Since my trip to Salt Lake City, I have been having nightmares. Every night I wake up to Charlie shaking me. “Ann, are you alright? You were screaming in your sleep,” my husband whispers to me. I nod yes, that I am okay, and I try to go back to sleep. However, the dream which causes my husband to treat me like a rattle, haunts my mind until morning.
I am on a train with my mom and Mark. We are going somewhere mundane, a store or perhaps a park, and Mom stares at the window while Mark and I play the pinching game. All of a sudden the train stops with a jerk, and Mark pinches me by digging his nails into my soft skin. “Aaah,” I yell, and Mom turns her head to look at us. “Stop messing with her Mark,” she says. I must be about three, and I feel happy that I have an adult defender. Mom is still looking at us, and her eyes shift a little to the door of the train. A man with dark curly hair and sunglasses gets on, and he smiles at my mom before he begins to search for an empty seat.
My mom jumps up and grabs my hand. “We need to get off the train,” she says, and her voice is filled with panic. She grabs Mark with her other hand, and both of us are dragged off the train. The next thing I know I am running up and down staircases, through hallways, through streets with flower filled bushes, and I can’t seem to understand what is forcing my mom to act like a maniac. I am only three years old, but I know this running had not been planned. Around the time I have this thought, Charlie wakes me up.
I analyze the dream. I do not understand why it is scary. Nobody is chasing us while we run, and when I was three a jog through the city was more entertaining than going shopping or playing in a park. Yet I am shaking with fear when Charlie wakes me up. After I have this dream for the 10th night in a row, I realize why this dream fills me fear. This dream is not a figment of my imagination, but it is a memory.
I know the only person who can help me solve this mystery, but I do not want to call him. However, after I have this dream for the 15th night in a row, I decide to bite the bullet and call the person I hate the most. I find Mark in my contact list, and I press the green button on my phone.
“Annabelle,” Mark’s voice says, but it sounds more like a question than a statement. The shock of hearing my voice on the other end of the line, seems to have killed my any snide remark my brother could have said.
“Yes, it’s me. I’m calling because I’ve been having this strange memory. We are on a train and Mom freaks out because she sees a stranger. Do you remember an incident like that?”
“I don’t know if I remember the specific incident you’re referring too,” my brother replies. “But Mom did that a lot. She would freak out in trains, buses, and grocery stores. Once she freaked out in the zoo, and we almost ended up in the elephant habitat. Around the time I was six she stopped running from the imaginary boogeyman. I guess you were too young to remember most of this.”
“Do you know why she ran?”
“I dunno, Mom was…” Mark is silent for a moment. I want to finish the sentence for him. Mom was crazy, strange,and enigma, I think. “Mom was..Mom,” Mark says, and his description of our mother is better than mine.
“Well thanks for your help,” I say, and Mark says “Bye”. I hang up the phone, but my thoughts are not about my mom. I think about my brother, and how this is the first time in ten years that we were able to have a conversation that was not hostile. I always blamed Mark for our bad relationship, but now I wonder if the reason he always makes horrible comments to me, is because he senses the horrible thoughts I think about him.