“Why am I doing this?” I ask myself. I have the instructions of how to get to the place scribbled on a piece of paper and I can’t even read my own handwriting.
My friend was telling me over the phone but was obviously in a rush, and talking too quickly. It’s easy when you’re not the sleep deprived one trying to write it all down with a blunt pencil.
“So that’s the address” she told me “Did you get it all ?”
“Actually, what comes after 116 Brent Street?”
“Not Brent Street, it is Bowen, B O W…” she started to spell it out for me.
“I get it, Bowen, but what’s after that?”
She repeated the address and was gone.
Why did I even let her talk me in to coming here to find out about my dreams? I should have just kept my mouth shut about them – if you ever told her something she was like a dog with a bone and didn’t let it go until you took some action.
So here I was racing along the main road looking for Bowen Street; the large white house on the corner with a green door and an Indian restaurant across the road.
I was going to be late and that really annoyed me. I pride myself on being early for appointments, even if I don’t honestly want to attend them, although I have been slipping in that area of late and I put it all down to a lack of sleep.
The big white house with the green door loomed up before me and I quickly turned left. I could smell the spices wafting from across the road and it made me hungry. Five houses down the street and I was here. “It looks quite nice – even if a whacko lives in it!” I said out loud and headed for the front door.
Pressing the doorbell I stepped back a little and waited. The front portico was dripping in dream catchers, big, small, colourful, and feathery – a dream catcher’s paradise….maybe. I could hear some steps coming from inside the house and then it opened.
In front of me was an older woman who looked my own mother’s age. Grey hair floating about her shoulders, wispy and thin, and piercing blue eyes looking at me through a pair of large red glasses, although if my mother dressed like this lady I would always walk a few paces behind her! To say her, what looked homemade clothing was super colourful and bright would be like saying ‘winning a million dollars would be just ok’….
“Hello, Miriam?” she questioned and held out her hand. It felt slightly clammy and I didn’t like it.
“Yes it is” I answered, not knowing if I should be here or not. I felt a bit ridiculous really and I must say quite sceptical.
“I’m Clara. Come in. Follow me” she smiled.
We walked along a wide hallway, the runner on the wooden polished floor a blue and green paisley pattern. On the walls either side were painting – I say paintings but I think a five year old could have done a better job than most of them! Closed doors went all the way down to the end of the corridor where what looked like the main room was.
“Here we are” she said as she stood aside and let me into the room first. She walked in behind me and closed the door. On the far side of the room was a bed, the kind I have laid on in the physio’s room…but I hoped I didn’t have to be in agony to lie on this bed! I had a quick scan of the room – looked alright apart from a few fairy ornaments dotted here and there with what was probably the ‘Queen of the Fairies’ standing up tall in the corner – comical really. (Wonder what that’s all about?)
I looked at her certificates framed and up on the walls. ‘Lots of certificates’ I thought but what do they all mean really – a dream interpreter - ….wonder where you get that qualification from?’
“Please sit down” she gestured to a black leather seat in front of the desk that she sat at.
I felt a little nervous and also a bit scared for some reason and was hoping that the perspiration forming under my arms wasn’t showing through my blouse.
The sunlight coming through the leadlight windows was very bright and before I could answer her question to me of “Is that too bright for you?” she sprang up and shut the blinds slightly. “That’s better” she said aloud.
“Now Miriam” she said to me looking intently into my face while shuffling some papers around on her desk. “I see from the questionnaire you filled out on line that you haven’t been to see a dream interpreter before?”
“Umm, no, I’d never really heard of it before my friend told me about it. (And I shouldn’t of listened to my looney friend anyway – someone who sits naked in a shallow bath of warm water, chanting, trying to telepathically journey back into the birth canal! What was I thinking?)
“What we are going to do first is you tell me all about the dreams you’ve been having and we’ll go from there. Dreams play a big part in our daily lives Miriam, not only do we dream at night but during the day too. Do you think you ever day dream?” she asked me.
“Well yes I do day dream but I am completely awake when I do it. I never feel like I’m dreaming, just thinking about things. (Come on – hurry up and let me get out of here I thought already!) I glanced at her behind the desk and suddenly she looked as if she was in a trance. I just kept staring at her eyes that were shut behind the bright red frames. I coughed to see if she would open them but she didn’t. Then I crossed my legs and pretended that I had accidentally kicked her desk – hard!
That did the trick. She opened her eyes and said “That was a day dream Miriam – eyes shut”…
(‘What a strange woman’ I thought silently)
I still felt a bit silly though discussing my weird and wonderful dreams with ‘her’ and the fact that I felt as if she was a phoney now didn’t help. If I hadn’t of paid up front for this consultation – and it cost a lot – I wouldn’t still be here, but I thought as I had squandered hard earned cash I may as well see what rubbish she talked!!
I had written my dreams down. Most of them were quite muddled up (was that me being half asleep while writing?) but the reoccurring dream I could write in detail because I saw it all so often. It was quite violent and cruel and ended in despair – the total opposite of what kind of a life I lived and that was what I couldn’t understand. But Clara, sitting in front of me with a look of interest on her face, said she understood the depth and content quite clearly – surely she was lying…. no one could possibly decipher what I’d just said!
“So Miriam, the dream about the old house, reoccurs for how many nights in a row? She asked, making notes in her own book. “I find the part where you always turn back and wave to someone very interesting indeed. Do you ever recognise anyone in that dream?”
Clouds must have covered the sun because it was quite dark inside the room now and Clara moved from her desk to the window and looked out – I thought she was going to open up the blinds to let the light in but she didn’t, she just sat back down, lifting her arms high above her head and stretching before continuing “Oh yes the dream about the house Miriam, how many times a week have you had that particular dream?”
I turned the pages of my notebook and could see that it was most nights, I wouldn’t have known the number, but remembered that I woke up a lot of mornings sweating and shaking from the fright of what was happening to me in the house.
“I know I have this particular dream a lot and I have written down five nights from last week’s notes. I don’t remember exactly what happens but it petrifies me and I need to get some fresh air”.
Could I just ask you something Clara?”
“Of course” she replied.
“One of the times that I woke after that dream, I had been watching a television series I the night before was about a girl getting murdered in an old house in the woods, and I’m pretty sure that’s why I dreamt what I did. It’s an ongoing series and quite scary at times, so could this be why?” I asked Clara. She just ignored my question.
“ I thought that was probably the reason but it must have seemed like a pretty stupid question to her!”
“Do you recognise the house that is in your dream Miriam?” she asked still scribbling.
“I don’t recognise it from outside the dream, no but it’s just like the house in the series I was watching, that’s why I mentioned it to you. I felt relieved when I realised the connection. Is that what’s happening do you think?” I wanted an answer about this theory of mine.
“There is no easy way to explain that other than to say that sometimes our dreams, and I emphasise not always, are not what has happened to us or even what we have seen, it’s of what is to come” and not necessarily in the same way as we have dreamt”. I was completely confused. ‘Did she say things to come?’ Clara said to herself.’ What a load of rubbish….I hope’.
I was beginning to feel freaked out now and just wanted to go, to forget all about my dreams, and this stranger I was telling them to. I needed to shake off this anxious feeling. But Clara who could obviously see by my body language how I felt, continued.
“For example Miriam, you could dream night after night about, let’s say getting gored by a bull. The bull could represent someone who is trying to over-power or even take advantage of you at your work place or somewhere else” she said animated and talking quickly. “Can you see the correlation?” she asked, standing up from behind her desk.
“No, yes, well sort of, but I think it sounds a bit dramatic to be honest”.
‘Another example of a different type of dream is…” she began but I didn’t let her get far.
“I might leave it at that for today. Thank you Clara” I blurted out, trying to quickly get up out of my seat and out of the house. My bag was caught on the arm of the chair and I pulled it, opening the clasps, my lip gloss, tissue and snack bar falling on the ground. I didn’t care, but grabbed the bag firmly and made for the door.
Clara followed me, talking all the way. “Miriam, please do the exercises and recite the mantra’s I have given to you. I would like to see you in a week and probe further into the reoccurring dream about the house. I see you are in quite a hurry so you can ring and make an appointment”.
“Yeah sure” I called as I raced along the path and far away from the ‘dream interpreter’ and all that rubbish!
I sat on the bus, still feeling unnerved by the whole experience I’d just had. I not only felt really stupid for going in the first place but couldn’t wait to see my friend Liz to tell her that was my first and last visit!
Liz had finished with the ‘trying to get back to the time of her pre-birth’ and was completely engrossed in the idea that she had been a foot soldier in roman times so was trying to find out about her previous life by seeing a spiritualist.
“I can sense that you belonged to the Roman legionaries” the spiritualist told Liz, who was completely sucked in by her nonsense!
When I informed her that I thought the dream interpreting was ‘ridiculous’ she agreed.
“I thought you believed all that stuff and that’s why you made me go” I yelled at her.
“I didn’t make you go anywhere” she defended herself “I told you what I believed…at the time”.
I continued to have the dream about the house but learned to live with it – I couldn’t understand why – even the television series had long finished, but what could I do? Life went on.
About six months later my life changed for the better. Liz had set me up with a blind date and it went very well! Michael was delightful in every way. His personality was quite the opposite of mine, relaxed and calm, against my worrying nature. He was very kind to me and liked by all my family and friends. When I found out that he and Liz had met at a séance I found it hard to believe – Michael seemed so ‘normal’ to me, but he was pretty embarrassed by it and reassured me that it was just a phase he was going through, and had come out the other end!
I think meeting Michael was just what the doctor ordered, or maybe the dream interpreter, as my awful dreams were replaced with warm and happy thoughts about the now ‘man of my dreams’. If I ever began to dream about the house I could quickly turn my thoughts around to Michael and blot out the darkness – maybe those exercises Clara gave to me had worked even if I did feel like a right twat doing them. I always made sure there was no one else in my flat at the time – all the funny noises I had to make and screwing up my face while trying to visualise relaxing situations! I felt so much healthier without tossing and turning for a lot of the night.
I happened to bump into Clara once in the local markets – I thought a giant rainbow had descended from above and then I realised what it was – she was wearing a shimmering, flowing caftan that could blind anyone not wearing sunglasses. Whilst friendly enough she was also a little aloof, but I thought this was because I never rang her up again to make another appointment. I introduced her to Michael and she shook his hand limply, at the same time scanning his face… (Still a very strange lady I thought!).
It was a holiday weekend and Michael and I were going away to the country, a six month dating anniversary treat! I was excited! We had been away for a night or two before together but this was special – I wasn’t even allowed to know where it was!
It was already late when I was picked up from my flat, so not long into the two hour trip it was dark already. I looked over at Michael as he was driving and he must have felt me staring, looked across and smiled back. “What’s up? “He asked.
“Nothing, I’m just thinking how happy I am – you and I together”.
“Me too” he said.
Soft music was playing on the radio and I was so relaxed with that and the warmth from the heater, I dozed off! In my mind I was drifting away, surrounded by complete darkness, echoes of a distant noise getting – so close and I could feel myself shaking – but was I dreaming or was it real? I tried to pinch myself but couldn’t feel anything, and opening my mouth to scream only a muffled half whimper escaped from my lips. Beads of perspiration ran down my face, my breathing coming in quick sharp burst now. I needed to get out of this dream, to wake up, escape. My arms were flailing around and I banged my left one on the car door, crying out in pain I painfully jolted myself awake.
“Oh Michael, I had an awful dream, I’m so relieved to be awake and for you to be beside me”. I reached over to touch him for reassurance and as I did so, looked out of the front window to see where we were, and there it was, the house looming in front of us like a giant ugly monster.
The wooden front door was wide open, looking like a huge mouth inviting us in.
I screamed loudly, a piercing screech, penetrating the dark night all around us. Not able to draw my eyes away from the house I realised with great fear that this was my worst nightmare.