In the Night When There’s Nobody There by
(134 Stories)

Prompted By Daydreaming

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Is it daydreaming if it’s dark out?

Is it daydreaming if it's dark out?

I’ve never really been one for daydreaming. Those times when others might daydream, I tend to occupy my mind with trivia or mindless entertainment. That or simply drift off into a thought-free distance, staring out the window, contemplating nothing.

But often, at night, when my insomnia comes out of my anxiety closet to play, my mind wanders, my imagination fires up. I dream of alternate lives I might have lived, aspirations that I euthanized long ago.  I imagine the Indy 500 or F1 championship that I never won. The planes I never piloted, long sailboat voyages I never took. The academic career that I managed to glimpse, but fell short of grasping.

Or people, people with whom, for good or ill (usually ill) I have unfinished business that will never be concluded. Sometimes I think of people gone from my life whom I remember fondly, friends who drifted away or died, women with whom it just didn’t work out.

It is probably not a good thing, though, that more often the people I remember are those who have hurt me; bullies, untrue friends, old lovers. Truthfully, they are not numerous. The people who have brought joy into my life greatly outnumber them. But, staring out my bedroom window, across the alley at the dimly streetlit building next door, the bad ones for some reason loom large. Larger than they warrant. Larger than they deserve.

Sometimes I wish I could tell them about the pain they caused, because I am not sure if all of them knew. Tell them that we all have a duty to be kind to each other, to know our power, and to soften the blows that, because life is hard, we must occasionally strike. Often I want to tell them that I turned out pretty good despite the beatings or the rejection, along the lines of living well being the best revenge.

Eventually, in my warm bed with Gina beside me, sleep comes.


Profile photo of Dave Ventre Dave Ventre
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.

Tags: Daydreams, daydreaming, insomnia, sleep, anxiety
Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Love the photo you used, Dave. Like you, when I’m awake, I go off into a daydream. But wow, the places you go when you can’t sleep…deep, sometimes dark. And your word choice…”aspirations that I euthanized long ago”. Now that’s a sentence! Thanks for taking us into the deep recesses of your mind, but also saving us since Gina is there too.

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    Stupid bullies, still pestering you. But good you have been able to change the narrative and maybe they will continue to fade away with more time. Resilience wins. Sometimes people who have to fight for what they want are overall more successful in life.

  3. Ah Dave, whether dreaming by day or night I think we all have welcome and also unwelcome dreams about both the good and the demonic actors in our lives.

    In this story you’ve told your demons about the pain they’ve caused – now hopefully they’ll heed you and be gone!

  4. Dear Dave:
    I would like to plagiarize Betsy’s comment. In fact, just repeat it here and put my name on it!

  5. Jim Willis says:

    Dave, thanks for sharing your experiences with night dreams, just a lights-out verison of daycreams. Your story is well told and there’s a lot there to relate to. I dream a lot, and mostly I look forward to them. Sometimes I wonder if I might revisit a dream from the night or two before just to get more clarity on it or see how it comes out. I don’t spend much time trying to figure out where most of those dreams come from, but I do know that the emotions of my day are fueling them.

    • Dave Ventre says:

      I sometimes take melatonin to help me sleep. Occasionally this leads to dreams with vivid colors. Or color dreams. Once I awoke sitting upright in bed. My wife says that I just said one word: “blue.” The dream wasn’t about something blue, or someone feeling blue. The dream was blue, and blue was the dream. I can’t describe it any other way.

      Dreams are strange.

  6. Thanks for helping me see my failing memory as a good thing.

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