I remember now ... my torture was to be "baptized" in the river, being held under for ten seconds for each member of my family. They'd pull me up and laugh and shout, "One for your mother!" then under water, then "One for your father!" and so on.
Then, just when I thought they'd run out of family, they said, "Now, one for each person you've ever loved." And they started going through friends, past and present, as if they could read my mind. Then they shouted "Now, one for each person you've ever hated!" and started going through that list.
In hindsight, this torture was reminiscent of the coffin used to punish young Jesse Custer in Garth Ennis's graphic novel Preacher. If you haven't read it, venture with care as it is some really disturbing stuff, and the coffin will probably give you nightmares too.
I started to run, and someone grabbed me and pulled me through the trees ... and I was at my parents' house, the home where I grew up. There was this strange man holding a photograph of the man staked to the ground, bleeding, and he shook his head and said, "You're one sick boy if you're into this."
He had written SICK BOY on the photograph in black magic marker, and my mind immediately went to the character of Sick Boy in Danny Boyle's Trainspotting (played by Jonny Lee Miller, who is currently Sherlock Holmes in the American TV series Elementary).
Please check out Les's blog out here. Perhaps it will give you insight as to why he rescued me from a bad dream.
When I woke up, it was only midnight. I walked around the house for awhile, afraid to go back to sleep. In hindsight, what disturbs me most is the religious symbolism of the torture (baptism and crucifixion), and the obvious parallels I drew between the dream and the spiritually challenging Preacher comic book.
At the same time, there is my online friend Les. Because we have not met, I have come to think of him only as a spiritual (not physical) presence; ergo, he was something of an angel, reminding me that my soul is still "sick" in some way. That is not surprising as the concatenation of events over the last month have made me dance dangerously close to taking a drink, thus breaking 19 years of sobriety.
In AA, they say alcoholism is a "sickness."
What else does it mean? I do not know. What I do know is that through grace I have not taken that drink. But at this writing, it is just after 11:00 p.m. the following night ... and I'm afraid to go to bed again.
I haven't been this afraid of sleep since I was a kid.
I am messed up. Shadows are everywhere. I feel a bit like Alice in Cat People, walking through the darkness with only tiny patches of light from strategically placed street lamps, and all the while something bitter and vindictive stalks me from the shadows. At times like this, it is best to stay in those patches of light. It is best to hold onto the nontoxic ones, be they friends you've known all your life or those you've only connected with online.
That's the way I see it anyway. Don't ask me to explain anything else. Amahoro.