• Sam Fleming

My first memory is a dream

On February 10th, 2002, my brother’s birthday, I dreamt that I was in a room like my bedroom, but everything was out of place. As I searched around for what was off, I heard the sound of a vacuum in the distance. The hum of the vacuum got closer and closer to me until it was smothering. I ran from the vacuum for hours until I woke up screaming. Nobody came to get me so I cried until I fell back asleep. The next morning, I met my brother for the first time.


I usually have vivid, terrifying and exciting dreams that have always felt as authentic as reality. I have only died in a dream once. I ran under an atomic bomb. I have heard about people dying in dreams and immediately waking up, but I didn’t wake up. I dreamed of nothing for what felt like forever. I just looked up what “dreaming of nothing” is supposed to mean and google told me, “To dream of an empty void of reflects your feelings about a situation being totally devoid of all hope, love, or purpose,” but that wasn’t how it felt at all. It wasn’t a void of nothing, it was actually nothing. There was no color, sound or temperature. There was just space and that space was both calming and scary. The next morning, I woke up and life went on.


I have no control over where my dreams go and I never realize that I’m dreaming. I have this recurring dream that I’m on a gameshow like Jeopardy. The atmosphere is always fun and the categories are all subjects that I seem to know really well, like “Name the Kanye Song,” and strangely my opponents know them just as well as I do. It all feels way too easy. Eventually, either I or one of the other contestants answer a question wrong and a winner is crowned. The next morning, I wake up and realize that I just played a game of Jeopardy against myself.


The last dream I remember having was right before I left school. I was in the darkroom developing photos that I didn’t remember taking. Even though they were supposed to be black and white when I took them out of the wash they were so colorful. It was like I was there in the photos with their subjects.


I thought coming home would make my dreams more vivid. I thought since there was so much less to do my mind would run wild. I thought my dreams about home would begin to merge with my dreams about school until I could barely tell the difference. That didn’t happen. Instead, my dreams started to fade.


I haven’t been able to remember a single dream the past couple of weeks. I think my mind knows that not much will be different when I wake up each day. The days have started to blend together and there’s not really a tomorrow anymore. There just aren’t enough characters that I see every day to make up my dreams. Maybe I’ll adapt eventually and start dreaming about Facetime calls or Zoom meetings, but I honestly hope that never happens.


Two of my favorite songs are named “Dreams.” Hopefully, my dreams will come back soon.





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