I’m asleep. I think.
No, I’m in bed and I’m awake, but my eyes are closed.
No. I am above myself. Watching myself. One of me is asleep and one of me, the one above, is watching. The one below, starts moving. She’s being dragged, actually, by her feet.
No. I can’t see that. I can just see…She’s in the bed and then she’s on the floor. She’s moving into the corridor, the hallway, through the the front door into the night. But she isn’t walking. She is floating, levitating. And it’s like someone, something is dragging her along. Taking her somewhere.
But I’m with her. So it’s not like she can really go anywhere. Because I’m always watching.
It’s a metaphor. I get that now. At first I thought it was a dream, or a vision. Like my subconscious was trying to tell me something, show me something that I couldn’t see in the daylight, couldn’t see with my eyes.
But now I know, it wasn’t trying to show me something new. It was telling me something. I was telling myself something. I’m saying – You watch us. You police us. You won’t less us be free. Except the ‘you’ is me. I’m doing this to myself.
I was disjointed for a long time. There V and there was me. V was an extension, a creation. Polished, controlled, presented for whatever duties I was given. V planned the missions. V conducted the missions. V reported back. I was inside her, moving the arms and the legs but in all the ways that mattered, I was removed. I was removed in how I spoke, how I acted, how I thought. V seemed to be a whole other person, a separate entity who shared my features and my voice and my skills but used them differently. Used them wrong.
Night was when the terrors came. The dreams, the memories. Night was when I heard my mother wail for me so loudly, I thought she was in the room with me. Hiding under the bed. In the cupboard. Hanging on the door, just out of sight. I looked some days. Tore the room apart but she wasn’t in there. She was never there. A few times, I called my dad to ask him where she was.
‘Baby, she’s gone.’ He’d say.
‘How do you know that for a fact?’
‘Because I cremated her body.’
It wasn’t enough to silence her voice, though. Sometimes it would simmer down, she’d be more of murmur than scream. But it was always there at night. She was always asking me why I left her there.
There was only one person who could put my mind at ease. He would sit with me and say
‘What do you remember?’
‘She’s in a room, and she’s strapped to the bed’
‘That’s not a memory. What do you remember?’
And I would think, really think. Think about her hair and her smile. The feel of her hand on mine. Her nails. Her wedding ring.
‘She used to make my clothes. Cardigans and dresses and shorts and socks. She’d sit at the sewing machine and I’d watch her. She’d say
Baby, do you want to help? And I be to shy to say yes. But she’d scoot over in her chair and pat the space she’d made and I’d scoot in. She’d take my hand and put it on material.
Hold it steady now, she’d say. And her foot would start to pedal and the wheel would go round and the needle bob up and down and tug at the material and I would keep it straight.
Did I do a good job, mummy?
And the voice would stop. Gone back to wherever it dwelled. Tears would stream down my face and he’d smile his half smile. Not a joyful one, Not a sad one. Just his smile. The Gray smile.
I used to think the dream was about him. They had started before, but it was worse when we were separated. I used to think it was a warning about how he was leading me astray. Distracting me from aims. Distracting V from her duties. So at night my body, her body, our body was trying to return to its purpose.
Then as time went on and I was climbing the walls, I thought that it meant that our souls were tied. All those nights spent together, telling each other about our memories, we’d accidentally transferred a bit of ourselves into the other. In my sleep, the parts of him that were part of me were seeking him out.
But the more time I spent alone, the more I realised it was about me and V, he and V. About how I was always watching them. Always outside myself watching, the two of us. I never enjoyed the experience. I just stayed locked in my head, watching him and her. Watching him helping her. Watching her spilling our secrets, willing her to stop. Wondering what his game was, what his angle was. When he was going to double cross, because he would eventually. They always did. It was just a matter of time. So I never relaxed, not until that last second, when my mind was quiet, closing down and he changed, before my weary eyes, from a man to an idea to a light. A night light.
And I would nestle into him, cling to his torso like an anchor to keep me rooted.
I never floated away when I was with him. Not once. I slept and did not dream. And in the morning, I’d wake up where I lay my head. And I took that for granted.
I think that’s what my dream is about. All the the things I took for granted.