Just a Dream
The dream recurs. I am 10 years old and very frightened of something that has happened at home, so frightened that I leave in the middle of the night to go for help. I am dressed as I would be for school in a dress, sweater, saddle-oxfords and knee socks. I know the way to my grandmother’s house and that is where I go. The first few blocks are safe, through my familiar neighbourhood, no dogs or unsafe people to scare me. When I come to the stoplight at the intersection of the big highway, I cross to the sidewalk on the other side and walk one block. This area is well lighted and I feel okay so far.
At the end of the block I turn right onto the street that will connect me to the next major street to my destination. Although I have walked this street alone and with friends during the day, it is very dark and unfamiliar in at night. Everything I feared at home comes flooding back at me and I begin to panic. I want to stop, turn around, run, I don’t know what to do. I begin to cry. Dogs begin to bark, but I cannot see them. I am passing one of the large houses with fences covered with ivy and jasmine. I think I see someone, a man, move behind the fence. I am afraid to run for fear it will cause him to chase me. I can see the church up ahead; the church where I take piano lessons. I think, how can piano lessons matter when I am so afraid all the time! The church will do no good. No one is there this time of night. I make it to the corner where the church is. There must have been no man.
I cross the street to where the church is. This is the major street to connect to my grandmother’s street. I am not far from her house now. I begin to wonder what she will think about me coming at this time of night. I know the whole house will be asleep. I have no idea what time it is. I do not care. I am afraid and do not remember, but am worried about what happened at home. How can I explain something I don’t remember to my grandmother? She will think I crazy. She thinks my mother is crazy. What will I say? I hope she will just let me come in and sleep in her bed like she does when I spend the night with her. I feel safe at my grandmother’s house.
I turn the corner to my grandmother’s street. Her house is the third on the right. I go between the gate stones and the walkway. I walk up the wide steps. I ring the bell and knock as hard as I can. I call my grandmother’s name. I say it’s me! The door opens. My grandmother won’t let me in.