Before last week I hadn’t dreamed in two years. And now, suddenly, I am dreaming every night . . . and it is a terrible dream, because it is so sad, and because it is always the same one, and because it ushers me into a day that I could care less about.

In my dream it is winter and I am in Maryland. Outside it is dark and there is snow on the ground and I can see the smoldering orange lights of Baltimore above the black trees that encircle my yard. Dante and Virgil are curled up on a snowflake-patterned blanket at the foot of the bed. M is brushing her teeth in the bathroom down the hall. Gently I peel the comforter open and turn off the bedside light. The room is mostly shadows now but some moonlight makes its way through the grey sheet hanging over the window and casts a ghostly glow on M as she pads over the carpet in slippers. I touch her arm as she gets near and hug her—I almost never hug anyone—and she says something about Dante and Virgil and we get into bed. She is facing the wall and her back to is to me and I pull her close to my body and the dream goes dark.

The whole thing lasts 30 seconds and when it ends I awake in my own bed, in what I can only assume is the present, and stare upwards at the ceiling until I cannot tolerate another minute of feeling sorry for myself.

I am 25 years old and sleep doesn’t comfort me. I mean it really doesn’t do anything to my body. What’s going on? And now I am frightened of closing my eyes at night and going back to that person who no longer wishes to know me and to the place where I am no longer welcome.