Some times she sleeps in inns. Sometimes in motels. Once she slept under someone's porch. Sometimes, like tonight, she sleeps in hostels. Motels are by far the best, and the most expensive. Inns are tolerable, but they're mostly slightly refurbished homes where the owners are trying to generate some extra income on a oversized house. You never quite know what you are getting into with inns. Hostels are pretty much the same all over. Lie about your age, stay for dirt cheep, sleep on top of your belongings. And probably shower with them too.
These are the times where she is very thankful for her near instant wake-up ability. She has only had sleep interrupted once this night by the lame, I am sorry I thought this was my room line. Which is to also say, this is the first decent night's rest she has had in weeks. She actually has time to dream.
This night she dreams of the actions of what seems to be her previous life. There is a muddle of images from the time when her mind was still learning how to remember. Then the first solid memory replays in her mind. A birthday party, her fifth. Colors and tones have a technicolor like clearness, almost as if the color was added afterwards. Vivid memories of her father holding the present, and her mother lighting candles on a cake flicker through the film like representation her mind has taken.
Dreams built of memories lacking precision and continuity. Of having to look up to see anyone's face. The continuous feeling of being ignored and dismissed, and not caring about it. Playing with people her size, and the games that where more running and yelling than anything else. The look from her parents when she did something wrong. The look when she did something right. And the look when she hadn't done anything at all. Confused then, and still confused now.
Her mind replays her life as she sleeps. Searching.
Dreamed of the trials and tests of being a teen. Of getting responsibility and learning what the word really meant. Of friends that changed and where lost. Hating and loving and hating and loving her parents at rates that would impress hummingbirds. Trying out every emotion at least once everyday. Dealing with everything changing and getting more complex. Not liking boys, then liking them, then hating them, then maybe girls, then boys again. Confused then, and still confused now.
Her mind searches for something. Somewhere in this mess of memories.
Dreams of dreams. Memories of who she thought she would be now. Who she would be with, what he would be like. The things she would be doing, have done, and would do. Of her children, how many and what each could be like. Of some of their lives. All of the things she thought she would have now, and does not.
A couple of tears slide down her sleeping face for the dreams of the past.
Then she dreams of that night. The dream she would rather not remember, but has too. The pure unfiltered fear that bolted her awake so many years ago doesn't have quite the same bite tonight. So she remains sleeping, but her body is taunt as a drum. She dreams of waking in a cold sweat, damping the sheets. There is something downstairs. Something that was not supposed to be there. Quiet, awake, listen, but hear nothing. Then something, she cannot recall what, but she is flying out of bed now. Grabbing whatever clothing was handy, with half of a mind, she manages to shove some things into a bag. A moment paused at the windowsill, then realizing that whatever was downstairs is now coming up, she jumps into the tree outside her bedroom window. She barely makes it and scrambles, mostly falling, down the trunk and hits the ground running.
Running nowhere. All she can think right there and then is to get to the trains. She can loose them on the trains. She does not know where she will go, but she knows she must keep moving. And the trains are always moving.
Her dreams move quickly through the rest of the present, wanting to be there as little as she did. Body tense until the mind runs out of now and into the future. Carfully easing into it, to avoid the shock of a quick change, her mind focuses on what could be.
She has had many different versions of the next dream. Some very absurd, some very possible, all have the same common theme. No more running. This dream follows the same basic pattern every time. Her getting off of a train, knowing that this is the end. The rest are details filled in by the previous day's events.
Once there was a celebration of sorts. Like the kind given to someone who had passed some great test. Perhaps a bit like a graduation party, but twisted with something of a princess returning home. It was a very loud and exciting dream. Very full of itself, and the experiences she has had.
Sometimes there are old friends, or even family there to greet her. To welcome her back, forgetting and forgiving her absence. Sometimes it is new people. Someone she meets in the station, and leaves with. A new friend, or more than just a friend.
Sometimes there is just a man that tells her it is over, and then he is gone.
Usually this dream is just her getting off the train, and leaving the station. A very normal experience with other faces in the background. Nothing out of the ordinary except for that piece of internal joy that she is free. A dream where she gets to have all that she had wanted in life before. A dream where she never rides the trains again.
A couple of times it is a nightmare. Simply put, they catch her. Once with a trap that could only exist in the boundless expanse of the mind. Once someone on the train threw her out. Usually just a bunch of people in black suits grab her as she leaves the train. She always wakes at this point in cold sweat with heart racing hard enough to escape her chest.
Yesterday was typical. Nothing to raise her hopes or crush them. Tonight's dream of the future is typical. She gets off the train, and never returns. Finding some small nook in the world to live without fear. It gives some peace and relaxes her so she gets the rest she needs very badly. Soon there is a single clear sound, and it snaps her into the woken world. And the dreams are all forgotten until the next time.