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A Bad Dream

I had a nightmare last night.

In my dream, I had been a political prisoner. I don’t think that I dreamed the imprisonment itself, or if I did, I don’t remember it. Thank the Divine. The part of the dream I do remember is my attempt to adjust back to freedom. Or, rather, the attempt by my friends and family to help me adjust. I had clearly been abused while in prison, and had somehow betrayed other people by giving information. In reality, of course, I have no information that would have interested my captors, but then, that presumably would have only made things worse.

Physically, I was very weak. I walked slowly, and leaned on support when it was available. My appetite was bad enough to be a source of concern for my family, and in fact a source of conflict, as I stubbornly refused to eat. I was also emotionally weak, for want of a better description. I wept frequently, and silently. I cowered at loud noises. I spoke very quietly; clearly I had been conditioned not to raise my voice.

In the dream, I was at a gathering, perhaps a college reunion, because a lot of my old college were there, along with (as happens in dreams) people I knew from other parts of my life. It was in a sort of resort camp in a wooded, hilly area, with a stream and a waterfall, and trails though tall trees. I remember being overwhelmed by the beauty of the area, weeping at it, and being unable to stop weeping. I also remember seeing, at a distance, other people surrounded by their friends and family, and knowing that they, too, were released prisoners, and wondering if I had been responsible for their imprisonment.

Mostly, I remember the terrible feeling of shame, combined with (or perhaps caused by) my terrible weakness. My family and friends clearly sympathized; nobody blamed me, or (as far as I remember, now that I’m awake) talked about the years in prison at all. There was, I think, a conversation about the political change that had led to freeing the political prisoners, but I don’t remember any details.

Anyway, it was just a dream.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


That's fascinating and beautifully rendered. Do you have any idea what it might have been from or in reaction to?

Well, his summary line said he took some diphenhydramine. I have no idea what that is, but it sounds potent.

Randall Munroe apparently has other experience with dreams. I'm not sure which I'd prefer, V's or his, although I've had my share of both.


Yeah, I mostly blame the antihistamine. And the news, both domestic and the focus on China, I suppose. And Little Brother, too. Although, come to think of it, other things that I have been reading have political prisoners as well. I've been reading a book about The Winter's Tale, which in all of the various bits includes imprisonment and trial, and I'm partway through one of the Fools Guild books, which has political prisoners. And one of the episodes of Northern Exposure recently had Chris-in-the-morning make the point that most of the people in the world lived under totalitarian or authoritarian regimes. None of those have much to do with my dream, though. I blame the dope.


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