I look down for a second, but only a second, as I’m still running down the road past saloons and old timey tea shops, the bullets hitting close to my feet and flying past my face. The only time I’ve ever left the house without pants was during a fire alarm at college when I grabbed my blanket off my bed and ran outside on a cold November night. I stood in the cold shivering as the firemen came to assess the smoke filled lobby where someone had burnt a bag of popcorn. Wondering why I was so cold I jumped around a bit to warm myself up and realized my bare legs were rubbing against the blanket and not my pajama bottoms. But other than that I always leave the house with pants on. Then it clicks, I am dreaming and know I am dreaming.
Here is my chance to fly.
I drop my gun and jump up while running, hoping to take off flying like so many other people explained doing in their lucid dreams. But I just can’t take off, gravity keeps pulling me back to the dirt floor, the bullets still whizzing by (though I am no longer afraid of them hitting their mark.) Then, as dreams do, I am suddenly running on the tops of the buildings instead of next to them. I jump from building to building, soaring from one to the next.
Which gives me an idea.
I begin to run to the end of the building as fast as I can, determined to fly. As I run I pass a woman who looks eerily like myself, this version is dressed as a Plain Woman, pale green conservative dress with a head covering coming to her ears. She is in my way. But this is a dream, so I gleefully push her away from me, knowing with certainty she falls off the edge of building. That version of myself dies. I come to the end of the building and push off from the rough concrete ledge with my big toe, scraping against the roughness like the many times I jumped from the edge of a pool before diving in to the water.
And I leap, arms spread wide, the tails of the overly large white shirt flapping around me. A moment of pure freedom. Joy blossoming inside of me, and a huge grin spreads across my face. But then, I begin to fall, and fall, and fall. I hope this is a dream, I think. I hope, I hope, I hope. But I just keep falling. Wake up, Wake up, WAKE UP! I scream inside my mind, pulling it from falling down, pulling it up and up and up until I’m sitting up, awake, and breathing heavily, as though I just run a race. I lay my head back down among the pillows.
I may not have flown, but that pure moment of absolute freedom from thought, pain, gravity, replays in my head over and over. I smile.