Last night I dreamed that I was riding somewhere in the backseat of a car, and when we stopped, the door opened and I saw Leah standing there. Her hair was long, like it used to be when I first met her, and she was looking at me and smiling. As she got into the car she reached for me and pulled me close to her, enfolding me into her arms. She rested her head on my shoulder and whispered into my ear, "It's all right. It'll be all right now. You're going to be all right now. I'm here, it's all right." For a long while we stayed like that in a kind of silent repose, sharing a desperate embrace. The feelings of joy and relief and comfort as I held her in my arms felt simply to good to be true. Then I realized that none of it was real, and that it was all just a dream.
I woke up then with such an empty feeling of loss that I couldn't help breaking down into silent sobs. I felt that same, God sized hole right in the center of my chest again, feeling as if the pain from almost two years ago hadn't even begun to fade at all. It's not unusual for this to happen when I wake up from an emotional dream, so I knew that the feeling would eventually go away after I'd gotten up and around and started going about my day. At that moment though it was almost unbearable, and I sat up and cried into my bunched up sheets for a long time. My nose got so stuffed up that when I tried to lie back down on my side, my sinuses would drain and clog up my ear with that ugly imbalanced feeling. Sometimes when that happens, one of my ears will get locked up in that 'low pressure sucked in state' - which really sucks, as anyone who is familiar with it knows. After I'd gotten over my bout of boo-hooing, I felt around for something to blow my nose with. I didn't have anything handy, and it was dark and too dadgum cold to get out of bed just for some tissue, so I blew my nose with a towel that was lying on the floor next to my bed. I sat up for a while longer waiting for my sinuses to get back to normal, and after I was all dried up, I turned over and eventually went back to sleep.
I started dreaming again almost immediately, and this time I was at Leah's house in Michigan where her parents live. It was early morning and I was bundled up in some covers on their couch, watching TV with her family like we did a couple of summers ago when we drove up there to visit. I looked around for Leah but she wasn't there. I felt like crying again, but I held it back and just sat there snuggled up on the couch as we all watched TV. In my dream I drifted off to sleep, and in that dream within a dream, I cried the kind of epic crying that I can only do in dreams. For a long time I let it all out in great, wretched, noisy sobs, until finally I felt a hand gently shaking my shoulder. I woke from the dream within a dream and saw Leah's mom sitting next to me.
"You were crying," she said. "Were you dreaming about Leah again?" I wiped my eyes and looked around and remembered waking up after embracing Leah in the back seat of the car, and how it had just been a dream, and then waking up again on the couch at Leah's parents' house, and all the dream-sobbing that followed, and finally being awoken by Leah's mom and knowing that this part was also just a dream. I answered, "Yeah," and started crying again. Leah's mom moved close to me and wrapped me in her arms. She rocked me back and forth, and as I was falling asleep again, she whispered in my ear, "Shhhhhh... don't cry, everything is going to be all right. You're ok now, you're going to be ok. Everything is just fine. It's all right. Don't cry, everything is going to be all right."
And I went back to sleep in that dream, and I didn't dream anymore dreams within dreams, or any kind of dreams after that.