Wednesday, April 30, 2014

45 years ago

I shall do a bit of what I set out to do with this blog.  Triggered by the word 'sleep paralysis'.

she and  the Magyar had decided to divorce.  He had moved out and she and her daughter remained in the home till end of the school year.  The past few months had been extremely unpleasant.    

Lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, she opens her eyes and freezes.  She sees his dresser and the chair besides the dresser. He is sitting on the chair doing what she had seen him do for many years.   She can hear the crackling sound of the starched shirt as he bends forward to pull his socks off one by one.  Slowly, as he used to do it, and the starch continues to make itself known.  It is incredibly real real real.  Real to the extend that she can also hear the usual sounds of his labored breathing. 

Although a harmless event to witness, she is terrified and feels completely paralysed.
He is not in the house. She feels completely awake.  

She knows that fear-and distress-dreams can be triggered by 'feel back emotions' but, this is not a dream.  She is awake.  She is frightened and paralysed to the extend that she does not dare to breath and her heartbeat is racing. What is happening?

Finally last week, she came to read an article about sleep paralysis. 
It is said that sleep paralysis experiences are usually very terrifying but that blissful and harmless ones are also reported.

She needs to add that this good man, yes he was a good man, was 14 years her senior and had an alcohol problem which, when outbursts occurred, frightened her to the bones.


marja-leena said...

Oh, that sounds like right out of a novel! I hope your friend recovered and now has peaceful sleeps.

Halle said...

Oh, the terrible tricks our minds can play!

Knowing a cause can help, yet there are feelings that cannot be banished by logic.

Ellena said...

She recovered but the end of the novel is not written as yet.
Life is good-no rush about the end.
If given enough time, acceptance and endurance help weaken most feelings, I think.

Lucy said...

This is chilling and terrifying, not least because you write about it so well; the crackle of the starched shirt is nightmarish.

Ellena, not about this, but can you e-mail me? There's something I want to send to you

Rouchswalwe said...

Ach, Ellena. I, too, felt a chill reading this. Partially because one of my closest friends has married a Magyar and is experiencing these episodes, too. I am sending you a warm hug, which will do me good, too.

Ellena said...

I can still see it so very clearly with the difference that it is now still and calm within me.

Hugs are always welcome. Thank you.
I wonder if all Magyars have burning Paprika in their blood.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Ellen, you have the gift: the gift to express yourself in a way that is candid, un-selfconscious and yet sophisticated. I admire the way you have moulded the autobiographical into art in this beautiful cameo.

Ellena said...


Thank you for seeing it that way.

Roderick Robinson said...

I've mentioned your writing style before - it's fascinating. The sentences parse so that's OK; but the (unwritten) links between sentences sometimes go missing. How, you may ask, can I diagnose the absence of something that isn't there? Because in normal circumstances the visible sentences are constructed in such a way that the links between them are "understood" by the reader. Failing to write this way is technically a fault but I wouldn't for a million pounds advise you to rectify it.What emerges is a style that is your own. For example:

Although a harmless event to witness, she is terrified and feels completely paralysed.
He is not in the house. She feels completely awake.

In theory a link might occur if you switched the positions of the second and third sentences (After which you'd probably be inclined to delete the second "completely"). But don't for a minute consider it. As it stands the separateness adds to her distracted state of mind.

I'd be tempted to say this effect happened by accident if I had not read your other posts and noticed this sort of thing before. I also know that you spend a lot of time on what you write and that it shows - to your benefit.

Just in case you misunderstand me let me repeat: don't try and change things. An individual voice is a valuable asset in writing and you have one. That's why I chose to add your comment to the piece I gave at Joe's funeral.

Ellena said...


Thank you. Do it again.