Driving down a dark road at night. Unfamiliar road and car, and not driving, but riding in the passenger's seat. Just that alone is enough to render me uneasy from the start.
So far, there is darkness and loss of control. And nothing has happened yet.
A disembodied voice, that in my dream I know belongs to the driver, tells me to fasten my seatbelt. Reasonable request that sends shivers through me even as I comply, because I've been here before and I know what is to come. The prescience only heightens my dread.
I've had this dream dozens of times in my life, beginning around the age of ten.
And here comes the bridge. An old-fashioned bridge like you see in rural areas of the Midwest or New England, wooden with slats that don't seem suffcient to hold the weight of an automobile. Short railings along the side, and it's through these railings we crash, plummenting the thankfully short distance to the water below.
The water begins to fill the car, first slowly, then with a rush as the driver rolls down the window and frees him/herself, abandoning me to my fate. I frantically push at the old-fashioned push button release of the seatbelt, to no avail. It's stuck fast and the belt has tightened around me. Thrashing around, I try desperately to loosen the stricture. Nothing helps and the water inexorably rises as the car sinks.
Chest. Neck. Chin. Ears, as I tilt my head, still working at the belt, my fingers growing numb in the frigid matte black water. Temples, and now I'm submerged, thinking belatedly that I should have taken a deep breath before I lost the opportunity. My lungs are bursting with the need to breathe.
Just as I can hold my breath no longer...I snap awake. Sometimes bolt upright in bed. Sometimes in a random part of the house, always in motion as if I was running from my fate as I couldn't do in my subconscious. Always breathing as if to suck in every molecule of blessed oxygen within reach.
I don't know whether I've been holding my breath in actuality, as in my dream.
And I wonder sometimes what will happen the time I have this dream...and don't wake up in time. All I know is, I don't want to die in my sleep like many people say they do, because I fear this would be my last experience on earth.
Let me be aware and able to act, oh please, oh please.