I keep having the same dream over and over again
I’m running and tripping up and messing up
and I’m breathless and I can’t keep going
but I can’t see anything else so I run and run and run.
Somebody’s chasing me and they’re not the kind of people you want on your trail.
I run and I run but they’re not done with me yet.
There’s a sun at the end of the road and there’s a harsh turn into the ocean and I fall headfirst like I always do, salt in my eyes and scrambling for air.
I fall headfirst like that time he threw me into the pool and I couldn’t breathe and my only thought when he picked me up was ‘everyone can see my underwear right now’ but they all laughed and I laughed with them and I didn’t shut up about it for months.
Like that time I kept running because I didn’t know anything but that.
Like that would solve anything. Headfirst. Still scrambling.
It’s still a dream but it’s clearer now, it’s sharp at the edges and it’s got a familiar feel. A silky tone, a blues-y rhythm, and memories, and melodies.
It’s shouting at me like I’m no good, like I don’t wanna know it, like I need to open my eyes.
I wonder when I let it wash over me, if it lingered in the air for a while and if I could have gone back. I wonder when I started speaking in past tenses and broken phrases, when I forgot how to care for my dreams and they turned into chases, into nightmares and runaways and oceans.
All dreams and curls, that’s what I was. And now I’m an ocean.
Or I wish I was.
It’s still the same dream and I think I know what it means now but I need to catch my breath. I’m done breathing underwater. I’m done pretending I don’t see it, in neon lights right in front of my eyes, red and blinking and on its knees, begging for me to notice what I so desperately don’t want to see.
They will never stop chasing me.
There will always be sharp turns, and waves, and that same melody is here to stay. But I am ocean and I am still here and I am not the girl in the pool anymore.
Nobody’s chasing me. Nobody’s laughing.
It’s still the same dream but there’s not a soul in sight and I might fall headfirst but it feels different this time. It feels like I might wake up soon.