... They are the most frightening moments of my life, every morning. It's the part where my world collides with this one, and I need to figure out where I am, here or in there. All too often, I'm not sure. This morning, her soft skin is not next to me to give me the comforts of her embrace; no pardon from what I must undertake...

A race of thoughts, a white flash, and then a horrible twitch, like a thousand batteries discharging into my veins. Then it comes: my first breath of this world; a night's lucid immortality fades into my mortal shell... A gasp for oxygen as I am forcefully snapped from my haven. My vision, my first sense of the world, fails me, part due to the night's atrophy, and part due to my own failings. The world settles in, the din of life grows louder in my ears, forced to take note and to begin to march to it's beat.

I lay there in my gentle cradle, still disoriented from the awakening, aware of this world, but dreading it's full return. Her gentle breathing and faint heartbeat not with me this time; those gentle reminders of a million miles walked together in my dreams, now gone. Nervous and on edge from the rude departure, I have no choice but to tend to my needs. My body aches from a day of exercise; I could find relief if only my legs would join me in my awakened state, but they seem to betray so early.

The worst part of the waking up process begins now; the day and it's trip back from the reaches of my mind begin to wash away my footprints, like a traveler landing on shore. My dreams the night before become fuzzy; the faces not as crisp, the names down to people, the words down to ideas. All is lost to the cruel acclimation.

It seems the deeper I sleep, the more I dread those first few minutes. My dreams are a wand of color in my hand every night, my destination under my control. A night's work, only to be dashed in the first five minutes by a world unlike my own.

Even though the destination is dreaded, the trip every night makes it worthwhile. The warm embrace of my bed yields to my dreams shattered by the dawn, and yet I look forward to the sleep, knowing that I will be refreshed body, mind, and spirit; however eventually... Those first few minutes are life's rude way of tugging back on the leash of this mortal coil... one day I will escape it all, but until then, I must walk these steps, looking back at my footprints in the sand.

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