The dream is real. It feels so real that I cannot persuade myself that it’s not. Does that make sense? I know it’s not real, but I swear to you it is. I feel the wind in my hair, the earth beneath my bare feet, the sound of the ocean below. It’s a dream, but I’m standing on the edge, looking out, could step forward and fall over forever.
I see his hands first. Slowly, coming up over the edge. They are withered, dirty. I want to believe they are grimy and muddy from climbing the cliff side, but I know the real reason. He was buried in the ground, but now he is here, coming over the side of the embankment. Of course, his hands are dirty. He had to dig himself out.
I stand there, watching, frozen in place. I’m so small compared to his hands. Are they giant? Or am I tiny in this world? I don’t know. All I know is that while I desperately want to see him, I don’t want to see him climb up over the cliff. I don’t want to see him at all. I know he’s dead, but this is real after all, and I’m frightened beyond words.
I think I’m small. The grass seems to be as tall as me, as if I’m a doll. Or maybe it’s just that he was always a giant to me, not only when I was a child, but even as an adult. I looked up to him. I guess in my dream it’s literal. I don’t like this, being small. I feel vulnerable with those giant hands reaching up and grabbing the earth around where I stand. What if they reach me? What if he crushes me, or throws me over? I should move, I tell myself. But I don’t. Just stand there, small, and unable to react. It’s my dad after all.
Move, run. Must get away. If he gets me, if he finds me, I don’t know what will happen. I don’t want his hands on me, not those giant hands on my small frame. I feel like I will explode into the mist. I will cease to exist. Not die. Dad’s dead, but here he is. I simply won’t be present anymore. The thought stops me in my tracks. Would this be so bad? If I don’t exist, I won’t think. I won’t grieve. I won’t swallow the anger at my father’s existence.
I startle awake, lying in my bed made of grass. It’s dark in my room, with the stars in the sky providing the only light. There is an engulfing shadow by my bed. Hands, snaking through the grass that I lie in, reaching me. They encompass me, those muddy, dirty hands. I can’t see but smell the salt water at the bottom of the cliff, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks. AQ