Aligators - Randy Halprin

Randy Halprin
"You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending" C.S. Lewis
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(by Randy E. Halprin)
A Memoir

As a child I would always have the same recurring dream, and for years I would try to figure out what it meant. Why was it so intentionally violent and scary? Most nightmares gave me a slight thrill; I would wake up sweaty...heart pounding...terrified! And when the initial fright wore off I would say to myself, "Whoa.. .That was cool!" I even hoped to have a nightmare again. But not the dream of the alligator...Never the alligator!

In this dream I'm always the same age: about three or four years old. My biological parents tell me that we're going to go and visit an alligator farm which I get really excited about. We get into a large tan automobile, me in the back seat, and I watch as the scenery swooshes by blurry and colorless.

What feels like a few minutes passes by, and we pull into a swampy marsh. The colors of the ground and trees are a muted green and there are weeping willow trees all around me, their limbs tumbling into the marsh. A few yards ahead is a crowd of people standing on the banks of what appears to be a small pond, and a man shouts, "Who wants to the see the alligator?" People shout and clap and my father hoists me onto his shoulders so that I can see above the crowd.

"But wait," the man barks, "We have nothing to feed this beast! If it is hungry it could very well eat us all!" The crowd murmurs and a few people back away from the pond. Suddenly someone calls out "What about the boy on the man's shoulders?" People turn and look at me...I'm confused...They can't...They WOULDN'T offer a little kid up as a meal!

Hands pull me down and I begin to kick and scream. “No! No! No!” My mother grabs my arms and my father grabs my feet, and they begin to swing me back and forth. The crowd parts, the water stirs, and then a huge alligator - like something out of a horror movie - snaps it's jaws hungrily! I'm swinging, swinging, swinging, and then they let go and I fly through the air, falling right into the jaws of the alligator.

I've thought about this dream and it's meaning for years, and the only plausible explanation is my constant fear of dying alone; of being abandoned by all who claim to love me.

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