Usually, I like the rain. I like the sound of it, whispering quietly against my windows, the shimmering clean look and smell of the world, the cold, alive feel of wet skin... Tonight, though, it's not like that. Outside there's a silent, harsh rain painting everything. It's the kind of rain that soaks you through as soon as you step outside, slicing through to your scalp and trickling under the neck of your coat, finding the one hole in your shoe to drench your sock, so that even once you're inside and wrapped in a warm robe, you can never quite feel dry or warm.
I can't hear the rain at all. No drumming, no whispering, just the cold streaks of water like tears or icy fingers along my window. It's like watching a best friend turn malevolent and aloof at the same time.
I don't want to sleep tonight. For so long, things were going well. It's been months since the last time I had nightmares. I've had bad dreams since then, but nothing serious. I thought maybe I was better, that they were gone for good and I was cured of whatever made them come burbling up out of the muck of my subconscious in the first place. I guess I was wrong.
Three times in the past week I've woken up crying, shaking, sick with nightmares. I'm used to my own nightmares, but they're almost never this bad. Most of the time, I can wake up, get reaquainted with reality, pet the cat or curl closer to my boyfriend, and go back to sleep. Not with these. All I can do is lie there, choking on memories and tears, sick to my stomach. I can't just shake them off. They're strong enough and terrible enough to follow me through the day, waiting for a crack in the wall of preoccupation I build, waiting for me to calm down enough for the dream to come crawling back into my mind and ruin the day I've made.
The images are the same, and that's unusual, too. My dreams are usually all different, each one a surreal, unique reality-warp. I'm not used to these recurring, mundane, horrible tales. I don't want to sleep tonight. I can't just crawl into bed and close my eyes and wait for dream-hands to touch me, dream-bodies to press against me, dream-voices to tell me it's my fault and it's not wrong, dream-killers to choke their victims while I stand by helpless.
Maybe if I could hear the rain it would be all right. But there's nothing to hear, just wet, icy streaks on my windows, reaching in to me like the dreams.
It's going to be a long night.