David’s thoughts about the nightmares his Dad has. (And the result of staying up till 1:30 am)
It has happened again.
I hear him let out a scream, the sound of running steps, and then… crying. The first time it happened, I got out of bed and went to the bathroom. Daddy sat on the floor, and he was crying. When I asked him why he was crying, he didn´t answer. Mommy patted my shoulder though and told me I should go back to sleep. So, I did.
But now, it has happened again. Daddy is scared of his nightmares. I don´t know why he is scared though. Daddy never gets scared! Or at least not when he´s awake. But, when he´s sleeping, he has bad dreams. They scare him a lot, and I don´t like that. Mommy and Daddy talk about those nightmares sometimes, mostly when they think I´m fully asleep. Sometimes I am, and other times, I listen to what they talk about.
Who is this Dr. Viper guy they keep talking about? I don´t like that name. It’s scary. And, apparently, it scares Daddy too. Once, when I asked him about it, because they were talking about it on TV, he got all white in his face. I have never seen him so scared ever, in broad daylight. He immediately turned the TV off and asked me if I had done my homework, which I had. He then kept asking about other stuff, and even though I´m only six years old, I could figure out that he didn´t want to talk about it. So, I just answered what he asked about, and then I went out to play.
I don´t like it when Daddy cries either. That he is sad makes me sad too. When it was the second time that he had a nightmare and was crying, I began to cry too. Mommy then came in and asked me what was wrong, and I told her I just had a bad dream about Daddy getting hurt. She didn´t seem to like that. So, she sat down and held me close until I fell asleep.
I can hear Mommy talking to Daddy. She’s talking about how he shouldn´t be scared because of his nightmares…. and now they’re quiet…. probably kissing. I can hear Mommy walking to the bedroom. And then Daddy. I hurry back to bed and pretend to be asleep when he looks into my bedroom. I hear the floor creak slightly as he carefully walks over to my bed. He stands quietly, watching me.
“Drop the act, champ – you’re not sleeping.”
Surprised, I open my eyes and I look up at him. He has kneeled down beside the bed.
“How did you know, Daddy?” I ask him, surprised.
He smiles at me. “Simple. Your breathing was faster than usual, as if you had been out running,” he says. “If you want someone to think you’re sleeping, keep your breathing slow and calm. Like this….” Slowly, he take some deep breathes, as if he is asleep.
I nod and then I decide it’s time to hear the truth.
“Daddy….. why are you so scared of your nightmares?”
He looks at me puzzled, as if he doesn´t believe I just asked that.
“Why do you want to know?” he then asks me.
I sigh and look down on my plush-dog, Softie. “Because….. hearing you cry and be scared…. it makes me sad…. and I don´t like that….,” I whisper.
He sighs again, then he hugs me.
I hug back and take a deep breath. I like his smell. It’s so warm and comforting. I call it “Daddy’s smell.” I snuggle close to his chest, and silently whisper:
“Daddy? Why are you afraid??”
I hear his heart beat in his chest. Then, he begins to talk.
“Sometimes…. grownups have something to be scared of too….. We’re all afraid of something….. and in this case… I´m afraid of my dreams.”
“Why?” I ask quietly.
“Because…..I´m afraid that they might come true…. and that something might happen to you and your Mom.”
“Why don´t you fight what you’re scared of then?” I ask him.
He looks at me again. “Fight what I am scared of?”
“Yeah…. once when I had a bad dream that I got chased by a monster and I had it twice, I decided to fight the monster, and it was scared of me!” I beam at the thought. Softie and me really showed that monster who the boss was.
Daddy smiles tiredly at me. I can see he´s very tired.
“Thanks champ…” he whispers. “I guess I should try and fight back… instead of trying to run away.” He gives me another hug and is about to leave when I stop him by grabbing his hand.
“Daddy? Will you please sleep here with me tonight?” I ask quietly.
He looks puzzled at me. “What for, champ?” he asks me.
I look around in my room. “If… if I´m all alone,… the black kat may come….,” I whisper.
“The black kat?” Daddy says quietly.
“Please stay here, Daddy…. please?” I whisper.
He then nods. Daddy is very tired. I can see it in him.
“OK, champ… I´ll stay…..” With that, he sits down on my bed and he curls up beside me. He falls asleep immediately.
When I make sure he is fully asleep, I put a blanket over him so he won´t get cold.
“Goodnight, Daddy…,” I whisper and give him a peck on his cheek.
I can see he is happy because he is smiling in his sleep. Then, I crawl up in bed, snuggle close to Daddy, and fall asleep.
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