Tears On My Pillow

It’s 14:35

The last 24 hrs of my life have been like something out of ‘The Twilight Zone.’

It began yesterday afternoon when I awoke from an afternoon nap with the worst case of tinnitus imaginable. A high pitch ringing in my ears that was so acute that it was as un-nerving as it was irritating. I also had a headache – just a slight one. And I felt, well let’s just say, out of sorts.

I spent the rest of the day and night watching sports on TV. Firstly the football results which, if I’m being totally honest, I wasn’t really interested in. I used to coach football and even worked as a steward at my local club but over the years that work (the stewarding) brought me into contact with what I found to be some of the most obnoxious characters on the face of the planet. I realised after a while and especially after a few challenging incidents that football, alongside being a career that could change a person’s life for the better, was also a sport that was easily capable of bringing out the absolute worst in people. Nowhere else had I seen the levels of hate, racism, cynicism and hypocrisy as I saw at football matches, both on and off the pitch – but mostly off it – in the stands and on the terraces.

The boxing followed. I was particularly interested in two fights taking place at York Hall in Bethnal Green because two Midlands fighters were on the card, both of whom I’ve watched previously and photographed at boxing events that I’ve worked at in my journalistic capacity. And then there was the Tyson Fury fight scheduled to take place in the States (I think) at some crazy time the next morning – probably during the early hours between 3 and 5am. I was tempted to stay up to at least listen to it on the radio – no way was I going to pay the £20 they were asking for on pay per view TV – but it turned out that Radio 5 Live wasn’t going to be airing the fight until at least 5am so I opted against hanging around all night.

I did watch the evening’s boxing which was televised at York Hall. The first fight in particular had my heart racing a bit so due to my medical condition (which requires that I particularly avoid stress and anxiety) it took quite an effort, some deep breathing and some conscious disassociation to be able to get through the whole affair without suffering some type of panic attack. I’d somehow developed and found that I had an emotional investment with the Birmingham fighter whom I’d watched previously on a number of occasions – I wanted him to win and thankfully he did. After that, although my interest was maintained for the remaining bouts they were easier to watch because I didn’t care so much about the outcomes. I naturally wanted the other Midlands fighter to win but I wasn’t rooting for him in the same way, most likely a subconscious strategy I was employing as a precautionary measure against getting too excited during the bout.

Afterwards, from around midnight until maybe around 3am I sat at my pc, half an eye on my social media channels and the other scoping out youtube to see if any pirate streams would be picking up the Fury fight-card. Not a chance!! I went to bed disappointed, tired and with my ears still ringing from the constant tinnitus and by around 3:30am I was asleep.

The next 12 hours were the worst I’ve had for lucid dreams and nightmares that I can recall for a very long time.

The first dream I can’t write too much about, simply because it was so horrific I just don’t want to commit it to record in this way. But let me just say that it involved people that I deeply love, an alien encounter, government conspiracy, kidnap, rape, insanity, hysteria and violence so vivid and palpable that towards the end I was desperate to escape from the dream back into the real world – and yet no matter how hard I tried to escape the dream (you can wake yourself up sometimes can’t you?) I just couldn’t. No matter how I screamed out – and believe me I screamed out with all my soul, I couldn’t be heard. No matter how I reached out it had no affect – I couldn’t touch anything real nor break through the limits of the dimension imprisoning me. I could see my room – the that bed I was in – the bed sheets – the pillows – the daylight breaking in through the window making all in my vision as clear as day. However, to my horror many small but powerful hands kept appearing from somewhere behind me, reaching over me, frantically grabbing my limbs and pulling me back towards the nightmare that was consuming me. I felt as if I was being dragged into Hell. When I eventually somehow suddenly broke away and snapped into an awoken state I was shaken, confused and in a disposition of utter disbelief.

I needed a distraction because for several minutes – a period that felt like an entire lifetime – I lay there reliving the chaos and terror I’d just experienced. So in desperation I picked up my telephone from where it lay on the floor next to my bed and began to search out for the result of the Fury fight. I felt empty as I scanned quickly through the few articles that had began to circulate the web announcing the British boxer’s victory and the bloody circumstances of what had turned out to be a long and drawn out battle so soon after beginning, with some deep sighs, I abandoned the activity and tried to relax my eyes and get some much needed rest. I prayed that I wouldn’t experience a repeat of what I’d just been through.

It was a full half an hour or so before I fell back to sleep. I then had a less memorable dream that concluded with a much more gentle return to my being awake but I soon fell back to sleep and in my third and final dream of this episode I recall that I was in my living room with some family members and somehow an incident occurred during which there was some spillage of red coloured sauces — and as I urgently wished to avoid there being permanent stains caused on the walls and carpets of the room I directed some frustration and impatience at my youngest daughter (now in her mid 20s) during my pleas for her to quickly fetch a cloth to help me clean up the mess. Her simple response was to look into my eyes and begin to cry. Nothing more nor less. Just an expression of utter sadness and a contorted face full of tearfulness.

I recall that the sight of this overwhelmed me so much that at first I approached, hugged and comforted her apologising for my lack of patience. I remember speaking, telling her warmly that we would work it out together but then the next thing I knew I myself had burst into the deepest sobbing and crying imaginable. And that’s how I awoke from the dream. Sobbing and crying – really – by now fully awake but in a terribly distressed and tearful state. This sobbing continued for the next ten minutes as wiped clumsily at my eyes with my fingers and I asked myself what the heck was happening to me.

“Am I going crazy?” I asked myself as tears flooded my eyes and face, rolling down my cheeks and saturating the pillowcase. “What is wrong with me?” I enquired of the heavens and universe.

Gathering my senses and composure was no easy feat but eventually I calmed down and my crying subsided. After-all, this just didn’t make sense. It was just a dream.

I could hear that outside, in the streets below at a nearby neighbour’s residence the sound of some type of Islamic event was taking place. I could make out the sound of a male’s voice elevated in volume by a PA system and then a period of his singing and chanting in an Asian language followed by what sounded like a large gathered crowd praying in a similar language and in a loud, rhythmic, united fashion. Although I’m not a Muslim and I had no idea what was being said, I guess I was somehow comforted by the feeling that there was some type of holy affair taking place nearby which meant that the presence of God would therefore thankfully not be too far away from me.

I carried this feeling with me as I pulled myself from beneath the quilt, climbed out of bed, left the room and went downstairs.