I woke from the dream to find my body rigid with fear. In the dream, I was in a kind of dormitory on the upper floor of an old building in some European capital--a Prague, a Budapest, a Vienna?--with other, unknown people all around. There was a bombing raid. I heard the squadron approaching from far away, the sound of their relentless engines, the bombs fling on the city, coming closer and closer to the place where I was sleeping. Soon, the entire building was literally throbbing with the deafening sound of the bombers, and bombs began to explode close by. To protect myself, I had slipped out of bed and lay rigid with fear in the small space between the bed and the wall... At which moment, I woke.
Whence came these bombers and their bombs? For what reason did I find myself in this foreign capital? Why was it being attacked? I have no idea. Are there bombs dropping in my real life at the moment? No more than the occasional emotional bomb that bursts unexpectedly near by. Do I have enemies trying to do me harm? I think not. So whence this totally vivid and terrifying dream?
The sound of the bomber squadrons remains familiar to me, more than seventy years after they passed over my house in World War II. We were not a target, except accidentally. We lived some sixty miles north of London--distance enough for the German bombers to fly before jettisoning their undropped bombs and turning east for their return to base. I remember skies in constant motion with the searchlight beams, the silver glint of barrage balloons high above the valley that lay below us, the terror of refugees from the Blitz who arrived by the busload in our village. I remember--or think to remember--the sound of exploding bombs not a half mile from our house...
Still, why would these memories return so vividly, in dream, here in Los Angeles, several thousand miles and more than seventy years away? I have no idea. Even so, when I woke, my whole body was taut with fear. I must be carrying it still, somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind.