what to do. He tells me to get back to the Financial District as soon as possible. So I’m pedaling down the hill through Chinatown, right through people’s back yards and houses. . . Then I’m lying on a bed in my childhood bedroom, my father is boaring down on me, his face close to mine, supposedly offering me advice but just screwing up my head. I glare back at him and say: “I. HATE. YOU!” . . . I walk across the playground at Ohlone Park, all the guys I used to hoop with back in the day are there playing full-court basketball again. I’m eager to play, I haven’t played in years, so I go back to my apartment to get my sneakers, which I can’t find. Then I’m looking for my glasses, I find one pair but they’re broken. Then I find my second pair but the frames are bent out of shape, and when I try to bend them back I crack the lens. I’ve ruined my glasses and can’t see. I stand there crying and wailing, this anguished scream of pain, like I’ve been driven insane by the suffering and failure and frustration of my life. Everything is completely hopeless and I’ve reached this final, doomed state. My little sister is standing nearby but she doesn’t say anything to me, doesn’t offer me any help or counsel or comfort. It’s like there’s nothing to be said, no one to turn to, and no escape from my misery. I scream again because that’s all I can do.

I wake up. Mini Scaredy is looking at me with a funny look. I wonder if I was actually screaming and wailing in my sleep. . . For most of my life I’ve had some kind of undiagnosed form of mental illness in my head. I can never quite put my finger on it but it’s like some kind of unresolved trauma that manifests in these feelings of anguish and existential dread. I’m 65 now, and I just sort of accept it and live with it as best I can, like a form of chronic pain that’s just there, a part of your being.

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