2 min read

Nightmares & Nachos

Nightmares & Nachos

Almost two years out, and the nightmares still stop my heart in the middle of the night.  I wake in a cold sweat, heart pounding, convinced he has found a way in despite the battlements I have installed in our small fortress.  It's almost as though my subconscious cannot fight off the remembering I do my best to shake free of in the daytime, and at night my memories are released.  The worst are the ones where my love for him remains unwavering, and I still believe that what we had was "real" and that I had the power to fix him.

On nights like this, my fingers find reassurance in the cool steel of the knife that lives between my headboard and mattress.  Many nights I have awoken, brandishing my weapon to the still dark room in front of me, blood pounding in my ears, body quivering.  Instinctively I know that sleep is now beyond me.

I'll crawl out of bed and check my babies' rhythmic, reassuring breaths.  Relief takes over, and the numbness comes.  From then on, I will take up a sentry post on the sofa until day break.

In the latest "remembering" we are seated at a large dinner party, and I have cooked for a large group of people I do not know.  I am not allowed to cook; so this this must be a trap.  I can feel the fear jammed up against my rib cage.  He watches me snake-like as I move between our guests.  I know he is not to be trusted, perhaps the food is poisoned, but I do not know what to do other than play my part and dutifully serve.  I take my seat next to him.  He watches with a smirk as I put the spoon to my lips and I awaken.  Dread fill me as I shoot up in bed with a start, ragged breath catching in my chest.

After I have repeated my usual post-nightmare ritual, I am jittery.  I cannot sit still; tonight, I am filled with rage at Nick's relentless work to steal pieces of me. Peices that I willingly allowed him to steal.  I have not cooked a proper meal since we left.  The panic still rises up if I do.  Fear that I will make a mistake and pay the consequences still runs deep.  I am blessed with young children are content to live on pasta.

I turn on the lights and pace back and forth across the tiny kitchen, determined that I must cook something, anything right now.  I must reclaim this part of my broken soul.  I glance at the clock, it's 2:22 AM.

I rummage through the almost bare cupboards.  All I can find that resembles a meal are some tortilla chips, a half-eaten jar of salsa, a pot of jalapeños and some cheddar cheese.


The idea hits me, and I feel like a genius.  I assemble the ingredients on the worktop.  I lay salsa on top of tortilla chips and tenderly lay jalapeños on their tomatoey bed as though I am preparing a Michelin-starred meal.  I garnish with grated cheddar and, satisfied, place my masterpiece gently in the oven.  I sit against next to the oven, knees drawn up to my chest, rocking back and forth on the balls of my feet as I wait for my creation.

I plate them up.  Tonight as I sit and wait for morning to find us, I tuck into a steaming plate of oozy nachos.  Despite having no appetite, I am determined to enjoy them as I wait for the sun to find us.

Tonight I eat and remember to breathe.

This, I am sure, is progress.