Saturated Night Terrors

By Emma Pearson

June 22, 2024

6th December 2020

Saturated Night Terrors – sounds a little like Saturday Night Fever, doesn’t it?

I woke up earlier than I hoped to this morning from a terrifying dream. As with most dreams and nightmares, it felt so very real. I don’t know what it all means. I mulled it over immediately afterwards, but also wanted to go back to sleep. But the dream’s violence, scariness prevented that. Eventually I got up.

In the dream, I was in a beautiful room in what felt to be an old country manor or hotel – wooden floor boards, big windows with lots of beautiful, natural light streaming in. I had my cello, and as I picked it up, all four strings came away. It’s a horrible feeling – even having just one string snap – the sound can be dramatic. But here all four somehow came away at once. I rested the cello on the floor wondering how I would be able to fix it. The cello’s bridge had come away too, of course and I remember seeing it on the floor. Dozens of wooden beads or something similar, moving rapidly away from the cello, scattering across the floor. In the dream they were somehow associated with the cello but I don’ know what they represent. It was just that it was messy, I’d have to be careful not to slip, and would eventually have to tidy them up, but it wasn’t a big part of the dream.

I knew that my friend and former boss from eons ago, Anne O, was around. (Anne was my boss when I was 20 and we’ve stayed in touch all these years, even if we don’t see each other often). In my dream she was not just my senior peer, but also a cellist. I called out, “Anne, I need a miracle!” I wandered down the corridor to get closer to her and heard her call back, “Coming, coming, coming!” I could hear some urgency in her voice, and so I added, “I don’t need a miracle urgently – I just need a miracle”. There was lightness in both of our tones. Anne came towards me and I showed her my cello on the floor, and this tiny woman grasped my hands firmly but lovingly and, looking into my eyes with tears in her own, said, “Oh my god – do you know how long it took me to be able to change my cello strings with confidence? It took me YEARS!” (I remember her eyes and skin vividly in my dream – her eyes so blue and bright, her skin so fresh and lovely – a huge, compassionate love and energy emanating).

(I have had to change some strings in the past and it’s true that it requires some dexterity. There are rules and principles about not changing more than one string at a time because of tension etc on the bridge, and risk of dislocating the bridge and damaging the body of the cello. It’s not something I like to do. And it makes sense that, having recently gone back to playing my cello after not playing for 5 years, I wonder about my cello’s state, its structure, and if I shouldn’t just put it in for a “service”. I will, when Corona-restrictions lessen).

Anne and I moved away from my collapsed cello lying on the floor and she said, “Emma – I need to talk to you about your coaching. We (whoever “we” was I don’t know) have been talking about your coaching, Emma, and I need to share what has been said. Mostly clients love your flexible style and how you work with them, but there’s a sense that you are not structured enough, and don’t follow all of the guidelines that we are given as coaches”. Ha ha – that is such accurate feedback, and I can totally imagine a client or a colleague having to say that to me – that I don’t follow all of the rules, even if I get the work done well enough. That was not the key part of the dream either, but it was a more likely role and explanation for Anne’s presence, who I rarely see, in my dream time.

We wandered across the beautiful room to the window where we looked down across the extensive lawns. We were somewhere beautiful, rather English countryside-ish, though it wasn’t anywhere I know from my real life. There was a road coming towards the building we were inside of, and I saw two cars driving, one smallish and white, one large and dark blue or black. One of them quickly and abruptly overtook the other, driving in the direction of where we were. The car behind then immediately overtook the one that had just overtaken it. It really rattles me, to see that kind of behaviour. I said to Anne, “oh god look – those cars are playing silly buggers”. The cars carried on for a while, one overtaking the other, quickly, fast, aggressively. It didn’t look like friends having a bit of fun but really dangerous driving.

At one stage, the white car flipped around 90 degrees and was being pushed fast, sideways, by the big blue-black car. There was no let-up in speed. Somehow the white car righted itself and they carried on. There was a sharp 90 degree bend in the road where the cars turned left, and from our perspective at the window, we saw them now coming along the road parallel to where we were, driving off to the right along the road in front of us. There were no other cars around, thankfully.

I could see the cars so clearly even though they were probably 200 m or so away. I could make out the number plate on one of the cars – the lettering was British number plate style, and I said to Anne, “Look – the number plate – I’ll be able to remember that, more or less – it looks like the word “Saturation” but isn’t. SAT UAT or something”.

The cars passed in front our building/hotel and carried on driving fast. I could see it all so clearly. The driver in the car in front (or passenger) leaned out of the window and I could see him point something at the car behind. At first I thought it might be a gun and was aghast… then some steam or spray came out of whatever he had. I knew it wasn’t safe but couldn’t figure anything out. Then he launched one of those “danger/emergency rocket-flames” at the car behind – one of those distress things you might do if you’re lost out in the wilderness. Like a torpedo in water, or a heat-seeking missile in the air I saw it veer from the first car towards the blue black one behind… I could see the driver in the second car – a dark haired, heavy-set, bearded man – no-one I know from my life. The “torpedo” zig zagged for a bit and I thought it might miss the dark blue-black car but it found it and lodged under the front… The driver’s expression didn’t change – he just looked angrily determined. I could see everything so clearly; it felt so close-up. Oblivious to the danger he was in. As the car carried driving (the white one now out of sight over a hill in the road), I could see flames and smoke starting up behind his seat. Flames starting up everywhere, the inside of his car on fire. And carrying on driving towards the hill in the road, after which I lost sight of them.

I don’t know if there was an explosion – there should have been if films are anything to go by – but I can’t remember now if there was. A horrendous thing to witness. The dream didn’t end there because Anne and I then turned towards each other, shocked and shaken. I said, “Oh my god – are you going to go forward, as a witness?” She said back, “I am terrified, I’m just terrified”, and I said, “So am I” and we were just looking at each other, speechless, in horror, and I woke up.

Where do these dreams come from? Cello with broken strings (four strings… interesting… four losses)… Anne a colleague from a long time ago who was my boss and in the dream still a boss or senior peer of sorts… talking about coaching in very realistic terms, but then this traumatising car scene. Only those two cars in sight, no other people or cars around. Bad driving behaviour, which I abhor in my waking life. Dramatic shooting of a hazard flame thingy. And uncertainty and fear at the end – a horror about what we’d witnessed, a knowing that we “should” go forward, but not knowing what happened, and not wanting to be in danger, more danger, ourselves.

I know very little about dream analysis, but what I know is to remember the emotions evoked both during and afterwards – anything from frustration about the cello strings, to joy and love at being with Anne, to nerves and some laughter at hearing the feedback about my coaching, to the dread and foreboding, shock horror fear powerlessness as the car drama unfolded. The violence, the unnecessary violence and aggression. I know I hate cars behaving badly. I despair when cars overtake on too narrow, too bendy roads in my area. I anticipate future widow(er)s and orphans. I have a strong sense of righteousness about how to drive properly. I know too many people who’ve lost loved ones in car or bike accidents. And after I woke I just felt scared, shocked, and somewhat horrified that I might not go forward as witness. And enormous relief that I didn’t witness an actual accident – just the preamble, the unfolding, but not the end result.

I also know to consider each element that is in the dream (cello, strings, cello bridge, wooden beads, beautiful wooden floor boards, tall windows, streaming sun/daylight, long, green grassy sloping lawn, small white car, big dark scary Merc, drivers, number plate, that word “Saturation” (!), flame-rocket, Annie, her eyes and skin, her warm hands, etc) as part of me, as part of my consciousness. After all, it is my consciousness that invented the dream, so it stands to reason that everything in the dream is me, that I am everything in the dream. Even other people, whether lovely Annie or these scary men.

And “Saturation”. So much in that. SAT UAT.

Perhaps I am just saturated. In my day time. In my night time. I am relieved that the dream was just a dream. But what a messy mess my brain is.

What is the sorting that is going on in my brain, in my mind, in my heart and soul, for a dream like that to unfold while I am sleeping?

About Emma Pearson

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