Archive for dreams

Pretty Pathetic, huh?

Posted in life story, Ramblings, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 2016/02/24 by R L Burns

It is still so very weird to me that I actually believed all the things he said to me.  And even weirder that it sill bothers me so much nearly seven years later.  I feel utterly stupid that I didn’t get it that it was all a lie – but, you should know that it’s not ALL my fault; he was really good at the lie.  There’s a song by the band Seether in which the singer states:

You keep living in your own lie
                                                 Ever deceitful and ever unfaithful
                                                 Keep me guessing, keep me terrified
                                                 Take everything from my world

That pretty much sums up how I feel/felt/whatever.  Ridiculously, in retrospect, I thought I was much smarter than that; that no one could fool me so completely.  Well, now I know that I was wrong on that count, too.

You know, I guess it’s okay that it bothered – and bothers – me.  I mean, I believed he was the love of my life since I was a teenager.  In a way I only got involved with people who were, in a sense, disposable.  Not too flattering – for them or me.  I judged my feelings with everyone by my feelings for him, and their feelings for me by the way he had felt about me.  Comparing is never a good practice, I know, but I didn’t know I was doing it.  Well, I knew it, but I didn’t understand how MUCH I was doing it, nor how negatively it was impacting every romantic relationship of my entire life.  I can see it now, of course; I mean, don’t they say that hindsight is 20/20?  Yepper.  Definitely 20/20.

Even knowing all that now, though, I still don’t understand how I could be so taken in. Where were the signs that it was a lie?  Maybe…well, could’ve been the small amount of time he was able to carve out for me after I drove over one thousand miles to spend time with him.  Yeah, I guess that was a clue.  I’d be there a week and spend 80% of my time alone.  I guess that was a big sign, yes?  But when he was with me, he was WITH me.  Loving me, crying, begging…and when I was away from him, there were hundreds of phone calls, thousands of texts.  I mean, why would he do all of that if he was lying?  That’s what I couldn’t figure out.  Unless, maybe, he WAS just trying to be kind to me – in a weird-wrong-twisted kind of way.  He said later that he did it because he felt guilty that I had loved him so long.  I had loved him.  Hmmmm….and that he had not been in love with me since nearly fifteen years earlier when he wanted to be with me but I said no — he had a child and one on the way.  How could I break that up? I couldn’t, so I sent him back to her and the children, knowing that was the right thing to do – and knowing that he would, in the end, hate me if he left his family and then wasn’t close to them.  For a while I tried to believe that he was just saying all that about lying, that really he was a coward and just couldn’t pull the trigger.  But I suppose I was wrong, and he really didn’t love me any longer.  That is a horrible thing to accept…I kept others at arm’s length and never allowed myself to be happy because I was in love with him.  When I believed we finally had a real chance at the happily ever after we both claimed to have always wanted…well, I was deliriously happy.  And then I wasn’t.

And I am still not.

I still stand by my belief, though, that if he KNEW, the first time we saw each other again, that he didn’t feel the same about me, it would have been much kinder and much, much less disillusioning if he had thrown a pity fuck or two my way and then a tearful farewell. That, I would have held close to my heart with a tear and a smile.

Instead I am left with…nothing.



Through a Tunnel Darkly

Posted in Ramblings, short story with tags , , on 2011/06/29 by R L Burns

The tunnel was dark.  For a moment she stood still, unsure where she was or even how she got there.  Waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness, she trembled.  She did not want to be here, not at all, and for a moment she considered turning around and going back…where?  Could she even get back?  Or should she move forward through the tunnel?  Looking behind her, she saw only more darkness.  She was torn:  take a chance on going backwards toward…?  The last thing she remembered was climbing into bed and drifting off to sleep, was in fact still in her nightgown and robe.  She was afraid, but overriding her fear was a compulsion to continue to follow wherever the tunnel led her.  For a moment, fear almost won out and she turned, hoping to find her way back to her bed.

Then she heard it: a sad, mournful sound, as of someone in pain.  Instinctively she turned toward the sound, listening for it to occur again.  A moment later, it did, and somewhere ahead, far in the distance, she saw a small pin-prick of light.  So she walked toward it, despite the pounding of her heart and the voice in her head begging her to turn around and run away, promising her that she would not like what she found at the end.  Fighting herself, she continued moving toward the sound and the light, her pulse and breathing quickening with each step, her arms extended so that her hands, touching the cold, damp walls of the tunnel, could guide her.

The further she went, the colder the air in the tunnel became, and she began to shiver.  She wondered if she had somehow wandered into an underground sewer system.  That didn’t make sense, some part of her brain thought.  The floor isn’t wet, there aren’t any vents in the ceiling (wherever that was), and besides, she had been in bed only moments before.  How had she come to be here?  She stumbled then, and focused on where she was, instead of how she got there.

The moaning was becoming more mournful, more pitiful.  As she moved closer to the dot of light ahead, the desire to turn around grew even stronger, yet she continued on.  Her breathing became shallow, her heart was racing, and she could feel the sweat running down her back.  The closer she got to the sound, the worse she felt.

After what seemed an eternity, she could sense that she was nearing the end of the tunnel.  Oddly, while the moaning became louder, it also somehow became…lower.  Deeper.  More pain-filled.  She was listening intently to the sound, attempting to figure out what it was about it that seemed so familiar.  So intent was she on the moaning that she did not notice the thick piece of glass into which she walked.  It was shaped like an arch; it was thick, greenish, and difficult to see through; like looking through the bottom of an old-fashioned Coke bottle.  She stood there, confused, trying to see past the glass.  She used the sleeve of her bathrobe to wipe at the barrier before her.  Dust and dampness covered her sleeve, but she could at least see a little bit of the room on the other side of the glass.

She was looking into what appeared to be a kitchen.  There was a table and four chairs, a sink, wooden cabinets, and a refrigerator.  No lights were on in the room and she realized that the tiny bit of light she had glimpsed and then followed actually came from a street light outside the window above the sink.  Using the left sleeve of her robe, she swiped at the glass one more time, hoping to enlarge her view of the room.  Now she could see there was someone slumped over the wooden table.  It was a man.  His head was down on the table, and he was muttering to himself.  The thickness of the glass muffled the sound so much that she couldn’t make out what he was saying, only occasionally catching the words, “No”, and “Please.”  Then he began moaning again.  Moaning and shaking his head in the negative.

Confused even more than she had been, she watched him sit there, wanting to offer assistance, to find out who this man was and what was wrong with him.  Who was it?  Why was she here?  What was going on?  She tapped on the glass to get his attention but he was oblivious to her presence.

Suddenly he got up and lurched to the sink.  He turned on the water and splashed his face, shaking his head afterward, the water drops flying from his hair like those coming off of a wet dog.  Then he looked out the window towards the street light.  When she saw his profile, she recognized him:  it was Nick.  HER Nick.  Nick, whom she had not seen in more than twenty-five years.  She reached out to the glass, tracing the outline of his face.  Nick.  After all this time.  How had she come to be here?  What was wrong with him?  Why was he in so much pain??  How could she help him?

She began to bang on the glass in earnest, now, and screamed his name, but it was all in vain.  He didn’t seem to hear her at all.  Tears were running down his face and he continued his low moaning.  When he turned away from the sink, he seemed to be staring at something she could not see.  His face, now hidden in shadow, was difficult to see, but his eyes were open wide with fear, the whites standing out in the darkness.  She looked wildly around the kitchen, trying to see what he could see, to understand why he was so afraid.  And then she saw them:  The Shadows.  Even though the room was dark, she could make out shadowy shapes in the room, all of them moving toward Nick.  Surrounding him.  Nick covered his ears and shook his head no, begging, pleading with them to leave him alone.  Although Nick’s voice was difficult to understand, the voices of the shadows came to her clear as crystal.

“Go ahead, Nick.”

“Do it.”

“You’re worthless.”

“This is the best thing you can do for your family, Nick.  You know you’re nothing.”

Nick continued to shake his head, hands clamped over his ears.  The shadows moved closer to him, hemming him in as they made a circle around him.  He was sobbing and shaking.  The Shadows danced around him, taunting him, encouraging him to…to what?

Then she knew.  They wanted him to kill himself.  A bottle of pills suddenly appeared in his hand.  His head continued to move from left to right and tears continued to stream from his eyes.  Trying to distract him she banged her fists into the glass over and over, screaming his name with each blow.  He never looked up; instead he seemed to fold into himself and she knew he was giving up.

“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!”  She screamed again and again, watching in horror as he opened the bottle and swallowed every pill.  Nearly hysterical now she pounded incessantly on the glass, screaming his name until her voice was nearly gone.  He still never looked her way.  She watched as he began to lurch around the room, his balance off.  Crying, she could do nothing but stare as he slid to the floor.  The Shadows joined hands and danced around him in glee as his body fell to the floor with a thud, onto his back, his arms spread wide.  As he fell to the floor, she slid down the glass, pressing against it as hard as she could.  Wiping her hair out of her eyes, she realized that her hands were covered in blood from beating on the glass so long and so hard.  She was sobbing uncontrollably and slid, herself, to the floor.

All at once, there was someone beside her:  her son Richard.  He knelt down and pulled her up into his big strong arms, patting her hair and making little shushing noises to calm her.  She grabbed onto him and tried to explain what had happened, though she was difficult to understand through her tears and her hiccupping sobs.  He glanced through the glass to the dead man on the other side.

“Come on, mom.  We have to go now.”  He started to pull her back down the tunnel, back the way she had come.

“No, Richard!  We have to do something. We have to help him –“,  she sobbed, screaming, “Nick!!!” again.

Richard was relentless in his pull.  “No, mom.  We have to go now. It’s too late.  Dad just couldn’t live without us anymore.  C’mon.”  He continued to pull her back down the tunnel, back towards her bed.

She struggled against him, trying to get back to the glass, but she was no match for his size or his strength, so she finally gave  in and let him pull her along, glancing back frequently.  Now there were red and blue lights flashing in the kitchen where Nick lay dead.  Her body was shaking from her sobs, her head was pounding, and she was surprised to look down and see that she was leaving a trail of blood behind her.

Richard just held onto her tighter, half dragging her back, away from the horror she had just witnessed.  “He’ll be okay mom, I promise.  And he will be back.  Now just isn’t the time.  Sh, it’s okay.”

She quit struggling against him, then, and let him lead her back, back, back… until she was at last back in her own bed, where she fell into an exhausted sleep.

Just a Glimpse

Posted in Poetry, Ramblings with tags , , on 2010/11/07 by R L Burns


your footsteps

echo in her dreams

pacing the hallways

of her mind


but you remain unseen…



she hides behind


hoping for a glimpse

of your smile –


lies on the grass

listening to the

whispered songs

of the pine trees,

searching the stars

for your form


eyes tightly closed,

she wishes herself

to your side,

sits by your bed

and smiles

as you sleep –



so deeply,

of rainbows,


and sunsets


of waterfalls,


and trains


a wistful tune


the constant refrain…




Posted in Poetry, Ramblings with tags , , , on 2010/08/19 by R L Burns

You smile

so seriously –

You laugh

so sweetly –

You glance

so shyly


At the world.


You look

for honesty –

You hope

for sincerity –

You want

to believe


In a dream.




Can you

let yourself –

Can you

lose yourself –

Can you

love yourself

Enough to


Open your heart and try?


to trip or not to trip?

Posted in Ramblings with tags , , , on 2010/03/21 by R L Burns

i don’t know if i can promise not to go april 2nd.  i’d like to say of course, i promise…but i don’t want to lie to you.  i feel such a need to go. have done for so long.  and this is the first time i have had the opportunity since…well, since,  you know.

for the first time ever, i dreamt of them all last night. i was outside a house and the front door was open, just a glass storm door closed on the scene. i was sitting at a table in the yard. i saw his older son playing with his daughter on the floor. other people were on the couch, watching them and, i think, tv. his wife, his  younger son, and the older son’s wife were on the couch. his wife and younger son looked out the door and saw me. they frowned. my eyes met hers and she looked away, to her right. michael was walking into the room, calling to his granddaughter, and smiling. he saw his wife’s look. he stopped. she looked back out the door and he followed her gaze and saw me. his jaw dropped. everyone looked out the door. i shook my head, got up, and walked away. i think he came to the door and stepped out, but i didn’t turn around. it was sad and weird.

i just really feel the need, yes, the need, to go. i may not, but i am desperate to be there again. can you understand that?

Street of Dreams

Posted in short story with tags , , , , , on 2010/02/08 by R L Burns

Rose sat bolt upright in her bed and looked around, confused.  That’s odd, she thought.  Why would I dream about him now?  She shook her head, took a drink of water from the carafe on her bedside table,  and settled back under the comforter.  Jeff slept soundly beside her, mouth open as usual, snoring.  Sleep claimed her again, and this time it was dreamless.

At work the next day, she felt off somehow, like something was nagging at the back of her brain.  Throughout the day she drifted off into space, her mind blank, and it took her much longer than usual to get the client billing done.  Then she had to complete an inventory of the editing truck they had brought back from the beauty pageant two days before. 

By the time she got home, she was exhausted and eager for bed.  Luckily, Jeff wasn’t home when she got there, so she quickly showered, brushed her teeth, and put on her nightgown – an old, comfortable flannel one.  She crawled into bed and fell asleep almost immediately. 

That night, when she awoke, she knew something was dreadfully, terribly wrong, and it wasn’t only the dream in which she had been trapped that filled her with fear.  Afraid to look around the room, she opened her eyes only a very tiny bit, little reptilian slits darting around the room.  Outside the moon was nearly full and the silvery glow was pouring into the bedroom window, making it easier to see than usual. 

Suddenly she knew what was wrong, but she couldn’t quite wrap her mind around it.  Jeff was on the bed, on top of her – perhaps it seems incredible that she hadn’t known that sooner, but she had been deeply asleep, dreaming, and it had taken a while for her consciousness to fully rise to the surface. 

He was on top of her, naked.  Her nightgown was pulled up around her hips.  This in itself was not particularly odd, as he had some weird habit of fucking her (yes, fucking, it certainly wasn’t making love) when she was asleep – almost like he believed she would reject him if he approached her when she was awake.  Which she probably would have done.  This had happened several times now, though, and she just let it happen because it was easier than fighting him off.  She had, to her credit, asked why he did that to her, had asked him to stop. 

His only answer to why was, “I don’t know”. 

His answer to being asked to stop was to wait a week or two before assaulting her again. 

This time, though, something was different.  Yes, he was on top of her naked and he had removed her underpants and pulled up her nightgown, but he wasn’t having sex with her.  He was masturbating.  Realizing this, she suddenly wondered (like a really slow game of connect-the-dots) how/why she felt him moving inside her, too.  She opened her eyes a little more, but not much, because she didn’t want him to know she was awake – she didn’t want to face what was going on; it was too embarrassing.  (How stupid a girl she was, being embarrassed when HE was the one who should be embarrassed!  But, that’s how it was.) 

When she looked a little closer, she understood what was going on.  He was masturbating while simultaneously inserting the rubber handle of a hammer into her…She thought she would vomit.  How did I end up in this situation???  Why is this happening???  What do I do??? 

Of course, she did nothing, as usual, except close her eyes and pretend she was somewhere else.  Invariably she saw herself sitting on the roof of the barn, a clean, fresh breeze blowing through her hair, making her smile.  She’d look down into the yard and catch a glimpse of someone making his way through the trees towards the barn to join her.  She could never see his face clearly, but she knew it was him, nonetheless:  Christopher.  Then she would smile even wider and all would be well, and she could make it through whatever was happening.  Totally ridiculous, she supposed, but, hey, people do whatever they have to in order to survive, don’t they?

In a mercifully short time, Jeff was finished.  She thought she would give herself away and jump up when she felt his hot sperm land on her stomach.  It was all she could do to keep from wretching and flinching.  She did stiffen like a board, knowing by then that he was too drunk or high and too aroused to notice much of anything except his own need.  Her eyes tightly closed, she heard a dull thud as the hammer hit the floor, and the squeak of the bed springs as he fell over to the side.  Within moments he was snoring. 

She lay there, tears flowing from her still-closed eyes,  pulled down her night gown and moved as far from him as she could in the double bed they shared.  She kept repeating to herself, That didn’t really happen.  It didn’t.  It was just a bad dream.  He wouldn’t do that to me…

To prove it,  she forced herself to look down on the floor beside the bed to see if the hammer was really there.  Shit.  It was.  She got up then, quickly, heedless of waking Jeff, and ran into the bathroom where she (who NEVER vomited) threw up repeatedly.  She cried as she knelt in front of the toilet, great wracking sobs. 

Finally spent, she got up, washed her face and brushed her teeth, and returned to her house of torment.  She climbed back into bed, careful this time not to do anything to disturb Jeff.  She stayed on the very edge of the bed, tense and taught as a bowstring, waiting for the snake next to her to strike again.  But he snored on peacefully.  She hated him then, more than she ever had done in the past, but her hypervigilence took it’s toll and eventually she fell asleep again.

In her sleep she saw Christopher.  He was in a car when suddenly there was a bright flash of light and a nauseating crunch of metal.  The next thing she saw was his crumpled body in the car.  His face was bleeding, as was his arm, profusely.  His leg looked to be at an odd angle.  She screamed his name and woke up.

Jeff grunted and rolled over.  Rose’s heart was pounding mercilessly and she could barely breathe.  What did it mean???


 Little more than a week later Jeff hit her for the first time and knocked her down the stairs.  Later she would find it curious that he had done the two things she had specifically said she could not, would not, tolerate:  sexual abuse (she’d had enough of that already),  and physical abuse.  The night he hit her, after she returned home with his “two fucking packs of cigarettes”, she had told him he had to leave. 

“I am going to my dad’s in two weeks to stay there for two weeks while he’s out of town.”

He had looked at her angrily and replied, “Alone?” 

She nodded. 

“Well, I don’t want to stay here at your mom’s house alone!”

She smiled at him.  “That’s the general idea.  Pack your shit and get the fuck out of my house.  I don’t care where you fucking go,  but you cannot, repeat, NOT, stay here.  AND I want a divorce.”

At that he cried and apologized for being such a bad husband.  She just sighed and told him not to worry about it, that their marriage had been a mistake from the beginning, made for all the wrong reasons.  She loved him, but not like a husband. She had felt gratitude towards him for “rescuing” her (or so she thought) from the relative who was sexually abusing her. 

When Christopher had written and told her to marry Jeff, be happy, and have lots of babies, what else was there for her?  (Of course, that was partly her fault, too, as she had not told him the truth about what was going on or about how much she still cared — what if he didn’t want her?  What if he was repulsed by her now that she was damaged goods?  What if he didn’t love her, only pitied her?  Nah, better not to take any chances with that, just hope he would see through the lies she told him.  But, he didn’t.)    No one cared or believed her when she tried to tell them about what was happening to her…She was angry at Jeff, but felt guilty because she, at least, had known she was doing something wrong in marrying him.  Maybe that was why she took his abuse for so long:  she believed she deserved it.

Once it was said, Rose felt much better, much calmer, more at peace than she had in a very long time.  She was able to sleep, although she went downstairs and slept with her sister. 

And again the dream came.  The car wreck, Christpopher covered in blood, leg broken.  This time, though, there was more.  She was in the hospital standing by his bed.  His head was bandaged and there were all kinds of IVs in his arm.  She was holding his hand and talking to him, telling him that she loved him and that he would be fine.  At one point his head turned towards her.  She smiled at him and told him he would be fine, that she was with him.  The shock on his face was almost comical.  Then she woke up.  What the hell???? she asked herself.

The next day at work she convinced her friend, Donna, to call his grandmother’s house to see if he was okay.  She had told Donna the whole dream and that she was worried that something was wrong with him.

“Please just call for me, Donna.  Please. ”

“Why don’t you call yourself?”

“I’m afraid of what I will hear….I don’t know.  Won’t you do this for me??  Please, pretty please with sugar on?”

Donna sighed and said, “Oh give me the damn number, Rose.”

Rose handed her the slip of paper and hugged her.  “Thank you!!”

As Donna dialed, Rose paced the room.

“Hello”, she heard Donna say into the phone.  “My name is Rose and I was trying to  reach Christopher.  Is he there by any chance?”

The grandmother replied warily, “Rose?”

“Yes, ma’am, Rose.”

“Rose from Virginia?”, the grandmother asked, obviously surprised.

“Yes, ma’am, Rose from Virginia.”

Instantly the grandmother’s tone changed to one of welcome.  “Honey, let me give you his number, he will be so glad to hear from you!  Call him right away!”

As Donna wrote down the number, Rose whispered to her, “Ask if he’s okay!  Ask if he’s okay!”

Donna frowned at her but said, “Thank you so much for the number ma’am, and I will certainly call him, but may I ask, is he doing alright?”

“Well, honey, it’s funny you would ask that because about two weeks ago he was in a pretty bad car accident.”  Donna’s eyes nearly popped out of her head and she looked at Rose in awe. 

“A car accident?”  Rose’s heart sank. 

“Yes, dear, and he broke his leg, and had some other hurts, but he’s okay now.  So you give him a call.  Bye now.”

“Bye, ma’am”, Donna said as she hung up the phone.  “Did you hear that, Rose??  He was in a car accident, just like your dream!  And his leg was broken!  How did you know?”

“I can’t tell you, Donna, because I don’t know myself.”

“Want me to call him, too?” she asked Rose sarcastically.

“No.  This is one call I need to make myself.”  Breathing deeply, Rose picked up the phone and dialed the number Donna had scribbled on the paper. 

The phone was picked up on the second ring.  It was him. 

“Hello?” he asked.

She was at a loss for a moment and didn’t know what to say.   She lamely ended up saying, “Uh, hi.  Bet you don’t know who this is!” 

How lame was that,  she thought to herself.  Dead silence greeted her.  “Um, hello?  Are you there?”

A few more seconds passed and then she heard him say, very quietly, “Oh yes I do know who this is.  Rose.”

“Oh, well.  Yes, it is me.”  Jeez, could I sound any more stupid???

They began to talk, and it was like they had never parted, really.  Suddenly he said, “You know, Rose, it’s really strange that you would call me now.  I mean, at this time.”

“Why’s that?”

“Well, a couple of weeks ago I was in a pretty bad car accident”, he began.  “I’m okay now, but the strangest thing happened while I was in the hospital.  There was a nurse there, and I couldn’t see her, but she was holding my hand and telling me that I would be fine.  And she called me “Christopher”, not “Chris” like everyone else, and, well…it was YOU.  I know it was you.   Isn’t that stupid?” 

He sounded embarrassed, like he wished he hadn’t told her.

“Stupid?  No, I don’t think so.  Let me tell you why I called….”

And so it began again.  For the second time.


Posted in Poetry, Ramblings with tags , , , on 2010/01/28 by R L Burns

deep black and blue

i dream of you –

the scars my only



no more will i cut

i’ve promised, but

the thought of the doing

lives on


your face i still see

and my heart’s so lonely

i don’t quite know how

to forget


pressing the lines

on my arms, like vines,

makes me feel oddly

closer to you


guitars, ankhs, and drums,

wedding rings, rings on thumbs –

i’ve weighted myself down

with you


the charms and their chains

ring my neck, just the same

as your strange collars, the

twins of intent


the scars on my arms

and those from my charms

will eventually fade



but the scars on my heart

will  remain.