I live with someone who is an “active” dreamer. That means if he’s dreaming it, I’m wide-awake living it. If the dream car is about to run off the road, I’m right there. If a dream horde of locusts is descending upon my husband, you can bet I’ll be saved from the swarm.
When my husband and I were first together, he was an active dreamer nearly every night. I thought this amusing at first and attempted to find out what each night’s problem was. Most of the time, my husband absolutely refused to divulge what was going on. Sometimes he actually got angry at the questioning, left the bedroom while forcefully slamming the door, and slept on the couch in the living room (still asleep the whole time). It didn’t take long for me to learn to enjoy the sudden spaciousness of the bed.
Morning conversations were interesting after these angry events. He told me that at times he would partially awaken and wonder why he was standing in the dark in the hallway. And then he’d remember – his wife “made” him angry and there’s no way he’s going back in there! He’ll show her by sleeping in the living room.
Eventually he became more consciously aware of when he was angry and about to stomp out of the bedroom, but not wanting to admit this to his wife, he came up with a cover action – he was merely getting up to use the bathroom instead.
Occasionally, he did answer my questions, leading to several nighttime conversations about weirdness of all kinds. Creatures frequently attacked “us”: alligators, spiders, bees, crabs. In the dream world, it is best to scramble to the end of the bed and cower under the covers when attacked by crabs. Remember, it is of no consequence that your wife is both yelling that there are no crabs and freezing from lack of covers.
Apparently, we were often under attack by humans as well and his job was to save me. Once there was a mob hit man in the bedroom with us, so he closed the bedroom door to save us. This must have been an effective tactic as it was repeated later on when dream burglars broke into the bedroom.
The scariest moment for me came one night when I realized my husband was looming over me, arms cocked back over his head and hands clenching something. I barely awoke in time to see him slamming a pillow on my chest as hard as he could. One may think this sounds fairly harmless until one finds out that the pillow is filled with cornhusks weighing ten pounds. The yelling between us that night surely woke the neighbors, especially when I had difficulty persuading him he was hurting me and there were no big hairy spiders in sight.
My husband’s adventures in sleeping continue whether I am present or not. At one point, there was a spider plant hanging in the corner of the bedroom, and we used a sound machine at night with different settings mimicking water. While I was out of town, he turned on the machine and went to sleep. Soon, though, he became quite irritated. Why did that Amazon woman in the corner keep loudly peeing and waking him up?
It seems my husband is a less active dreamer now. I think he has finally become more aware of when he’s dreaming and when he’s not. I can’t help but think his increased awareness began one night after he ran out of the bedroom and out the front door – into the brightly lit hallway of the condo building. Yes, he was wearing underwear. To quote one popular AC content producer, “Captain Underpants – Away!”