To Dream of Freedom
It started clear as day, and it was noon, I was sure of it. The sun was bright, right above my head, it shone, but it wasn't hot, just how I liked it. I was a kid again. Around eleven or twelve years old, probably. I took a few steps ahead, eyes blinded by the rays of the big star.
And then it was night. I was unlocking the front door of my childhood apartment door, all the animal keychains making metal noises against each other, and I went inside. It was dark, but I wasn't alone. From the keychain, I saw the little lizard and the little turtle come to life. They were now big, and were crawling by my either side. We went down the hall, passed the kitchen, all empty, all dark, through the living room, untouched, still, frozen in time, and down the corridor to the first door to the right: my bedroom.
The three of us sat down on the floor and sang a song, maybe it was a lullaby, maybe it was a riddle. The lizard had red eyes, and they were always on me, cold and assertive. I was scared. The turtle was calm, and slow, and made me feel like it was all going to be okay. We all sang for the rest of the night.
Morning came, and I was sleepy.
"It's nap time," I decided, out loud.
The lizard kept staring at me; the turtle stood on two legs and screamed.
The scream of a turtle can blind you, so I closed my eyes. When I opened them back up, the turtle had grown into a dragon. In the back of my mind, something told me it was like a pokemón evolving, and I laughed and the childishness of that thought. But then again, I was eleven or twelve, so I was a child.
The dragon had scary brown eyes, way too human, they reminded me of my mother's. I missed the turtle, she was nice. The dragon, not so much.
I looked at the lizard, and it was now changing too, and the red eyes never left mine, but they became purple, and beautiful, and shiny. The lizard was now a unicorn, big, with brown and silver fur, and it walked towards me. My bedroom was never big enough to house a unicorn and a dragon and an eleven or twelve-year-old, it wasn't then, and it wasn't now.
The unicorn came closer to me and told me to climb on his back. I did. The dragon was now spitting fire and burning down my childhood furniture. Bye-bye, memories. I never needed you, anyway. You hurt, like fire. Like the dragon.
"Shush, child. Let's go," said the unicorn, and out the door, we went.
But he didn't take me far. Not at all. You lied, unicorn.
Back to the front door I was, keys in hands, fingers trembling. No keychains this time, I was alone. But the apartment pulsated, like heartbeats, and I knew someone was in there. She was in there.
I walked down the hall, passed the kitchen, through the living room - no one there, alone. But the pulsating, oh the pulsating.
I stopped in the middle of the corridor. Stared at the door at the end of it, right in front of me, my sister's bedroom. Closed, as always. Probably locked. Only door to the left led to the bathroom, cold, orange tiles, where the showers in the winter were painful. Second door to the right, master bedroom. Don't get in. Don't.
First door to the right it is. The smallest room, the one in which the window faces the noisy neighbors, all the furniture donated by a younger richer cousin, the Powerpuff Girls stickers still trailing down the mirror on the wardrobe door. Old furniture, really. I now had new ones - was it because the dragon had burned it all down? But it didn't smell like fire. But this was what I owned then, so that's what I stared at now.
I stepped inside and closed the door.
This time I sat on the bed, too tall for my short legs and eleven or twelve years old, so I hopped a little to get up. I lied down, just to myself, and closed my eyes.
"Finally, nap time," I told myself.
It took a while, but maybe no time at all, and I was dreaming. Ironic, I tasted the iron. There were eggs everywhere. It was an egg plantation. Eggs grew from the soil. Vegan eggs. Around the eggs, there were big blue flowers that looked like arum lilies.
I crouched down and took an egg in my hands, cupping it curiously, yet carefully.
"Grow, baby, grow," I pleaded.
And it hatched. From inside came a little flying creature that I couldn't identify, nor did I care to, and it flew to the closest flower.
One by one, each egg hatched, and the little flying creatures, one by one, went to the flowers. From them, though, instead of getting pollen, they harvested fear. Big pink blubs of fear came from the flowers. The flying creatures laughed, and I cried.
I woke up in my tall bed in my old bedroom, eleven or twelve years old, furniture given by a younger cousin, apartment pulsating, thump-thump, thump-thump. Fear was thick in the air, I was breathing it, I could smell it, I could taste it, and then…
The steps started, from afar.
… I could hear it.
Suddenly, all my childhood came back with a bang, my memories that I so happily let burn were coming back from the ashes like a dark phoenix I did not desire, and those steps were getting closer, and the fear was growing stronger, my heart was beating faster, thump-thump-thump, thump-thump-thump, thump-thump-thump, she's coming, she's coming.
I looked around me, trying to figure out if there was a way out. Did I ever find a way out before? Was I gonna find one now? Steps coming closer. Thump. Thump. Heartbeats faster. Thump-thump-thump. They mixed together in an agonizing symphony I did not care for.
I decided to go for the window - it's big enough so I can use it as an exit. An escape. I know now I've never had the courage to get away before, not once, but tonight's the night, although the moon outside is shining like the sun. I open the window and climb the windowsill, standing on the white wood rapidly turning gray.
The steps are getting closer. Thump. Thump. Thump, thump.
Heartbeats hurting faster. Thump-thump-thump.
There was no key to lock the door then, so there wasn't one now.
She would come in any second now. It's the third floor, but I have to escape, and so I do. I jump off. And I fly. I soar.
She stays behind, in my childhood bedroom, with the furniture given to me by my younger cousin, bed too tall for my short legs of eleven or twelve years old, Powerpuff Girls stickers lined up on the mirror. And she yells.
I can hear her yelling at me to come back home.
And it's now present, and she's nowhere to be seen. I don't need to look around. I don't need to go down the corridor to the last door to the right, it's not her bedroom anymore.
She's gone. I'm not.
It's present now, and I'm in my twenties, and I'm me.
I find a bed of violets and tulips in the middle of the grass, I'm out now. It's soft. It's nice. Smells delightful. Tastes like music.
It wasn't like that before, but it is now.
"Oh, well, nap time."
And I fall back to a dreamless slumber, and wake up.