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Only in Dreams

“I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air”

-Lord Byron

It’s not relative in a literal way, but I always liked how that first line sounded.

Last night I had a series of dreams with one recurring theme: I was smoking again.

Of all the vices, bad habits, and addictions I’ve kicked over the years, smoking was the hardest. It certainly wasn’t the most damaging; perhaps in the long term, but it wasn’t the one that was in danger of killing me each time I went out for a puff.

However, it still haunts me.

It’s one of those things someone who’s never been a smoker can’t appreciate. People who have never smoked don’t know how critical that first cigarette of the day was, or how those cravings still come on you like a sudden wave, even almost a full two years after your last cigarette.

In the dreams my smoking came in subtly. It started with me just casually lighting a cigarette in one dream. In another, I was buying a pack, and noting that I was only smoking maybe one a day or so. In yet another dream, I was buying a carton of cigarettes at a Sam’s Club type establishment.

It was so real I woke up thinking I’d done the unthinkable and gone running back to those little white and gold cardboard boxes. It was that real.

Not quite as real: me shopping in that same aforementioned dream and meeting former professional wrestler Big Van Vader. I was loading a comically large bag of cat food onto a large push-cart, only to turn around and see Vader walking through the aisle. He as casually perusing the shelves for an item, being nondescript except for his size. Then, out of nowhere, he just screamed out “IT’S TIME, IT’S TIME, IT’S VADER TIME!”

As soon as he was done, he was back to normal as if nothing had happened. It was as if years of professional wrestling had given him brain damage that resulted in a special type of tourettes where he’d just randomly slip into his old wrestling character at inopportune moments.

More importantly, though, I was a smoker again in that dream. But in real life, not so much. It was the closest thing to a series of nightmares that I’ve had in recent memory.

Thankfully, it’s just that. And it’ll stay that way.

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