by Jordan Wilson '19
They say that when you die in a dream, you die in real life. I can tell you that isn't true; because I died in a dream, and what happened to me was much stranger than that. I’ve been told that after you die, you simply go to heaven or you relive your life as a different soul. I never believed the second one because how is it even possible? Do you somehow get an evaluation of whether you fulfilled your life by a panel of angels and you either pass or have to try again? I refused to believe it. That was until one night I had a dream that was too realistic to even comprehend and quite literally changed my life forever.
The entire day had been ordinary; wake up, go to work, go home, eat, and then sleep. Nothing crazy. But once I laid my head on my pillow, it felt like I was levitating. I managed to ignore it and still fall asleep but that’s when it got ominous. Long story short, I died in my dream. Since the brain is so complex and I was such a deep sleep, I have no memory of how I died or anything previous to those final moments. What I do remember is waking up as if I was in a movie jolting straight up from my bed as if I couldn’t breathe.
My heart was racing and my body was tingling as I slowly but surely started to calm down. I looked around for something of comfort to calm my senses down but something was off. As my eyes scanned the room, I realized nothing was the same. The walls were a different color, my bed wasn’t my bed anymore, the room was much bigger than I remember, and nothing was familiar to me. I sprang up in even more panic as my feet touched the cold hardwood floor. I nearly squealed from how cold it was because it’s always been carpet. I stood there utterly stuck and shocked until I heard a faint voice in the distance.
“Isaac? Are you up?”
The voice was a bit far in distance but it resembled an older woman. I began to hear footsteps get closer and closer to this unfamiliar room. My eyes widened from the realization of the situation and I began to scramble around and find someplace to hide. “Is this really happening? Am I In someone else’s home? How did I even get here? And who the hell is Isaac?” I thought to myself. My mind was everywhere as I tried to find a hiding place but the room was so open and wide preventing me to find somewhere to escape to. Before I knew it, I heard a knock on the door.
“Isaac, you have to get up. You have class soon, honey.” Her tone seemed more motherly. She rattled the doorknob and cracked the door open.
I stood there not being able to move a muscle as I saw a woman emerge from the crack. She looked at me in nearly as much shock as I was in and quickly closed the door after looking at me.
“Oh I- I’m sorry I didn’t know you were up... or not dressed.” She giggled a little. “I’ll let you get ready but you need to hurry. Breakfast is downstairs.”
I heard her walk back to wherever she came from and I let out a sigh of relief. I looked down and realized what she was so startled by; I was only wearing boxers. That was when things started to come together. As I scanned my own body, terror flooded my body in one enormous wave. My body was thinner yet slightly toned and defined, my skin was golden, and my arms were scattered with finished and unfinished dynamic tattoos. I looked around frantic to find a bathroom mirror to convince me I was crazy and just hallucinating. I saw a door to my right and ran to it, shoving the door open to reveal an almost entirely marble designed bathroom. I could barely acknowledge it when I finally looked at myself in the mirror. By this point, I was beyond the feeling of panic; I felt numb. My face was not me. My hair was jet black and tousled, my eyes were large and a chocolate brown while also being mysterious and narrow, my eyebrows are black and bushy, and my face was chiseled and covered in dark brown stubble. “Who am I?” I asked myself.
I left the bathroom in a ball of confusion, fear, and numbness. My head kept going to the worst scenarios; wondering if I could ever go back to me. Am I stuck like this? I started to fall into worry and sadness until I remembered that the woman who knew my name told me I had to hurry. I then frantically started trying to find clothes in a place where I didn’t know where anything was. After finding clothes, I tidied up my face and hair while being disgusted for using a toothbrush that technically wasn’t mine.
As I did all these things, It gave me an opportunity to see who this person really is. Creative, fashion perfectionist seemed to sum up their persona. Everything around was organized and clean including the massive amount of skin and hair care products. From all the sketchbooks, abstract, and half made clothing, he was made out to be a design major. Yet, remembering the current situation, I had no idea how to portray that person without my cover being blown or being called crazy. But I knew I’d have to try my best without looking idiotic so I put on my best ‘normal’ face and walked out of the room.
The house was exquisitely modern and lavish. I was on the second floor but there was access to a third. Nothing had a speck of dust or dirt, making me wonder if they had a maid and how much money this family possessed. It made absolute sense that this new person I was, Isaac, was a fashion major from the looks of the house.
I made it to the first floor where I met the same woman who gave me a warm smile while looking down at the plate of food on the table then back to me. I ‘normally’ walked to the table and sat down, grabbing the fork and attempting to eat like the person I’m possessing would so that I wouldn’t have to speak.
“No good morning? That’s different.” She chuckled quietly as she put a dish away in the cabinet. “You must be upset. What’s going on?”
I coughed on my food a little knowing I’d have to say something.
“Uhm-“ I cleared my throat. “I’m not upset just tired,” I said, preventing eye contact.
I sensed she was looking at me after I spoke so I turned around and looked at her. We ended up making eye contact. She squinted her eyes in suspiciousness, laughed, and then turned around.
“Okay well, you need to hurry. Precious is going to be here soon to get you. Did you forget she picks you up again?” She said as she walks over to me and grabs my unfinished plate and tossing it in the trash. I whined but stopped myself in case this person doesn’t do things like that.
“Who is Precious?” I asked without thinking, immediately regretting asking a question like that.
She stopped and looked at me again, this time with more genuine confusion.
“Honey, being a worried mother and knowing kids these days are getting stranger and stranger every day, let me ask; are you doing okay?” She laughed in between words yet maintained a serious expression.
“Yeah, I’m doing fine,” I said, grinning to show some kind of character.
She looked at me, shook her head as she continued putting dishes away. That queued me to get myself out of there as fast as possible. I grabbed what I hoped was my wallet off the counter and the backpack which laid against the kitchen table. I put on a pair of sneakers that were on a mat near the door that seemed to match this person's personality and began walking out the door.
The day got stranger as it continued, and so did the months and years that followed. After that moment of walking out the door, everything changed. A bright light flashed in my eyes as if the sun was right in front of me and in those moments I experienced a sense of clarity. Almost like a flashback, I understood why I’m here, what had happened, and what I need to do. I need to live my life fully. Since the day I could comprehend my own emotions, I always held back. Opportunities arise but I never took them confidently or at all. I prevented an amazing life for one that was too simple for the person I was supposed to be.
I settled based on my fears and I could never see it. I received signs after signs but I never opened my eyes a little wider to notice. The universe didn’t want me to fail, so they placed me somewhere I could fulfill the life I never had the courage to. For months I may have understood, but denial swept over me. I spent months neglecting this unfamiliar college life and diving deep in how to ‘transcend’ the body in hopes to go back to my old form. I severed the relationship with my ‘new’ mother and friends in the process making it almost similar to my older life.
That was when I came into realization again. If I was placed in this new body, it was for a reason. I know I have a higher potential and I can’t prove that if I’m doing everything I used to. I’ve been given a second chance, so I have to give my best because who knows if there is a third chance. That mindset leads a great path for me as time went on. I settled into who I was and realized the people around me were just like the people that used to be around me. I created strong relationships and stepped outside of my comfort zone. All because I died in my dream.
If someone were to tell me when you die in a dream, you die in real life, I would tell them it’s not true. I would say far crazier things can happen then that because I am not the person I used to be, but I managed to become far better.