I dreamt of dragons for the first time when I was five.
screaming in the bedroom, walls shaking, feet stomping, hiding under the blankets
It was a childlike dream in every way. Cartoon-colored dragons bumbled over a grassy meadow, their big eyes blinking at me as they flapped their wings. They were like carousel creatures, even though I had only seen carousels on TV. They were cheerful, friendly. The perfect antidote to terror.
more shouting, hiding the gun, waiting for the cops to arrive, bundled up in blankets on the way to grandma’s house
I remember curling up next to a bright blue dragon. He extended his wing over me, the softest blanket I had ever felt. He purred like a cat, little puffs of smoke escaping his nostrils and I slept without nightmares that night.
fighting with my mother, pots and pans being thrown at me, a fist punching through the wall.
The dragons only came to my dreams when I needed them. They changed as I aged, from the cute and bumbling creatures of my early years, to something more predatory. The bright blue dragon was always there, although his hide became more of a midnight blue in my teenage years. I started reading books about dragons, both fiction and mythology. I studied their strength, their cunning. I wondered where they could possibly be hiding in the deserts of West Texas.
Standing up for myself. Fighting back. Reclaiming my own power. Leaving.
I remember the last dragon dream so clearly. I was standing in my parent’s backyard, anxious and crying after yet another horrific fight. I was looking up at the night sky and I heard a whisper. Come with us. I leapt to the top of the fence, then to the top of the roof, and then into the sky. I felt the wings flowing out from my body, felt my skin harden, the spines erupting from my forehead. There was a whole group of dragons in the night sky, but I found my dragon almost immediately. We flew onward, for what seemed like hours. We were flying under a full moon, and I could see that we were flying over a heavily wooded area. We came over a hill and there was a huge lake below, so clear that the moon was perfectly reflected in its surface. The blue dragon looked over at me, his eyes shining like stars. I felt powerful. Safe. And for the first time in my life, I felt truly hopeful.
And then we dove into that beautiful lake, and it was nothing but stars.