I totally did not expect this topic to be a series. But then again, I didn’t expect to spend a week of my adult life being terrified of the dark. And counting.
Boyfriend arrived in town on Friday night, and as soon as he got here, I had one of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever experienced. I’m still not quite sure what happened, but I think it had to do with finally leaving the perma-anxious fight-or-flight zone I’d been hanging out in for six days. The chills from the receding adrenaline swept over my body, and I shook violently for about an hour while fighting off waves of nausea. Lying beside me in bed, he turned to me and asked “Is that your heart pounding?” He could HEAR it. When I realized what was going on, I began practicing my deep-breathing techniques that I’ve used to ward off many a panic attack, and we both fell asleep not too long after that.
Saturday night we got dressed up and ate steak at one of the fanciest restaurants in Dallas. It was a lavish affair, complete with menu “presentations” and pauses between courses. By the time we finished our chocolate lava cake and got home, it was already ten o’clock. We tossed around the idea of watching a movie but instead crashed into a joint food coma and didn’t wake up until eight the next morning.
However, to my great chagrin, I was not able to convince him to stay forever. So Sarahthe, being the kind, thoughtful friend she is, swooped in last night to fill the right side of my bed in Boyfriend’s stead. I hadn’t had a night terror since I began the sage experiment, and things were looking up. The more disturbing scenes from Paranormal Activity have stopped playing in my head in an endless loop, for one. And I hadn’t really been alone long enough to think about being terrified, for two.
After I turned off the light last night and we settled under the covers, I recounted to her all the freaky things that have happened that I didn’t disclose on my blog.
Like how sometimes Rufus will sit on my bed and stare, transfixed, at a point above my bed where the wall meets the ceiling. I can’t see anything there no matter how hard I look, and when I ask him what he sees, he’ll break his gaze, look directly into my eyes, and then look pointedly at the exact same spot, as if to say, “You’re not seeing this?” The remarkableness of this might be wasted on my blog readers who’ve never met Rufus, but there’s something you should know about him: he has no attention span. He is not a dog who stares, not even at his most favorite thing in the whole wide world, bones.
Or how one night a few weeks ago I was in the bathtub when I heard a loud BANG in my apartment. I called to Rufus, and he jumped off my bed and ran into the bathroom. His smooshy, sleepy face revealed that he’d been there the whole time. When I got out of the bath, I walked into the kitchen and found the light fixture, which had been on top of the refrigerator because I need to buy a new washer for it, lying in the middle of the kitchen floor. No idea how or why it fell.
Sarah agreed, yeah, that last one is a little freaky. And we drifted off to sleep.
Maybe an hour later, I woke up sitting straight up in bed looking at the dresser and yelling, “WHAT IS THAT?” Next to me, Sarah kept crying “I don’t see anything! I don’t see anything!” I turned on the light and stared at the dresser until what I was seeing (a pile of clothes) made sense to me again. Sarah checked my pulse, presumably because I was gasping for breath. I was only half-awake as she did so, but I was curious to find out in the morning what she observed, as well as impressed that she had thought to do so.
This morning she got up early to get to the hospital, so we didn’t really talk. When I got to work, I texted her: “So. How much of last night’s events do you remember?” Her reply: “What are you talking about?”
See, Sarah suffers from sleep disorders too, though hers are very different from mine. It would seem that instead of being the peaceful presence she intended to be last night, our respective sleep disorders bandied off of each other. But honestly, I’m not surprised that she was asleep too. Because if there’s a better metaphor for our friendship than her checking my pulse in her sleep while I freak out in my sleep, I don’t know it.