This Daily Prompt is the original inspiration for this post. It’s difficult for me to write, as I don’t normally remember my nightmares. I’m on such heavy medication that I have deep foggy sleep where I barely dream, nevermind have nightmares, so until recently, I didn’t know what they felt like. Anyway, here is my best shot…
There are three doors, all of equal width apart, and all the same shade of blue, which white numbers on the door. Which do I pick? I close my eyes, spin around, and stumble vaguely in the direction of the doors, entering the first one I find. Disabled people are begging in the streets, painfully thin and stinking. There is a person with a disability trying to go the wrong way through the Christmas Crowd. Pushing, pushing with all their might. I can see the effort they have to put in. They are pale, sweating and exhausted. I reach out to try to help, but they cannot see me. Yet I cannot take my eyes off their struggle. I wonder, where is their support worker, why such struggle on their own? People in the crowd tut and glare at the person, swearing under their breath at the persons stupidity in trying to fight the crowd. The do not see the person or their struggle, merely the incontinence. I stare, helpless to do anything.
Memory of struggle
Slowly, a memory comes back to me. I was that person fighting the crowds. Sweating and fighting to stay on my feet, determined to push on. I hear it, I cannot miss it. The person does not try to hide their contempt. They shout at me, swearing. Supposedly under their breath, but loud enough for me to hear. The memory is but that. Part of my nightmare… long enough ago not to remember the words, near enough to remember the swearing and the contempt. They, and the crowd, and the fight was the reason I finally gave in. I’d had enough. The next time I went to fight the crowds, I had a weapon. Not a very secret one, but a weapon. One capable of inflicting harm, nipping ankles and causing more trouble. I do not care, I am only relived that I do not have the same struggle, I have a new struggle but it is not the same nightmare as the old one.
Exploring my surroundings
The memory disappears as quickly as it came. I wonder, what else is there here? I do as the person with a disability I saw, and fight the crowds. They cannot see me, yet are aware of an inconvenience. Irritation upon irritation. I find a shop, filed with food and good things. Freshly baked bread, warm from the oven. Cakes of all kinds, glistening icing, full of shiny fruit. Chocolate cake, dark and indulgent. Lovely fruit juice, something to quench my thirst. I feel in my pocket, searching for money. I find a few coins, not enough to buy anything. I find my wallet, go to a cash machine, reaching the buttons with difficulty. I check my balance. There is nothing. I wonder when I will have more, and with horror realize I have a few days of not eating, meaning a hospital visit for dehydration. My money for that month had gone. I wonder, how have I spent it? Perhaps on my mobile phone bill? My connection to people, to help, an antidote to the aching loneliness which sometimes haunted me. Or my food shop, supposed to be for food, but spent on washing powder, cleaning products. I could go on, but cannot bear it. I feel it afresh. Deep and Raw. So, what do I do? Join the other beggars, it’s them who shout the loudest, and yet no-one hears me, so no one gives me anything, I am invisible to them.
I wake up shivering and sweating, struggling for breath. The pain rises in my chest, breath is harder to find. Eventually the feeling passes, and I drift into a sleep which gives no rest, fighting and fighting till I lose the duvet. I am freezing, yet I do not wake. In the morning, I go to put on my trousers. I used to have help to this. I reach into the pocket, and find a few coins. This was no nightmare…
At the moment, this is just the stuff of nightmares. And yet, the present reality is bad enough. See my previous post. Who knows what will happen when “Universal Credit” comes in?