In my dreams I can fly.

It’s one of a couple of recurring dreams I have and it goes all the way back to my childhood, when I discovered while dreaming that if someone held onto a loo roll while I grabbed the end and ran, unravelling the roll, I would take off and glide above the ground.

Yes, well. It makes as much sense as flying, right?

I no longer need the two-ply to take off in my dreams – I just jump upwards and gravity fails to happen, letting me swoop and hover and often, float off away from whatever scene I am trying to view. Forty years on from my original flight, and I still haven’t mastered control of it yet.

But one thing I have mastered is waking up from the vertigo nightmares, the other recurring theme from my childhood.

In these nightmares I am stuck either on top of a huge building, or clinging to its side, and some unknown urgency is forcing me to jump.

These nightmares are so real – I feel the yaw in the pit of my stomach as I look down at the far-away ground. There’s no mistaking that letting go means death, yet something is pressing me to jump, some frantic unknown urgency.

I had another vertigo dream last night, and just as it got to the point where I was being pushed, I thought to myself “Just wake up!” – and I did, with my heart racing and my breath shallow and rapid, belying my sense that the dream was real.

It suddenly struck me how often I have these nightmares, and how – even as a child – I was able to wake myself out of the nightmare just as I was about to jump.

Now the really odd thing here is that often as I realise it’s just a dream and I roll over to go back to sleep, the nightmare returns at exactly the point where I woke myself up at the point of jumping. I know it’s just a dream so I urge myself to jump…

I let go and jump – and I’ve never been able to remember what happens next.

© Dave Luis 2014. All Rights Reserved.
Image © Dennis Maitland from his series ‘Life On The Edge’

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