• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 05

Chewing Gum

I have this dream, almost every night, about something sticky in the back of my throat. It starts off as barely noticeable, like chewing gum, but soon it’s filled my mouth and I’m struggling to speak, to breathe, and I’m reaching fingers back there, gagging, pulling. The distinction between the gum and my own throat becomes blurred, and piled up in pink ribbons in my hand is my own stretched out uvula. But it's still attached. I am choking. I am faced with a choice, to remain suffocating and mute, or to cut and bleed and breathe.
“Darling, don’t you want to come inside?”
One side effect of the dream is that it creeps into my waking life. I can’t even look at movie posters with cute girls blowing pink bubbles any more. You know the ones. If someone’s chewing gum in a tv show, I turn it over. If someone offers me a chewing gum, I turn away. How can people bear to have that gunk in their mouths for so long?
“Darling, aren’t you cold out there?”
It’s kind of like the way it’s much harder to go pick up a rotisserie chicken after raising chickens of your own.
Or to say yes to a plastic straw after you’ve seen one in a turtles nose.
Or to carry on smoking after you’ve seen a loved one on a ventilator.
You can still do it, sure. You can carry on as if everything is normal, but the pleasure is lost.
“Darling, stop messing around.”
When I first started having the dreams, I had a private consultation with Dr. Google. A website called Dream Meanings postulated I might be finding it difficult to express my frustration with my waking life. To break the spell, they advised that within the dream I ask others for help when I find myself pulling and pulling. But you haven’t met the people in my dreams, I’d rather tear out my own tongue than ask them for help. Sometimes I do.


Chewing Gum

Sometimes, I wake up and I turn to him. He lets me stay in his arms, quiet and breathless in the darkness.
Maybe I have sleep apnea or something. Maybe I drink too much coffee. All I know, is it no matter how many times I try to cut it out, it always comes back.