So the twins will be three soon. In a moment of insanity Katarina and I decided adding another kid to this mix would be a great idea. She grew up as an only child as did I. Sure we technically had siblings, but we never knew them. I suppose that’s why we both like the idea of a larger family.
Well, kidlet three is cooking.
I wanted this. I was ecstatic and as excited as she….until the nightmares and panic attacks began. When Katarina was pregnant with the twins, that whole time was filled with fear and uncertainty, and that was before my little field trip to Karglock’s fun house.
After the first checkup where we heard the heartbeat, I woke in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. For a moment I was locked in a cold, dark cell, awaiting pain. Katarina stirred in her sleep and that brought me back to reality. She sleeps deeply and with practice we’ve learned not to wander into each others dreams without invitation. I spent a night on the couch the one time she wandered in on me dreaming about that one time in Carboli with the blonde and brunette…
Uhm, back to the point…. I dismissed it as a bad dream. They happen. Then the same thing happened every damn night for the next two weeks. Last night was the worst. I was back in that room, chained up and Katarina was just out of reach. The guard raised that electric whip and I woke up screaming, with Katarina shaking me and all but yelling in my head as well as audibly.
I was able to face that actual event with fierce determination. Reliving it in a dream? As soon as I was awake and looked at Katarina I broke down. I’m not talking a few little tears. No, it was like every tear, every ounce of pain I had shoved down came spilling out, shaking my whole body, and all I could do was let it and let Katarina hold me.
PTSD. I know what it is. Oh different species have various psychobabble names for it, but everyone is aware of it. Of course, up until now I stupidly thought I was tough, somehow immune. With Katarina silently holding me, not saying anything, just letting me blubber, I realized she expected it, perhaps had sensed it.
It sucks. I should be happy. I am, and yet because I am, the worst moments of my life insist on replaying over and over.
Only after I managed to pull myself together did we talk. The last thing I expected her to do was refer me to her dad. I figured she’d suggest a therapist.
He shared some really dark shit. I told him about the dreams, my fears. He told me some of his. As we sat on the back porch drinking whiskey and listening to cicadas, she’d known I’d never trust some human whose idea of danger probably meant driving a car in rush hour traffic. Finn and I both have some big ass skeletons in our closet. Finn’s regularly pull him down into depths of depression I can’t even fathom. I’ve made peace with the skeletons. It’s the fears that want to drag me under. That’s where he was the most helpful.
“Fear means you aren’t an idiot. You know how important Kat is to you, how important the kids are, and you don’t want to screw it up. The crap that happened before? You blame yourself.” He held up a hand. “Don’t deny it. It’s all over your face. Those goons got the jump on you in public. Had they not, none of what happened after would have transpired, but think about how those events bound you and Kat closer. She traveled across a galaxy to find you. We can’t rewrite the past, son. Yes, you went through horrific stuff, but you came out of it with a wife and family who loves you. You survived.”
I held up my glass of whiskey. “To family and surviving.”
He clinked his glass against mine. “I’ll drink to that.”
I don’t expect to not have nightmares, to never have a moment of panic when I have to leave my family to go do something, but knowing Finn understands, knowing Kat doesn’t think less of me, it puts it into perspective.
I am loved.