The Room

Lady in the garden, drawn with ink on canvas, then lightly sponge painted in acrylic green.

A true story…

The room appeared slanted, like all the lines that framed the room were off, just enough to let you know, something was not right. And the only light came from high above, through a small rectangular window. The light, filtering through the darkness in shifts of unsettling, monochromatic, grays. The only furniture, was a bed, and I felt small though I was twenty years of age. Sitting there perched, like a nervous bird at the corner, waiting for something, though I did not know what.

I am not sure when I noticed the door, but suddenly, there it was. How could I have not noticed it at first? It was HUGE. like only giants passed through it. Made of old wood, it was dark chestnut, and dull in color. I remember panels, square insets, perhaps six in total. Everything about it was large, and made to make me feel small. Then suddenly, a very loud BANG. BANG, then once more. BANG. The door, though large in size, heaved and shuddered in its frame. I did not know what wanted in, but it was powerful, and my breath caught in my throat. I was terrified! And that was when I sat bolt upright in bed. Trying to catch my breath, eyes darting around my room, my hand clutching at my throat.

And that was the first night. The second night the dream came again, this time, I noticed a large iron door knob. It was round, and simple, but again. Very large. I willed my self off the bed, and walked toward the door. I remember all too well, how small my hands appeared after grasping it.

I began to struggle as I attempted to turn it in my favor, I wanted out! But it would not cooperate, it did not even budge. I felt powerless. Then, again, the loud BANG on the door. Three times it came, the door shook and quivered in its frame, and I stood paralyzed with fear. What WAS on the other side? And once more, like the night before, I woke up clutching at my throat, wanting to scream. My heart pounding wildly in my chest.

After startling my husband awake, I had told him about the dream. I was afraid to fall asleep, two days it came to me! I never experienced such a thing as this. But, you know how it is though. You get the “Wow, that’s crazy” but nothing more. He adjusts his pillow, and falls back to sleep. I lay there staring at the ceiling until breathing returns to normal, and I too fall back to sleep. Dreamless.

I spent my morning stewing over the event. Wondering what to do, pondering what repeated dreams meant. And if it was going to haunt me a third night. The husband arrived home for lunch and tossed a magazine down on the table. Nothing unusual, he has done so before. After he left to go back to base (he was in the Marines) I picked it up, and began to read through it. Interestingly enough, there was a section about dreams. And I began to read through the article with much fervor. Repeated dreams caught my attention, and I soaked up whatever I could from its helpful content.   

When I went to bed that night, pulling the covers up tight to my chin. I began to go over all the steps the article had advised me to do to conquer this dream. And bring an end to it. I knew what it was I must accomplish, I must open the door! I had to conquer my fear of what laid in wait for me on the other side.

I started softly whispering “open the door, open the door” My husband half turns toward me “What are you doing?” in a tone that might suggest, he thought I was crazy. And to be honest, I did feel that way. I gingerly began to explain “The article I read said I had to keep repeating the words, in order to complete the task in my dreams…” Silence. He adjusts his pillow and lays his head down. I am sure there was some rolling of eyes, but I was determined. I started my whispering chant once more (after husband falls asleep) I do not know for how long but at some point, I had drifted off as well.

Right on cue. The dream begins. The same way it has started the other two nights. The room, the bed, the hazy gray where just enough light cuts through so you can see. I approach the door. It starts the loud BANG. BANG. BANG. It shudders and heaves in its frame. I am terrified! I start whispering “open the door, open the door” my hands, inept, but determined, grasped with all my strength and attempted to turn the massive iron knob.

I do not know how long I struggled, I do not know how many times I had chanted. My heart beating like a bass drum within the confines of my trembling ribs. But at some point during the dream, the knob had turned! With renewed determination, I chanted louder. And then the massive door swung open, easy, on greased hinges meant for opening. And there it stood, my monster, roaring up onto his hind legs. Wings beating the air furiously.


White, blinding white, I had to shield my eyes. The contrast from the dim room to this! Amazing. The blue sky just beyond, begged for flight. For escape! And the banging? Was the hooves of this magnificent animal, as it tried to break down the barrier between us. But it was me, I had to open the door. I had to facilitate my own freedom. And the dream, came never again. But I have never forgot it, or its meaning. And I applied its lesson years later, when I had to break through the barriers of an unwell marriage. And move on with courage.

Dreams and me, we have a strange connection, I know there is power in them. Sometimes, they are crazy mixed up things. Like you marry your favorite popsicle (my sons dream) and they do not seem to make sense at all. But, sometimes, they speak to you. And most times, you can control them. When you close your eyes tonight, pay attention, to what they might be saying to you.

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