I woke up crying the other day.
It’s not really unusual for me to wake from a particularly emotional scene, but while those dreams are usually pretty realistic and mistaken for reality, this dream seemed to come directly from my subcunscious. Perhaps my lack of reading my own tarot cards has manifested itself in my mask of death.
The dream started much as more dreams do, where I’m suddenly somewhere doing something, and I can’t recall how and don’t notice that I don’t know.
I was in the car with my mom and one of my aunts – we were driving looking for somewhere to swim. We ended up passing an apartment complex with a pool – my mom had lived there once in this dream world, and knew how to get into the gate to go for a swim.
We snuck in, climbing up the back porches to the top, where there were three water slides.
Mom began going down them, and somehow one of my cousins was there also venturing down the slides.
I was apprehensive – in real life I find public pools a bit creepy. I know they filter, but the chemicals is what puts me off. I don’t like the smell. This translated to the dream similarly, but I ended up going down the middle slide one time.
The descent was exuberant, and then the water was rushing up and I almost slammed into a stray swimmer. I was underwater for a moment, losing my breath because I had plunged too deep, and I inhaled, able to breath for a brief moment before I broke the surface.
I climbed out of the pool, shaken, making my way back to the stairs to climb back up once more.
And I noticed a glimpse of the past – my dad’s family was in a line, venturing up the porches. But this was the past – my cousins were there, much younger, as was my brother and finally me.
There I was – a young me, maybe five or six, climbing the stairs at the end of the line. I walked up to the porch, which was just at the level of my chest, and called for myself.
Young me turned to look at me, confused.
“Do I know you?”
“I’m auntie,” I said, naming myself as one of my Dad’s sister.
“You look different.”
She was apprehensive but wandered over.
We began to talk. I commented on how nice her dress was, and she showed me the lacey sleeves. I smiled, suddenly the memory of this moment partially dawning on me – this had really happened I realized, and I knew it wasn’t just my imagination.
I asked her how she was. She said she was happy. She was smiling. I remembered this moment, and this easy happiness.
And then she asked how I was.
“I’m…I’m okay,” I said, my voice cracking. And then I began to cry.
Young me approached me, reaching to me and letting me grab her.
I pulled her into my arms, cradling her against my chest as she hugged me back.
“It’s okay,” she said. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” I said, the tears uncontrollable. “I’ll be okay. I’ll do better.”
“You’re doing great,” she said. “We’ll get through this.”
I woke up, my pillow soaked, wondering if the part of me that was once a child really believed in me, still.
I really hope she does.