I follow the route of a familiar day-time walk, a muddy, flint-studded path that leads away from the house into a wood. I follow it through the well thinned hazels and out onto the edge of the farmland beyond. I am alone. Arriving at the fringes of more established woodland, thick with young saplings between vast, smooth-trucked beeches, the path takes me along a rough strip of grass between the wood and a large, L-shaped field. In the distance there is an orphanage where, on daytime walks, I sometimes hear children laughing and playing together. In the dream there is only silence. Where the path turns a corner towards the lane I pass an old wooden shed, that is gradually falling back into nettles and briars. When I reach the point where the path crosses a narrow back road, I am suddenly confronted by a vast black wolf, standing at least as tall as myself. It always appears as if out of the air, materializing at the edge of the shadows just where the road runs in under overhanging trees. I know instantly that my only hope is to lie down on the road with my eyes closed, hold my breath, keep absolutely still. I must play dead, as I have done hundreds of times before. On each occasion I wait to see what will happen next. Usually, after what seems like an eternity, as the wolf sniffs around me, I wake in absolute terror just as it starts to eat me alive.
One of my earliest memories is of my mother awakening us in the middle of the night, with her finger pressed to her lips in a shushing motion. “Let’s play a game of hide and seek.” , she began. Her hair was long and dark, her blue eyes penetrating mine. “But we must not make a sound.” I saw suitcases in the corner, and our clothes were put on in a hurry. Silent dressing of three children, as I was the oldest…I looked at my younger sister and put my finger to my lips as my mother had done to me. My baby brother with his sparse blonde hair peeking through the the crib rails.
“Shhhhhh…we are going to hide, and now don’t make a sound.” The quiet whispers as we went down the stairs…with my little sister in tow. A low rumbling sound of an awaiting cab as we made it out the door, In the dead of night, with amber street lights…swishing by. Feeling the rocking motion of wanting to sleep, during this game of hide and seek, leading us to a bus terminal the crowds not so thick, and tired blinking eyes of flourescent blindness. Climbing the steps with toddler legs to feel the stiffness of false comfort of a seat…as I looked out the window to see the flashing of the streetlights as we drove out of Chicago that hyponitized me into a deep sleep.
That was the night my mother left my father when I was barely four years old.
Okay, a long time coming…but I have been up to my neck. Just back from Norway and waiting to see the footage come back from the lab.
So some memories. Tell me if you need more detail.
Cold, cold prairie winter day. The sky is a perfect blue, the sun is so bright you need to protect your eyes. It bounces off the snow. In front of our familly bungalow, the walkway to the front door has been cleared with precision. On the side the snow of the path the snow in perfectly-formed, round stacks. Like sugar.