Dakota 18

Sleep paralysis was an interesting phenomenon. Hyper-realistic dreams made it difficult to tell I was asleep, until the pressure in my chest, the inability to breathe, and the feeling of being made of stone clued me in. It happened so frequently I’d learned to just roll with it, forcing my breathing to change and then yanking myself into a new position to wake myself up.

The only problem with that was sometimes not wanting to wake up.

I’d been at work for a Halloween show shift– which, in itself, should have been a clue that was dreaming– and sitting in the quick change room texting. It seemed so real, the constant movement of dancers and singers around me, the incessant chatter, the bad pop music.

Texting, I was always texting. Seeing Dakota’s name on my phone was one of my favorite parts of the day. It still, for some ridiculous reason, made my heart flutter. Even in my dreams, apparently.

I can’t find you.

His text sent me on a mission, walking out of the quick change room and finding myself in the audience. I watched the Halloween show, one of the musical theatre esque numbers before a dance number Dakota was in. I knew somehow that he was hidden just behind the curtains, and waited for him.

My phone went off again.

Wanna be my Christmas present?

Weird how that thought filled me with excitement and warmth. My chest felt full and tight, almost like… like…

I grounded, my mind jolting awake while my body stayed frozen. It felt like having someone lay on me, while I struggled to move. Every time I thought I’d rolled over, my brain clicked back to reality, and I found myself in the same position. Three tries later, I managed to suck in a breath and roll onto my back, staring at the ceiling of my bedroom. It was still night, I had a few hours left to sleep. Obviously it had been a dream, it hadn’t made a damn lick of sense, it couldn’t have been real.

Yet, like the masochist I was, I checked my phone. No messages.

The feeling of warmth in my heart remained, despite knowing that those messages hadn’t been real. It wasn’t even that exciting now that I was awake. But then, why did it feel like something had changed?

I couldn’t stay awake long enough to figure it out.

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