There is a feeling I can’t give a name to, it’s the one you get when you’re halfway between a dream and reality. It is not half-sleep, because that is what you feel when you are almost asleep, while here it is a condition that is much more in reality than in dreams. It’s 3 am and I wake up from a nightmare. I know it wasn’t real, just as I know I’m awake now. I feel the mattress under my body and the sheets above. I feel that, probably fidgeting in my sleep, I got stuck in the shirt and now I feel tied up like a salami. It’s real, I understand it perfectly. I’m awake. I take my cell phone, reread the messages a bit, just to distance myself from that horrible world in my head. Yet I can not calm down. The nightmare is still there with me, more vivid and real than ever, ready to pick up where it left off as soon as I close my eyes. It is a terrible feeling, I am terrified and I have the impression that this anguish will never leave me, even when it is day outside and life comes knocking on my window again. I am both in reality and in the nightmare, always, whatever I do. This feeling of being split, of seeing the days pass me by as if I were an external observer, never leaves me. I feel constantly muffled, as if a glass bell separates me from the outside world. During the day some memories, at times, resurface in my mind and I often find myself wondering if they are real or not. I am distracted, I leave the sentences unfinished. Then, thinking about it, I always remember my dreams. Everyone, even four or five every night. They are almost always nightmares, though. And I stay here, but also a little there.
When I was little, I had an uncontrollable faith in a whole series of universal rules about monsters. I was certain, for example, that if I kept every part of my body perfectly inside the mattress frame and wrapped in the blankets, if I never opened my eyes closed and if I pretended to sleep, I would be safe. I did not know where I had drawn this conclusion. I remembered, yes, that my mother told me I would be suffocated if I continued to sleep with my head under the quilt. Then one evening, by pure chance, I fell asleep with my head out of the covers like a normal person and no monster had grabbed me. Over time I had begun to respect the rules about monsters less and less, until I got into the habit of sleeping with one arm hanging off the side of the bed and my feet out of the covers.

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