Return of "The Hand"

December 29, 2005

Everyone has nightmares from time to time. The culturally common one is the "falling dream" where you dream you are falling uncontrollably and wake up suddenly, hopefully, before you smack into the ground. Years ago when I was into downhill skiing I used to have what came to be known between my skiing buddy and I as a ski-mare: dreaming you were rocketing down the slopes uncontrollably.

I, however, have another recurring nightmare, one I've had periodically since childhood. In this one there is a hand, or hand-like thing, under the covers with me. Several times while Michele was alive I had this dream intensely enough that I jumped out of bed screaming and pulled the covers completely off the bed. She was comforting and reassuring in the night, but I never really heard the end of it.

Last night, for the first time in years, I had a recurrence of the hand dream. Even thought Michele wasn't there to be woken by an agitated full-grown man having a child's nightmare, I could see her gentle smile and hear her soothing words as I tore the bed apart making sure there wasn't anything in it with me other than the cat. She also suffered from occasional nightmares so she never teased me about them. But she wasn't above a slightly-mocking sigh of resignation as we went back to sleep after I'd leapt from bed yelling, "the hand! the hand!" As I drifted back to sleep early this morning I could hear that soft sigh again in my ears.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.