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Chipmunk'd

I have a lot of nightmares. Too many to count. It's something that just happens when you have had chronic nightmares your whole life.

And people don't really talk about having chronic nightmares, but it supposedly affects about 8% of the population. So in solidarity to this silent minority of dreamers, I am going to share last night's nightmare. Here goes.

I was minding my own business when I look in the mirror. (Now, as any self-conscience female could tell you, it becomes very easy to spend a lot of time in front of a mirror.) In this scene, I am observing my face as usual.

As usual, that is, until I notice I have these weird and otherwise imperceptible cheek flaps that I can access from underneath my upper lip and that I can lift up.

As usual fools do, I follow this discovery into trouble.

I peer under the cheek flap on the right side. There is a ginormous decaying tooth under there. When I say ginormous, I mean about three wisdom teeth placed side by side. It's huge and it's horrible and it's decaying. I see this and understand that something must be done although when the frick did I get a cheek tooth?! What is this disgusting and useless thing? It doesn't even appear to be connected to my upper jaw or any bone in any way, besides the fact that it is a tooth.

I check under the left flap. OH no, there's another cheek tooth! This one is definitely not in the best condition either. It parallels the tooth from the other cheek and I understand that I have two random teeth decaying in my cheeks. I try to figure out when humans got cheek teeth but it does not compute.

As a proactive person, the right cheek tooth looks more like a burnt crisp than a tooth. I gently try to remove it from under the flap with my fingers and it comes out. No pain. The gums? around the tooth do not look pleased but they did not protest. I try the left side. I can remove this one too (how??) but there's a bit of a pinch. I let my cheek flaps settle back down. I look normal, as I did when the dream began.

I prepare for going out. I don't know what I need to leave the house for or where I will go, but I prep my face like the modern day woman I am.

Twenty after the removal of the cheek teeth, my cheeks are on fire. They are in agony! And now I also look like a chipmunk because my cheeks have swollen up.

I leave the house to find others who had/have cheek teeth. I run into them everywhere!! Apparently it is new evolution and at least a third to a half of all humans now have cheek teeth. They have no currently interpretable purpose. Most of them decay away, especially when people don't know they have them.

I learn that removing these decayed teeth on my own was very bad idea. I am stuck with the chipmunk face and the searing pain for at least the day (the dream does not span beyond this time). People laugh when they realize why it is hard for me to talk. I acted before having the facts and this is what I have gotten.

I wake up. I don't have to check that I don't have cheek teeth. I am used to this bizarre dreams being very not real.

What is curious to me is that I have never had tooth decay like that. How would I know what it would feel like? In fact, I've never had pain from tooth decay at all. I've had chipped teeth, but in terms of naturally occurring damage that is it.

How might my brain connect that humans would develop cheek teeth? Will I discover the purpose in another dream? Why did I have the irresistible desire to pluck them out, regardless of the condition? Why didn't I just see a dentist, especially if they weren't bothering me?

I prefer to forget my nightmares. Really, I do. I think from time to time that I can handle them (this was a relatively mild dream) but other times I can't. Then I fight sleep even if I don't want to. I've chosen to chronicle this one because A. teeth dreams are common in and of themselves, so this may be generally relatable in some ways, B. I had it last night and remembered it too vividly to forget anytime soon, and C. I had already shared it with someone.

All of my nightmares are bizarre like this, some of them recur, and others "recur" but I have agency and can alter behaviors and results. I don't have happy dreams. Peaceful or okay dreams feel like one in a million. If I wanted, I could write a ton of short story horror compilations.

I may never know why I've had them since I was at least 4. I would love to hear others speak up and share if they have anything that helps. I don't have any solutions for myself.

© 2017 by Ameka Menes.

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