When I was a little girl, I had a recurring nightmare that always began in the basement of our townhouse (We lived in Milwaukee. Townhouses had basements.)
My mother would be sorting laundry and putting on another load, and I would be playing nearby. Then, I would become preoccupied and not notice that my mother was done and heading back up the stairs.
Now, in the rules in my dreams, I’m supposed to go up the stairs first, with my mother behind me. Because if I didn’t, then the stairs would disappear underneath my feet and I wouldn’t be able to get safely back up.
Stuck in the basement, I would have to deal with the washing machine, which would stop being an inanimate object and become a monster. That’s usually when I would wake my 8-year-old self up and try to dream about something else when I fell back asleep. Usually, it worked.
As I grew up, I learned to fly above disappearing stairs in my dreams. That felt kind of cool. Then no matter when stairs showed up in my dreams, I was always flying over them, grounding myself at the last minute, before I “fell.”
Sometimes, when you’re little, I think you have a better handle on the world than you do as you age.