The classic example is a dream I had about my Medieval Literature exam when I was an undergraduate. In the dream, I had to write the exam on a school bus which was driving along extremely bumpy dirt roads. Although I tried my best to balance the exam paper on my knees, my writing was illegible, even to me. The exam was supposed to be three hours long, but after twenty minutes the bus stopped and my professor climbed on and announced that time was up.
I had that dream two days AFTER I wrote the exam. Clearly I was still processing a few things.
Saturday night, I had a truly ridiculous dream. It was the day E. was starting school and I had to go and buy him clothes. For reasons that remained unclear in the dream, E. was not wearing pants from the outset, just undies and a shirt. I was trying to buy him clothes in some giant building that looked a lot like a fair barn. I couldn’t find the racks for his size and I was worried the clothes wouldn’t be clean (it was some sort of second-hand sale). Oh, and about halfway through the dream it became clear that it was winter because I kept having to run between the buildings trying to find the right area for his size and there was snow and ice on the ground. And somewhere along the line we were in a bathroom and the toilet flooded and E. sat in it and got his sweater wet (he wasn’t wearing one earlier in the dream) and we had to take the sweater and the shirt off and then I started worrying he would get too cold (because it was winter). And one of my sisters, my father and my stepmother were all there going shopping with us as well, and I think an ex-boyfriend turned up at one point (one I no longer speak to because he went a bit weird when I broke up with him), but that part is a bit muddy.
The dream ended with me looking at the time and realizing that there was no possible way I was going to be able to find E. clothes in time to get him to school before it started and he was therefore GOING TO BE LATE ON HIS FIRST DAY EVER. (If you know me, you will know that this is the stuff of true nightmares. I still feel a bit panicked remembering it.)
Then I woke up.
If you ask E. if he is excited about kindergarten, as people have been doing the last little while, sometimes he will just nod and say yes with a bright smile because he knows that is the expected answer. But if you catch him off guard, or he feels comfortable, he will tell you the truth: that he is “feeling a bit worried and a little sad”.
But I can’t let him see that.
So it comes out in my dreams instead.
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