Last night was like most every other night. I spent two hours “relaxing”, chatting with people on social media, thinking as I do every night that some conversations are more exigent than my entire work day, and wondering if perhaps I could get paid to chat. I spent my usual over half hour in the bathroom bothering with my beauty routine of the week, dancing and laughing at how funny or stupid I looked, and singing off key. I got into bed in my birthday suit, and settled ass-in-the-air phone-in-hand for the second round of chats. Usual too, my eyes started aching at around 1:25a.m and I stared at the ceiling counting imaginary sheep jumping equally imaginary gate. Somewhere along the line, consciousness drifted and it happened.
I was scared. Very scared. The type of scared that on the street gets called “scared shitless”. I was also very excited. It is a strange mix, yet very aphrodisiac and irresistible. It simply pulls at the primal in us: the knowledge that what is happening poses mortal danger and the will to triumph particularly despite that. Of course my heart was beating too fast and thumping too hard. That was perhaps why I was so alert. I could feel the particles of dust settling against my skin, hear the wind whizzing fast past my ears and see the ground many feet far from me, yet coming nearer as I fell faster. For the umpteenth time I thought gravity is some hard ass bitch. Why can’t this be the one single time she decides to fluke on what-goes-up-must-come-down? As the ground came closer my hands twitched faster at my sides, anxious to break my fall and keep me alive; sweat also popped all over my forehead… who knew I had so many damn pores? All of a sudden, as I got very close to the earth, it shifted. It didn’t shift like move to another spot, no. It just disappeared. It just caved, went some distance lower, so I continued my free fall. Except the air was slower against my face, gravity seemed less in a hurry to be rid of me, and I wasn’t so scared anymore. Now, I was only curious. Why had the Earth caved? I wished gravity would stop dragging her ass and move a tad faster; I wondered what secrets the Earth held and wanted kept from me.
A frown etched on my forehead and my brows huddled in puzzled confusion, I shut out the voice of B.O.B singing to not let him fall, and tried to tune my ears to the music of birds as I wondered if perhaps they knew why the earth was running. But the birds stopped singing and Bobby Ray kept pleading, so my eyes opened to clenched fists full of bed sheet and flashing lights from my ringing phone.
I ran my hands through the curls on my head, swallowed an expletive as I rose out of bed, walked to the adjoining bathroom and stared at my reflection in the vanity. I waited for my heart’s gallop to calm, while thinking: the dream had changed. You see, the first I’d had that dream was about 13 years ago, and I can’t count the number of times it has haunted me since then. I always woke before getting to the ground; scared off dreamland and the bed by fear of what the ground held. As I pondered the change in the dream I remembered that as a little child I had wanted to be an actress, in high school I had wanted to be a lawyer, and in the university I had wanted to be a writer. The boy of my primary school dreams had turned to the crush of a summer holiday, the one of my secondary school fantasies had become the memory of tear struck nights, the university ‘husband’ had been a toxic affair, and the one after him had been a tad too insecure to let me live.
As I stared at the face in the mirror I thought of all the things I had done and the convictions I had felt at those times in my history. I pitched them against the woman I have become, and thought again of the things I had done and forgone. I decided if I was born over again I would probably do them all over again. I smiled for the first time since waking and thought to myself how grateful I was to have never lost myself trying to find or hold on to dreams of what I wanted and could be.
I learnt that it’s okay to dream and try to make it reality. What’s not okay though is to lose yourself in order to reach a dream. Because dreams change.