Recurring dreams are strange. I imagine they are the result of unresolved issues or traumatic experiences. I have a few. I see how they might relate to current struggles or past events. Like most, I don't remember the precise circumstances of the dreams once I awake. This is more true now that I'm older. Usually, I can recall what happened just before my eyes snapped open. I might remember some of the other players, but not always. I don't dream often of the people I spend the most time with in waking life, so I rarely see my wife and children while asleep. This is probably because we're very supportive of one another and don't leave personal issues unresolved.
I dream of the people I miss. My brothers, my parents, my grandparents, close friends. They recur. Certain settings reappear. I dream often of the Greek restaurant where I worked while in my 20's. I left that place unexpectedly and can see why it shows up. I also miss the Greeks. I know people believe you can't die in your dreams, but I was shot to death outside the Greek restaurant once. I walked to my pickup truck after work and a stranger pulled up on a motorcycle, leveled his firearm at my forehead, and blew me away. The last thing I remember was collapsing to the pavement. I saw blood pooling around my eyes as I lay on the concrete. I never see myself from outside my body. I dream in color. My blood was red.
Tornadoes appear frequently in my dreams but not as often as they used to. This is probably a recurring image for most. Our world is turbulent. What better metaphor than a destructive cyclone? Our brains know what they're doing even when we don't. This could also be inspired by my love of the movie The Wizard of Oz and my hope for happiness somewhere over the rainbow.
I chase the Devil in my dreams. He's exactly what you would expect: pointy black beard, scarlet skin, bent horns, shiny pitchfork. He only lets me catch a glimpse of his face and then runs from me. I call for him, challenge him, but he never steps up. That's what's so frustrating. I'd rather him kick the fuck out of me, skin me alive, burn me at the stake. Instead, he's a coward. I guess I shouldn't expect more. I can't stand the pretentious or those who act tough.
I'm most scared in my dreams when I can't get the bathroom lights to turn on. This is the closest I come to having a nightmare. It's so fucking weird. But I panic. Start sweating. Call for help. Flick the switch multiple times. Nothing happens. I don't get hurt. Don't sense any near and present danger. I just stand there in the dark looking at myself in the mirror. And I'm frightened.
I have two recurring dreams that are somewhat similar. Both have to do with roads. In one, I'm stuck in the middle of a busy street, trying to crawl across traffic, but I can't make it to either side. I never get hit by the passing cars. I just reach out for the people I see standing on the sidewalks but never make it to safety. The closer I get to curbside, the slower I move and the heavier I feel. Even as I'm dragging myself along, digging my fingers, I know I'll never make it. I also drive on roads that don't take me where I want to go. Again, there's no fear, no apparent danger. I might even be enjoying myself with friends or family. But we'll drive (usually on city highways) and never reach our destination. We always know where we are and where we're going but can't figure out why we're lost (or why the drive won't end). I believe I'm reaching for the past in the first and seeking a future in the second. But here I am in both. Stuck in the present.