26 aug 2018

this is one of the more memorable examples of a very frequent motif in my dreams, which is flooding or drowning - which is interesting because the bulk of my flooding/drowning dreams occurred months or years before i actually drowned in a river and had to be resuscitated. whether that is significant is for you to decide ;)

my older sister and i had been discussing recreational space travel. she has always been the bolder of us, so of course she was the one insisting we travel millions of miles through an airless void for fun while i protested. the planet she most wanted to visit was callisto, the most beautiful of jupiter's moons and incidentally one of the few planets in our solar system that remained mostly untouched by tourism (mercury happened to be the most overrun). she showed me a pamphlet about calliso, depicting its wide and barren landscape along with some rare dinosaur-like creatures native to the planet. one creature, which resembled an albino brontosaurus, served as a sort of mascot for the planet as they were incredibly human-friendly and could not be found anywhere else in the solar system.

despite callisto's various attractions, however, i was obviously incredibly nervous to travel through space. so many things could go wrong, after all (surely we all remember the scene where arnold took off his space helmet in the magic schoolbus). but this was not the only time my big sister goaded me into terrifying situations - and every once in a while, she actually proves to me that my fears truly are unfounded. what it came down to, really, was my perpetual desire to impress her.

and so, i begrudgingly agreed to the trip.

we began our drive to the space station immediately - it sat on its own island, so most of the drive was on a long bridge that cut across the ocean. i should point out, however, that this was not the standard suspended metal bridge; it was more like a narrow land-path sitting perhaps a few mere inches above sea level (after looking it up, this is called an isthmus).

the drive was going swell at first. until one bead of water appeared on the windshield. and then a few more. and then we were caught in a torrent of rainfall in the middle of perhaps the least fortunate place to be caught in a torrent of rainfall. we watched the ocean get more and more restless, churning and lapping at the road's perimeter, until entire sections of road began flooding, and yet - perhaps only due to my sister's impenetrable will - we sped forward anyway.

but the waves only grew larger, first submerging the car's tires and then crashing hard over its metal roof, and before long there was no more road. we were surrounded by a thick green-brown void that pulled us further and further from light.

"we have to get out! push with your feet!" i told my sister, and we kicked at the doors until they eased open and let the water enwrap us. and then it was a fight between us and the ocean, kicking and swinging to try and free ourselves before it could take the last of our oxygen. between the frantic pattern of my limbs toward the surface, i swore i could see the hulking silhouette of a whale - completely inert, a spot of stillness in an expanse of chaos. but i only thrashed harder, until my sister and i finally found air and each other once more.

we grabbed onto each other and began a desperate swim toward land, wherever land was. "it's okay, we can get to callisto next time," i gasped. what a silly thing to say now.

after an eternity of aimless swimming that i have little recollection of, we found ourselves miraculously at the dock of the space station. we used the last of our strength to climb onto it and two men met us with blankets and concerned faces. they led us to a bench where finally we collapsed, wet and empty. thankful just to breathe.