Sunday, July 17, 2011

Don't Try to Find Us

As far as I'm concerned, there are no definite, die-hard, one-size-fits-all rules for dreaming. Each dream is as unique as the dreamer. Some folks say you only dream in black and white, and others claim you can't read in your dreams, but I know both of these are false statements. Some folks say you always know when you're dreaming. Some say they never suspect it until they wake up and sigh with relief.

The other night I had a dream that was as real to me as the keyboard under my fingertips. I could see every vivid color, every slinking shadow, every trick of the light from the corner of my eye. I could smell every tantalizing aroma, and every acrid odor. I could taste the honeyed kisses on my lips and feel the liquid heat and the sharp cold and the rubbery floor under my feet. I could read the love notes written on cerulean paper and the words across the window backlit by a periwinkle sky. I could hear every baby's cry.

It was the baby's cry that woke me. I was startled by it because I realized in the dream that I was hearing a sound that came from the depths of my real house. I sat up and stared into the darkness, confused by the heavy silence. I struggled to hear the cry again. Lyric, my grandson must have awakened, turned over, and gone back to sleep. I waited, stretching that part of my mind out to him, that mother's intuition that strengthens with the addition of grandchildren. He didn't make another sound, but the shuffling I heard from the kitchen, just off my bedroom, worried me.
I threw the sheet back and ventured out.

In the space beside the refrigerator, I found her.

A small, blond-haired, blue-eyed child, malnourished and dirty, as if she'd been sleeping wrapped in newspaper under a bridge.

I was shocked to see her there. My hand automatically covered my mouth to keep myself from scaring the poor urchin with my gasps of horror. I reached for her, but she curled into the space between the fridge and the wall. It took quite a bit of coaxing to convince her I wasn't going to hurt her, or eat her. She stared at me with those giant sapphire eyes, unblinking.

Who had left this girl here? Had they been in my home? Were they still here? Or had she simply wandered in the back door, which is often left unlocked for the ones who return home late?

I carried her in my arms like a baby as I searched the house. She must have been at least two years old, but I thought she was closer to three. She was all knees and elbows. She might not have eaten for days.

Content with my cursory search of the house which yielded no invaders, I fed the child.
Not too much, I thought to myself. Her stomach might revolt and she'd end up puking it all up.

I read once that after the Jews were rescued from concentration camps in WWII, many became ill or died because they had become accustomed to starvation, and the sudden nourishment was too much of a shock to their skeletal bodies. I didn't want that to happen to my new little friend.

I gave her a bath next, wondering if I should call the police or social services. Somebody was missing their child. Surely they had reported it. But on the other hand, this child was a skinny sack of blood and bones. She had scrapes and bruises. She had a look in her eyes that said she'd been through hell.

Whoever'd had her hadn't bothered to take very good care of her. Why should I attempt to return her?

I dressed her in one of my daughter's shirts which fit her like a dress. She smiled and patted her hands down the front of it. She was starting to feel more comfortable with me. I guess she'd decided I wasn't hungry enough to feed on human toddlers.

When I turned her around to brush her hair, I found the note. Actually, it was a tattoo. I rubbed my hand across it a few times trying to get the ink off her skin, but it remained etched into her permanently.
Her brothers had done this to her. My blood boiled and my skin heated with with growing fury. Why would they scar her like this? How could they defile her this way? What were they trying to prove?

Please, save our sister. Don't try to find us. Our mother will hurt her again.

And suddenly, I knew exactly who this child was. I could see her mother's face. I could feel her brothers' desparate love. I could taste the bile in my throat as the realization of this tiny angel's life unfolded in front of me.

I wrapped my arms around her and sobbed into her soft, freshly washed hair. She cried with me.

It was the baby's cry that woke me.

It was the most realistic dream I've ever had.


  1. haunting and sad. This is so realistic and vivid. Maybe you had a vision. She'd be lucky is she finds you.

  2. Fuck!

    On another, more articulate note, I must have missed it, but I had no idea you were a grandmother already. That being stated, outside of my own my grandmother, I'd a grandmother to be like you.

  3. Shopgirl- I've had vision-esque dreams before. This wasn't like that, but then, I don't really know what a real vision is like...

    Robbie- I'm a very young grandmother. I just turned 38 a week ago. (We are early breeders.) I have friends my age who are just becoming parents, the freaks.

  4. Wow. This is powerful and disturbing and I still don't really have the right words to describe it. Suffice to say your dreams confound me.

  5. Light- It's okay. I know I'm a freak with all the crazy dreaming. Everytime I describe a dream to somebody, they tell me so. Doesn't matter who it is. My boss, my kids, my granny. They all think I've gone off my rocker.

  6. Hey- I'm one of those late blooming mother freaks! And the weird thing is that once I had both kids (the second at nearly age 38) most of the vivid dreams ended. Maybe because I had just entered my worst nightmare...

    But this post gives me hope. Perhaps when I become a grandmother (highly unlikely since my family is full of late breeders) vivid dreams will return? But then again, I'll be WAY too old to remember them.

    So, you can read in your dreams? Boy, your dreams are the sort that stay with you for a long time, eh?! ;)

  7. Jayne- If I'd had it my way, I would never have had kids. The Universe has thrust this upon me. The reasons why have not yet come to light.
    And I hope you do become a grandmother. Grandkids are WAYYYY more fun than your own kids.

  8. jayne, that is exactly what happened to me...i was an extremely vivid dreamer until i had kids. i don't necessarily miss the dreams though as everyone of them could be described as a nightmare on some level. i do still remember dreams sometimes, its just not as crazy as before.

    nessa, this post gave me goosebumps, and left a (disturbing?) imprint in my mind. reading it definitely gave me that same feeling i have when waking up from a nightmare.

  9. indy- I'm tickled that you got goosebumps. I dream constantly. The other day, I dozed off in the doctor's waiting room for a few seconds and had the oddest dream about a girl crying on her porchsteps in the rain.

  10. "within the core of each of us is the child we once were. This child constitutes the foundation of what we have become, who we are, and what we will be." Neuro-scientist, Dr. R. Joseph