riding the dead train

The other night I dreamed I was riding a train, a mask partly covering my eyes. I swayed from side to side to the rhythm of the train’s movements - chugug-chugugChugug-chugug. It was a narrow train, with just one seat on either side, and an aisle down the middle. I was seated six seats from the front. Those seats were empty.

The train seemed to be passing through an underground tunnel – I saw lights flashing at intervals. Light dark light dark. Light dark light dark.

Somehow I sensed everyone I knew, and loved, was seated behind me, filling the rest of the compartment.

I heard a friend’s voice say, matter-of-factly, “You’re riding the dead train. You want to get off, but you can’t.”

I’ve never heard this friend speak in English, and I’ve known him for more than twenty years. I found it odd that in my dream he was using a language he’s not comfortable with.

I felt more disturbed than afraid, but the undercurrent of terror stemmed from a feeling that if I didn’t wake up, I would die. I have these dreams from time to time – a vague sense of doom coupled with wanting to wake up but feeling paralyzed, unable to move or open my eyes.

I struggled to wake, frantic, like a swimmer with lungs depleted of oxygen, paddling upwards to the light. I cracked my eyes open, partly, to see my eldest daughter, still awake, doing something on her laptop, looking at me with puzzlement on her face.

I screamed. “Help! help!” She frowned, got up, and removed a pillow lying on my chest.

I felt nothing – neither heat nor cold nor the weight of the pillow being lifted from me. But the movement was enough to jar me into complete wakefulness. My daughter helped me sit up, and gave me a drink of water. Shuddering, I told her about my nightmare.

She told me my eyes were not open halfway, but stark wide staring at her. She said I did not scream, only whispered. She thought I was joking.

She listened to my story.

“I was riding the dead train, Alex! Where was it going? And I couldn’t get off!”

Her answer:

“Don’t go alone. Here, take this.”

She then thrust her two-foot long stuffed orca into my arms.

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7 Comments on riding the dead train

  1. JoniB
    13 November 2010 at 10:52 am (2623 days ago)

    What a sweet daughter you have!
    I don’t know why most people dismiss dreams as something your brain is doing to reset itself and that they mean nothing. Dreams are fascinating to me. I’ve been having lucid dreams myself lately. I suggest you visit http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/ to see what the dream symbols may mean for you.

  2. pinoytransplant
    13 November 2010 at 11:12 am (2623 days ago)

    Very vivid dream. You even remember the number of rows where you were seated. 6th row? Meaning?

    Though I will not speculate on the meaning of your dream, I can tell you though that it happen during REM stage of your sleep since you remember it very clearly. During REM, our body is physiological paralyzed, does you cannot move. Sleep paralysis, or waking up and cannot move is classic with narcoleptics, though it can occur occasionally in normal people especially if sleep deprived.

    Recommendation: embrace Orca and sleep some more.

  3. Bea
    13 November 2010 at 11:19 am (2623 days ago)

    That’s both sweet and funny. You are lucky to have such smart, beautiful and thoughtful daughters. You raised them well. :)

  4. Bea
    13 November 2010 at 11:28 am (2623 days ago)

    Hm. My comment wasn’t saved. Hehe. Anyhoo, you are lucky to have daughters who are smart, beautiful and thoughtful. Take care of yourself always, girl. :)

  5. rod
    13 November 2010 at 7:30 pm (2623 days ago)

    You really have a sweet daughter.

    I am not authority on dreams. But one thing for sure, dreams are subconcious responses to the physical state of sleeping. Your positions, the sounds, the climate while you’re asleep are subjects to your dreams. The pillow on top of your chest was felt by your body, no matter how light it was, your subconscious interprets it with those metaphors in your dream. I read this long time ago, where sleep specialist experimented on sleeping positions.

    Not being able to move in dreams have something to do with your sleeping position. Dream hermeneutics is another. Our mind constructs metaphors out of many things from our conscious life. Subconsciously, you are processing some wake life events. Your movement from one work to another, the weight of the task you have, and other things that you have to attend to, your concern for your health, and the value of your family (children) for whom you are doing all this things.

    The light and dark stuffs are another metaphor for choices, values and decisions that consider life virtues. The fact that the train is moving does not mean anything of a dead train. That is mobility which is constant in your life. In which you would like to spend more time is another.

    Hey!!! I sound like a dream doctor. Hahaha!

  6. Alex
    13 November 2010 at 10:18 pm (2623 days ago)

    See?? I told you taking Orca would work! You were able to sleep soundly after that, and the random weirdness was enough to dissipate the fear left over from your dream.

    *pats Orca* WHO’S A GOOD ORCA? YOU ARE, YES YOU ARE~<3*

  7. JennyO
    14 November 2010 at 7:17 am (2623 days ago)

    Hi, JoniB! Thanks for sending the link. It’s interesting to learn about dream interpretation – something I hadn’t really thought about before. I just treated dreams as subconscious movies. :)

    Doc Amer, thanks for the explanation! So you mean I can let myself ‘go under’ and won’t really die if I don’t wake up? I will obey your recommendation and get more sleep, while hugging Orca. :)

    Bea, I am blessed to have two wonderful daughters who are doing a good job of raising themselves and keeping me on track. XD

    Rod, that’s a fascinating comment. Paper na yan, ah. :) You know, I had not thought of textually analyzing dreams or treating them as artifacts. I am intrigued by your interpretation of the phenomenon, and I agree with it. Next time I dream, I will analyze it this way to get rid of the fear I feel. :)

    Alex, thank you for saving me from the bad dream! *hugs you and Orca* YES INDEEDY THAT’S A GOOOOOD ORCA RIGHT THERE <3

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