Caffeine and I, in general, are not the best of friends. If I even catch a whiff of a caffinated beverage after about 3:00 in the afternoon, I’m usually up all night long. But, oddly enough, if I consume a caffinated beverage in the morning when I’m exhausted and unable to pry my eyelids pass half mast, it seems to take little to no effect whatsoever.
Last night was russian school night. Usually I’m prepared when we go, as the kids’ lessons go right through dinner time, so I often pack dinner and bring it with us so they can eat at school. But yesterday time got away from me and I didn’t bring food, so I ran out and got a little heart hardening fast food and, in a moment of extreme weakness, I ordered a Coke for myself.
Mistake numero uno.
Upon returning home and getting tuckered out kiddos to bed, I prepared hot tea for Lee and I. I used my favorite tea, and made sure I chose a non-caffinated flavor for myself and a regular flavor for Lee, because he’s a freak of nature who’s not affected at all affected by caffeine.
Only I got the tea bags mixed up after I opened them. I sniffed the different teas and tried to figure out which was which, and thought I’d gotten it right.
Um…I was wrong. I figured this out around 1:30 when my mind was still racing and my hands were all jittery-like. Sometime after 2:00 I fell asleep, but it was restless and fraught with vivid and realistic dreams.
Like the dream where I was sent to prison. It was so realistic that I was sure it was happening for real (hence it being realistic…*eyeroll*). I could feel the scratchy fabric of the prison-issued jumpsuit on my skin, I was distraught and upset at the thought of being away from my kids for a long time, I was slightly excited at the prospect of long stretches of alone time…Ahem. I watched other inmates play ping pong with the wardon. They were all very young and good looking. As I watched them play, I actually commented how un-Shawshank my prison experience was.
Then I walked through the large community room where prisoners were reading books and watching TV. Clearly this was a dreamland experience – everything was bright, neat and clean. In fact, it seemed to be a rather pleasant place. From the community room, I walked into my jail cell and I sat alone, stared at a cement wall and cried because deep in my heart, I knew I was innocent and had been wrongly convicted. I’m not sure what I was convicted of, but I just knew I was innocent and I missed my family.
I felt empty knowing that I wouldn’t see the kids for a long, long time and I thought about them growing up without me and wondering why their mom was in prison. And as I thought about these things, I cried harder, to the point that my nose was running and I was approaching a panic attack. It was a very hopeless feeling.
And then I woke up and looked at the clock. It was 4:30, I was sweating and my cheeks were wet with tears. And all I could think as I laid there letting reality sink in was I. Am. Innocent.
Then, after a few minutes, I started laughing. Then Lee rolled over and mumbled something in his sleep about me needing to be still. And I laughed harder.
And, of course, it took some time to fall back to sleep. I couldn’t get the images of “jail” out of my head or the feeling that I had been wronged. By the time the effects of the caffeine finally wore off and I drifted into a deep, dreamless sleep, the kids woke up. And as I dragged my weary body out of bed, I remembered that things could be worse. I could be wrongly convicted of a crime I was unaware of and sitting in a dark, quiet jail cell all alone.
Then I chuckled, pulled on some clothes, and stumbled into the kitchen to make breakfast.
And even now, although I am well aware of the fact that this was just a strange, bizarre, disturbing dream, I can’t shake this feeling that I have been wronged and I somehow need to defend myself.