Inspired by and dedicated to my Father-In-Law, Paul.
Ever have those moments as you wake up when the momentary images of dreams slip from your grasp like wisps of clouds or sand through your fingers? I’m sure most people have those moments. How often have you thought, “I was dreaming, but I can’t remember what,” in the moments after you awoke?
There is a place between conscious and unconscious where dreams and reality meet. A place where the unreal seems real, and the real is unsubstantial. Maybe you’re not sure what is real and what isn’t.
Or maybe you confuse the real with the dream.
Our subconscious incorporates stimulus into our dreams to keep us asleep so we receive the rest we need. Those last moments before we become fully awake are often warm fuzzy moments and nothing seems better than snuggling into the comforter and making it last as long as possible.
The white stripe flashed and then again. Over and over. “What is that?” he wondered. Dimly he heard the low whine that existed only as background noise and wished it would go away. It disturbed, pecked at his conscious mind and made him want to look up and around to see what it was. But that was the last thing he wanted to do. He was warm and comfortable and wanted that feeling to last forever.
Last forever, like he wanted the love between himself and his wife to last forever. They were newly married, far from home in another state where he worked at an army base. Life was a struggle and their small apartment cost more than they could afford, but they eked out a living as best they could.
The white lines kept flashing and the whine persisted, continuously intruding on his half-slumber dreamworld.
“What are those?” he wondered in irritation. Nearly awake and still, the white lines flashed and flashed, one after another in a rhythm as steady as a heartbeat, or distant tribal drums in the jungle. Something pressed against his head, hard and cold and unforgiving. He thought about moving his head away from it and didn’t. He just wanted to sleep and that stupid, endless whine and the flashing white lines kept him from slipping completely into a deep slumber.
A sudden bump jarred him from that almost asleep, dreamlike state. The white lines flashed, the tires whined and the engine grumbled. The button on his shirt pressed annoyingly into his chin and the glass of the window flattened the side of his face. All those were sudden, glaring clues to Danger! Danger!
With a start, Paul came fully awake and jerked his head up. He was barreling down the right side of the road, the speedometer needle buried, out of sight, heart pounding. He took his foot from the accelerator. Gradually the needle reappeared and settled down to a feeble 50 miles per hour. The truck tires whined and the center line markers on the road flashed by, one after another. The rhythmic beat tempered by the decreased speed of the truck.
The lonely road stretched on before him and he wondered how long he’d been half asleep, or even asleep. Was it possible he’d actually slept? Had he been sleeping? For how long? All questions he could only speculate at.
My father-in-law was drafted and after basic training, was sent to an army base where he drove trucks and tested missiles. At the end of a double shift, after days of pulling double shifts, he was sent out to deliver supplies from his base to another base. The road was deserted and the broken white lines that marked the center of the road were mesmerizing. He came fully awake with his head down, looking at the white lines as they flashed by.
Most memories of that half-awake sleep state escape us. We just can’t hang on to them. But that memory was one that my father-in-law never forgot as long as he lived. He only told me of the white lines flashing endlessly by until somehow he woke up, but it was enough to help Muse write the rest of the story.
Copyright © 2012 MJ Logan Writer All Rights Reserved
No republication without expressly written consent.