The Torture List

I woke up with a funny feeling in my chest today - the kind where you know you were one step away from hell but thanks to the fact that you woke up in time, all was well in the universe again. The kind where you oscillate between feeling grateful for waking up at the right moment, and dreadful for having that terrible dream in the first place.

As dreams go, this one wasn't too out of the ordinary in that, it made little to no sense and I kept jumping between people and scenarios. I was doing laundry one minute and caring for someone with a terminal illness the next. The person I was caring for was someone I'd last seen about a decade ago and had literally nothing to do with me anymore. Dreaming about them specifically was weird but not as weird as switching positions with them in mere dream seconds. Suddenly, I was the one who was terminally ill. Suddenly, all the people surrounding their bed were replaced by just one person. My one person - Shane.

He was making me laugh in my dream, just as he had minutes before we went to bed the previous evening. The only difference was that all the laughter, both his and mine, were overshadowed by this crushing sadness. The more I laughed with him, the more my chest hurt. Soon, all my laughter was replaced by uncontrollable sobs that grew louder when he joined me in the sobbing. I can't say for sure if I woke up just then or actually dreamed the part where I died and his were the only sobs left in the room. I could have imagined that ending, but I now remember that I woke up with tears streaming down my cheeks.

It was around 10 am when I woke up and Shane was lying next to me, snoring into oblivion. I could have told myself that it was just a dream and gotten out of bed to make myself a cup of coffee. I could have called my parents for that reassuring bit of superstition you need in times like these - "dreaming about death means that good things are in store for you". I could have watched a YouTube video to learn a DIY skill I'd never put into practice anyway, just as long as it distracted me from that funny feeling in my chest. I could have done any number of things other than poking a happy, snoring, cuddly-bear who, God knows deserves his Sunday morning sleep-in more than most people I know. But instead, I shook him awake and told him all about my dream in a single breath before he'd even fully opened his eyes.

What followed was an hour of him meticulously listing all the things he would actually do to me if I were to be terminally ill and/or bedridden. I deserve every single one of these:

  1. Feed me red velvet cake, my least favourite of cakes. Nothing like knowing that you're having one of the last meals of your life and it's something you're meant to like but absolutely detest.

  2. Tell me celebrity gossip but get all the names wrong. Like, "did you hear that Kanye West and Jennifer Aniston split up recently?"

  3. Watch trashy Bollywood movies with me but pretend to be genuinely interested in the plot line. So that every time I'd try to make fun of something, he'd turn to me and say, "If you don't like it, feel free to get up on both legs and walk out of this room (which he assumes I won't be able to do when I'm terminally ill) instead of spoiling it for those of us who are actually trying to watch this, okay?"

  4. Bite his nails and "absentmindedly" leave them on my bed. So that I'm constantly disgusted and paranoid about that thing scratching against my thigh on my death-bed.

  5. Spray 'Poo-Pourri', a toilet spray in lemongrass scent as a room freshener in my room. It's what most other people would assume is simply lemongrass scented room freshener but I already associate with poop and bathrooms.

  6. Read all the Harry Potter books while sat next to my sick-bed and point out every single plot hole he can think of. Like, "Why didn't Snape just smuggle in a long-range rifle from the muggle world and shoot Nagini from the other side of the castle in the first place?".

  7. Get hooligans to ring our intercom at 3 am and keep at it for fifteen straight minutes for no reason. If he manages to have this done on a day when I have to wake up early for an appointment, even better.

  8. Contort his body into weird shapes so that his head can be positioned right next to my hand while we're watching the trashy Bollywood movies from point 3. This is so that I can continue scratching his head even when I'm too weak to move a muscle. There's no escape from the head-scratchies.

  9. Strengthen the stubble game so that his kisses are not just sloppy but also hurt my face. This would require trimming that beard every three days.

  10. Give me consciously distracted foot rubs during movies. He will ensure that there's a ten-minute gap of enthralled stillness after each time he presses my feet really well.

Apparently, none of these are supposed to make me laugh. Nuh-uh. They are designed for pure torture, as payback for all the times I have woken him up at 10 am on a Sunday morning to predict my future illness and death. Which was exactly once.

I can confirm that at the end of this hour-long exercise, that funny feeling in my chest was effectively gone. If you've ever had any strangely vivid dreams, leave them in the comments below. We might be able to put a nice spin on things after all.


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