This story started off as a drawing, and not of a dreamcatcher but actually my first attempt at a mandala! As I drew, the mandala began to look like a dreamcatcher in my eyes and before I knew it I was creating a story in my head to accompany my artwork. I feel incredibly vulnerable sharing my writing with you, however, I start as I mean to go on with my word for the year, stories.
Her inky, earnest eyes were searching. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of a new term, with the stories of presents and cheer, she stood out. With feet planted solidly on the concrete playground, she created a curious stillness.
I inquired if she had enjoyed her holidays, to which her reply made my breath catch for an instant in the frosty air.
“ No,” she said, with a challenging edge, “ I keep having bad dreams.”
And so I strode over to her side and took hold of her stripy gloved hands, which felt icy despite the happy coloured wool. The floodgates opened.An unspoken question was all that she had needed from me.
She spoke of characters who lived at the end of her road, who were known in the neighbourhood for their shady dealing, who frightened her with their dark, menacing manners.They were like monsters she said. And monsters can get anywhere. She told of stories she had heard, of the mean actions they inflicted upon the weak and vulnerable. There was one time, she reflected, that one had approached her as she tried to enter the local shop to buy a pint of milk for her mum and how she had stayed in the shop for what seemed like hours, peering out of the windows until he disappeared.
“I don’t feel safe,” she shrugged, “ And how do I protect my mum and my sisters if someone breaks in?”
The responsbility that she carried with her emerged, an enveloping cape of darkness, hanging so heavily,forbidding her entitled dreams. I softly pressed her, my heart needing to know whether she had spoken to her mother. Matter of factly she described how she had been told they would go away and not to worry. Haven’t we all had those moments in our own pasts when this advice was given so plainly? I was filled with a sad disappointment in us, the adults, at not wanting or being able to open ourselves up that little bit further.The proud girl had then not divulged the root of her dreams, though she was acutely aware of them, their edges cutting into her subconsciousness night after night. A wave of protectiveness washed over her, making her stretch to stand taller.
“ I don’t want to worry her more. I love her.”
I looked deeply into those dark pools of her eyes and advised her to try again,
“ You are a child. You are allowed to have good dreams. Ask mum to listen to you tonight. Tell me tomorrow how you got on.”
The whistle blew and I left her standing in her line, her brow furrowed in thought. I found myself mirroring her expression.
The following morning she found me, and slipped her hand gently into mine.
“Mum is going to buy me a dreamcatcher. It catches bad dreams real tight so they can’t get me.”
That night I wrote dreamcatcher on my shopping list.