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Updated: Jan 3, 2021

2:58 am.

I hear the metal sound of a doorknob clumsily jiggling. After a moment there is a click and the door opens, a familiar sound. The bed squeaks quietly as my German Shepherd sit up, suddenly on high alert. I hear shuffling of little feet across a small stretch of carpet, then a small stretch of wood flooring in the hallway, and again on carpet in my bedroom. By this point, I am on high alert as well, waiting for my little man to moan and groan, pulling his way up onto my bed. He grabs at my gray blanket with his little hands on the foot of my bed and hoists himself up, then crawls up to the pillow right next to mine. I welcome him by pulling down my blankets and sheets, making a special spot for him to snuggle. Once he situates himself, I cover him up, hug him tight, kiss him on the cheek and lay back down myself.

When little man opened his door, it was like I had been already awake. It’s like I heard him crawl out of his bed from the room next door and anticipated him coming in. It was like I wasn’t actually asleep at all.

After some time I fall back into a light sleep until my first alarm goes off at 4:00 am, dozing in and out until my last alarm at 4:40 am tells me it’s really time to get up now.

When I do actually sleep, it isn’t always pleasant… But when people ask, “How did you sleep?” or “How was your night?” it is so much easier to just say, “Fine,” as it is with everything.

What should I do with my dreams about bad guys? I can’t tell someone every time I have one. Especially since I don’t have a someone anymore. I have a best friend, but what if my best friend has a someone someday to worry about?

One night a couple of weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night to my German Shepherd jumping onto the bed with me at my feet and facing the door of my bedroom. She had a low growl. The security system alarm wasn’t going off. Maybe there was a way someone could have gotten into the house without tripping the alarm? I realized that only one cat was in bed, so maybe my dog heard the other cat and didn’t realize it was her…

After a bit, she stopped and I was able to fall back asleep. The second cat made its way into the bedroom. But sure enough, after that I dreamt about a bad guy (again) breaking into my home. And it felt like one of those never-ending dreams that you can’t wake up from.

It was a Saturday morning and my dog knew I didn’t have to get up unless my alarm was going off. When I repositioned and opened my eyes just a crack, finally waking from my nightmare, my dog inched her way up the bed to my face. She snuggled my neck and rolled her 70-lb body on top of mine. “Love me,” she gestured. I can tell you about my dreams, Sweet Girl... But then I would have to re-live them again. And I don’t want to. And I don’t want sympathy. And I don’t want to analyze them. And I don't want to talk about it.

I just want them to go away.

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