HOW DREAMS BECOME SHORT STORIES
From dream to fiction and back again. I was the child in a house with a man and a woman. Although the house was unfamiliar, I knew I belonged there. All three of us were upset but the adults were angry with me in particular. I took my bicycle (I have never owned a bike nor can I ride one) and went outside. As I cycled passed the back of the house I saw that an enormous window space had been raggedly cut into the wall. There was no frame or glass. The house was built on the lower reaches of a cliff and jutted out over a choppy sea.
I was filled with excitement, desperate to tell someone about the sea and the window but there wasn't enough space between wall and cliff edge to turn the bike around, I had to keep going. Each time the bike - as if it had a mind of its own - sped faster, with difficulty I slowed it down. My action was governed by some remembered wisdom that going fast was dangerous. For miles I continued to cycle, still feeling the adrenalin pulsing in my blood.
Finally, I reached home. I imagined how the adults would have reconciled their differences, forgiven me for whatever sin I was guilty of - surely, they'd be worrying over my absence. The man met me at the door. 'She's asleep,' he said. 'Keep the noise down. Don't wake her up.' The tone of his voice was distant as if I was a child from a neighbor’s house and nothing to do with him. Balancing the bicycle on my shoulder I stepped backwards and out of the house.
I haven't reached the age I am now without being able to recognize and understand each element of that dream. In the here and now, I know myself to be suspicious of that adrenalin rush of excitement which accompanies the need to share news or secrets. I also recognize the situation in which I am extraneous. The dream initially made me feel quite low, as if I'd stared into a mirror I'd been avoiding. But it is now committed to paper and in months or years’ time, I may inadvertently open a file and re-read it. Maybe I'll feel curious as to my state of mind. I'll vividly see the house open to the elements, the two disaffected adults and the child, I may recall the aftermath of seeing myself reflected negatively in a mirror or that may have faded or disappeared entirely. Whatever, I'll start to fashion a story that is not about myself, is outside myself, is fresh and new!