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Hoping to wake up from unsettling dreams

I don't always remember my dreams, but when I do, they often leave me unsettled. I don't dream of butterflies and roses, of happy frolicking across a meadow. Others may, I suppose, but not me. The dreams that linger after I wake are hardly pastoral. They're about being chased or about being left behind. Their urgency often startles me.

One of my recurring dreams, for example, is of a yellow bus chugging away as I run uphill to catch it, my breath ragged, my hair wild, my book bag thumping my back. The dream always ends the same, no matter how fast I run. Other times I'm locked in a room, about to take a test for which I'm not prepared. So strange, these dreams. I've been out of...