I had another dream last night. A bad one. On a scale of 1 – 5, where one is your regular, run-of-the-mill nightmare, and five is–well, you know what five is. You’ve been there.


Mom had decided to take dad back. Again. He was as bad as he ever was–maybe, actually, worse. Always roaming around the house, grumbling about how no one appreciates him, how ungrateful we are, etc. A bomb ready to go off at any moment.

He had taken over my bathroom. Water covered the floor by inches. He had plugged his toothbrush into the wall socket, a permanent fixture I was not to remove. Dirty razors, clogged with hair lay propped against the edge of the sink, and I had to be careful when I washed my hands–it would be so easy to cut them on it.


The screaming came. From him, from me, my vulnerability, his rage, his always knowing just where to strike that would hurt the most. I am naked, wearing only a towel, rushing to cover myself as we fight. Can he see me?


Something pads across my legs.

I open my eyes.

I feel something walking along my side, shifting the blankets as it moves. Then it is walking across my boobs–little needle-points causing spasms of pain (this is how you get tit cancer), and then–finally–there is something warm, solid, and infinitely soft laying on my chest. A tiny, wet nose begins to nuzzle my ear, purring to himself, rumbling deep within my ribcage. He’s so close, his insubstantial fur begins to tickle the inside of my nose as I breathe. I rub my face roughly–still waking up, still registering.

Acarien latches onto my ear, kneading my face and the pillow behind me with his tiny, razor-sharp kitten claws. His purring grows as he sucks and slurps and kneads–I gave  up feeling slightly repulsed by the habit long ago.


I lean over and grab my phone. I still have ten minutes until my alarm goes off. Time to wake up. I am already awake. Already here. Safe, in my room. I’ll let the kitten nurse a little bit longer.