I had this dream last when I was eight. I remember because I had my eighth birthday party in the huge garden of our new white house with fat white columns and the Indian people that lived down the street. I had a new room that was painted white and had pink curtains and a bigger bed smack in the middle.
In this dream, I am riding my bright yellow bicycle with the neighbours. We ride up to the estate gate and back to the football field the boys play on to see who’s fastest. But I ride right through the looming gates of the estate in that unfathomable way that is familiar with dreams, leaving the others behind in what appears to be a blur of colours when I look over my shoulder.
The walls along the street fade away and it is just me, my bicycle and the road. The wheels lead me on this path and my feet have no will against pedaling. But I see a depression ahead. It is not a pit. No, because it doesn’t plunge right down into nothingness. It looks like a vortex. Yes, a road vortex. My arms push the handles in a tangential direction, away from the force sucking me in, but they aren’t obeyed. The wheels go on of their own accord and I am drawn in. Round and round and down.
Then I wake up and my palms feel like crumpled paper and I guess it would feel the same as when a nail is pulled across the surface of a screen or scratched at the bottom of a tin bucket. Because I just want to scream and cry and cut them off. I am cringing in my own skin. So uncomfortable that I scratch at my palms in a rage and scream like a wounded animal and beg the moment to pass. But it takes its sweet time and I curl into myself and sob into my night shirt.
But it is more than fifteen years after and it disturbs me that the dream is so familiar. That immediately I had seen myself atop my yellow bicycle in this dream, I had sensed that I would see a vortex and it would draw me in. I close my eyes as if it will help me understand why I am having this dream on this particular night that I am a thousand miles away from home; a different country, a different life, a different-
Apartment. It is my first night in my new apartment. My bed is smack in the middle of the room and I am facing the French windows that lead to a tiny balcony. The windows are open and the curtains move gently in the slight breeze. A memory slides easily to me and I remember my mummy coming to tuck me into my new bed in the white house and asking if she should close the windows and if it was chilly. My bed was facing the windows then. Mummy had died that year.
I climb off my bed and feel my toes curl when they touch the cold floor. I push my bed till it touches a wall and I am out of breath. Then I walk over to the windows and shut them firmly. I do not want any fluttering curtains pretending to be ghosts of my dead mother and I will pretend that I do not feel another presence in the room that smells like the Sportin’ Waves that mummy used for her short curls. I will pretend that I do not miss her.
I climb back into my bed and wipe my face; surprised it is wet because I have forgotten my tears. I can no longer see the windows. I do not understand what my dream has to do with my dead mother. I do not want to understand right now. I will save these thoughts for when it is morning and it is bright and sunny and my flatmates’ noises in the kitchen are sure to disrupt them. But now, I turn on the radio on my phone and let the lady, who calls herself the love doctor, join me in waiting for morning.