Hippocrates believed that during the day the soul receives images but that during the night the soul creates them, and this is called dreaming. The Chinese and many others besides believe that the soul itself leaves the body and journeys to the ‘dream realm’.
They say the moment you flip a coin you know what your decision is, not because of the side on which it lands, but because in the few seconds that the coin was in the air, you suddenly knew what you were hoping for. I want to be able to equate that to dreaming for you in some elaborate and delicate way, but words don’t play well with me. I can only say that, to me, a dream can tell you all you need to know, all you refuse to acknowledge or accept in your waking hours, without the horror of having to share the experience out in the ‘real’ world, where it would be written into the hearts and minds of others as opposed to just your own – because you do truly experience it, in a dream, don’t you? You alone suffer it, feel it and remember it. The truth of the matter is brought to the harshest, most exposing of light and in that moment, when your soul is in the air, you know.
I awake from a dream, 11 years in the making, and of a story I have always ached to be able to tell, the words never quite cooperating with one another, no matter how many times I read Henry and June. A comedy our story may be for my friends, riddled and bent with kinks and absurdities but it is and always will be my greatest tragedy. I’m being dramatic I know, on another morning I will feel differently, it will be slight, but it will be enough. I won’t be so weighed down by bad-dream-residue…
Coming to in the middle of a life, at once not knowing how you got to be where you are and yet fully cognizant of everything that led to this moment I find myself standing in an unknown courtyard. Indefinable weeds burgeoning from between the cracks in the foot worn and overlapping concrete slabs, that resemble the mental image I hold of the tectonic plates I had been looking at only yesterday, back here in the ‘real’ world. It feels like winter, the very beginning or the very end. We stand face to face as best a girl of 5’3″ and a 6’1″ man can, and he tells me that she has died. The cancer came back and spread to her lungs, her bones and finally her blood. She passed away on her side of the bed into eternal, blissful ignorance. We can be together now and why wouldn’t we? The years that have passed since the last time being irrelevant, we can finally make love. Not just fuck. And that’s the first thing. I feel rushed, I feel her spirit lingering in the wallpaper and the carpets, watching on in abstract, mute bemusement. I feel wrong. He wants to share her death bed and I want to scratch it all clean. I bring him home and in the morning he makes to leave, to return to that house that was hers, nothing has changed. She is no longer in the picture and neither am I, not really. I am still the other woman to a fucking ghost that he wished right into the grave. An end has come but it is not my happy ending and it never will be. He follows me out into the dawn, that strange half light, stark and dim, like our love and I turn away from him as he tells me that I make my own misery.
As published in the June 2015 issue of ‘Opening Line Literary ‘Zine’ – http://www.openingline.org/2015/06/june-issue-out-now-dreams.html
It was a smiling horror, those five years. A slow walk to the knife drawer on a Saturday afternoon. January dark. Eyes pleading with supermarket strangers, it’s okay love, we’ve got you, you don’t have to go back, fantasies uncoiling in the frozen aisle. It was no fairy tale back in the magnolia palace, unpainted tiptoes over egg shells and ego. Crying on the carpet, that night throwing up the blood and the bile. Keep it down as the bedroom door slammed against my suffering all the way to A & E on a lonely ambulance ride. Staying up til dawn to keep the hours spent next to that robotic carcass at a minimum. Secretly wasted on Christmas Port in August, just numb enough to slip beneath the sheets. Green around the edges, pale and uninteresting. It comes on like a glacier, casual hatred, a barely perceptible death-wish, it flickers in the ad breaks of a prescribed schedule of tv and dinner. The insidious on-set of control. Stop shaking, stop typing, that keyboard’s too loud. A love letter, the closest that ever came, bearing the words ruined and desecrated left on the bed where his body (o)pressed against mine, a figure made up of accusatory adjectives; stupid, lazy, childish, evil. In one sentence he damned me hollow, scooped out my womanhood and let it echo; you would be a bad mother. I swallowed it like a pill, all of it, the well practised Prozac princess that I am.
I have strength but I am not strong. Weakness and a dull blade on a Saturday afternoon. January dark. These were my saviours. Help me disguised as goodbye on a tiny screen and a bruise where the wound might be. These saved me. Out of my hands and into theirs. We packed it all in an afternoon, five years wrapped up in newspapers and brown tape that ought to have read Crime Scene. You can kill a person over the course of lifetime. And your mother will cry as she tries to buy you lemons in the supermarket but can’t, because he wouldn’t like it.
All those tiny cuts will bleed you out and the tragedy of your life will be in what you let die inside of you while you lived.