The nightmare begins sometime
after midnight. I dream I’m walking
through the living room and into the
kitchen. Plaster busts line the counter
beside the sink. They’re white like
Roman statues. Maybe Greek. It’s
hard to tell. I glance around to see if
others might be perched on the phone
table or the microwave or the stove.
They aren’t. I turn back to the
sink and see a framed photo of my
mother wedged between the plaster
busts. That’s when I know what’s
happening. This is a demon attack.
I blast the photo and the heads.
I don’t even think about it. I react,
like any warrior. Battle is battle.
It’s a trained response. The fireballs
I throw destroy the photo and the
busts. Instantly, my mother appears
on my left, floating above the ground
in a filmy, white nightgown. She
acts disoriented. She seems afraid.
She pretends to be an innocent victim.
She’s not. I almost laugh. I guess
this demon thinks masquerading
as my mother, the narcissist, will
rattle me. It doesn’t. Instead I walk
away from her in the same way I
left her years ago in my waking life.
My younger brother arrives in a
convertible. It’s blue, the color of
peace, freedom, flight. As I climb
into his car something startles me,
and I’m awake. One o’clock in
the morning, and the love of my
life snores softly beside me. No
nightmares for him. Flinging back
the sheets, I hurry to the dresser
and grab my pentacle necklace.
I wrap it around my wrist and sleep
soundly, dreamlessly, after that.
Something startles me again, and
I jump. “What’s wrong?” I ask.
Brilliant sunlight streams through
the curtains framing the window.
Field sparrows toss their squeaky
songs across the grass. It’s a
beautiful day. “You overslept,
sweets,” he says. I shiver when
I remember. “I had a nightmare,”
I say. “I never have those.”
Dreams are omens, signs. When
I have the time, I’ll peel this one
as if it were an orange, deciphering
its meaning, this dream about
my mother, the narcissist. And
it’s true. There are too many
narcissists in my life. Men and
women. Mostly men. I’ve been
weeding them out like the dandelions
that sneak into my garden. Pushy,
invasive, ego-maniac plants. I
deserve better than that. I do. The
next week, on a morning when
powdered clouds seed a lapis-blue
sky, the love of my life kisses my
cheek as he dashes out the door
to run errands: the bank, the post
office, the grocery store, the gas
station. He never comes back.
He even left his cat, Hecate, behind
this time. I didn’t think she could
be happy without him. She is.
So am I.