This wasn’t meant to be my dream

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Let me just make one thing clear before I recount this dream. My boyfriend and I most certainly do not have an abusive relationship, far from it. We’re very happy and in love and tickling is pretty much the extent of our physical torture against each other! I was doing a lot of really emotive domestic violence reading before bed though – and I think that’s where my unconsciousness took its inspiration, and as you will see clearly at the end – I knew all along it wasn’t my world. I guess it was just the way I could deal with and work through the horrors I was reading about. So… here goes nothing.

Cradling my arm, I leaned against the wall and sobbed my heart out. Tears slipped through my bruised, half closed eye and caused me to wince every time the drops of salt infused and stung the small cuts in my cheek where his wedding ring nicked me. The house was finally quiet, except for my sobs and I laid on the floor and took stock of my situation.

Enough was enough. I was so exhausted at being black and blue every single day, week and month of the year. I was nothing more than a toy or punching bag to be thrown around, abused and put down at every available opportunity in some half-arsed attempt for him to feel better about himself. But it never worked. And it just kept happening.

I tried to leave. Once. Twice. And every time he found me. Dragged me back by my hair. Punished me for trying to run away.

Maybe this was my lot in life. I must have done something seriously wrong in another life to deserve this kind of karma.

And then he says sorry. With flowers, and kisses and tender hugs.

Then it happens again.

Snap.

Snap.

Snap. Snap. Snap. Snap. Snap.

Banging my bruised head against the wall I moan in anguish. I can’t take it any longer.

Rising to my feet with a newfound determination, I walk into the bedroom. Unable to stop the tears streaming down my face, I let them fall – dripping fast and hard down my chin and landing on the collar of my shirt. They weaken and disperse the drops of my splattered blood from the deep crimson of anger to a soft pink of regret. I take it as a sign that I can do this – that the pain will go fade eventually just like my blood.

Yanking open the wardrobe door, I reach up and fish around blindly for the bag I know is on the top shelf. Pulling it towards me, I sneeze as a cascade of dust rains over my head and invades my already overworked sinuses. Turning slowly, I take stock of the room. The dainty, sheer yellow curtains that flutter softly in the slight breeze through the window. The solid oak bed frame that had been the site of so much love and so much pain. The deep red quilt draped unceremoniously over an unmade bed. Gritting my teeth, I swore the first thing I would do out on my own would be make the bloody bed!

I slowly trailed my hand along the dresser; my finger cutting a clean line in the build-up of dust and exposing the shiny, new surface underneath. I picked up a photo of us smiling blissfully at the camera and used my sleeve to gently wipe away the dust adorning the glass; wistfully staring at the people we were. Lifting the same hand to my face, I covered my mouth gently as my wails of anger and fear turned to soft sobs of sadness and anguish at how things have turned out.

Looking up, I notice the bright and open room has turned dark; the furniture is now draped in aged white sheets; the carpet releasing small clouds of dust with every step. The room has been closed up for a long time I realise. Moving my hand to my eye, I can feel it is wide open and clear. With a startling clarity I understand that I don’t belong here. This wasn’t my life; wasn’t meant to be my dream.

Walking to the doorway I stand and take stock of my surroundings. I know it’s not my place; was never my place. But I feel sorry for the poor girl whose place it was. Quietly pulling the door behind me, I smile sadly as it seals. I know she’s ok somewhere now. But this place should never be seen again.

Photo credit: Beyond Impression http://beyondimpression.deviantart.com/art/In-My-Darkest-Hour-340124715
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Lest We Forget

Two and a half years ago I lost my grandfather. He was a man of the 1940s- a WWII veteran always full of stories, spirit and love. But there were some things he always held close to him regarding the war – the darker side – which he never really disclosed to any of us. But we knew it was there.

This mornings dawn service in commemoration of Australian soldiers who give their lives for the freedom of our country brought back a lot of memories for me about Gramps. I cried as I watched the servicemen march down the street towards the memorial, remembering the many times I had done so holding his hand as a child. I cried for the lives lost at Gallipoli, on the Western Front, on the battle grounds of Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, East Timor and so many other spots in the world where our brave war heroes fought and continue to fight for our freedom and lives. And I cried for the way my community draws together every year to commemorate and honour these heroic men and women of times past and present. It’s wonderful to see such spirit is not only still alive, but growing every day.

So in memory of my wonderful grandfather; a Stoker in the Royal Australian Navy; I wanted to share this piece I wrote. It was something I wrote up based on a photograph taken a year before we lost Gramps of my brother and I with our grandparents. Originally I started it for a creative assessment for university, and ended up putting it into a book of stories, photos and cherished memories for my grandmother who is still with us.

So Gramps, this one is for you today.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget xxx

BANG. What in the world was that? I wondered looking around. Laughter emitted from a group of people over by the deck, but the sound had already sent me deep into the recess of memories. Even 60 years on I can still recall things like they were yesterday…

 

The incessant pop of gunshots reign around me as I crouch on the sea-soaked deck next to my comrades. The adrenaline pumps wildly through my system, I feel as though my heart is about to burst out of my chest it’s beating so hard. My clothes are stuck to me from the mixture of sweat and seawater that soaks my navy uniform.

 

It’s getting hard to protect myself from the flying chips of wood, scraps of metal and flecks of blood that adorn the air with every bullet fired at us. I just want to, no, need to stay alive. Crouching behind a barrier, I heave and struggle for one breath to make fill my lungs. I close my eyes to try and calm myself in the midst of battle and disarray, falling into a lulled sense of respite as my shocked senses provide both silence and darkness. The most wonderful image swims before me, a woman of tremendous beauty, my own personal radiating beacon of hope… She is what matters, she is why I need to make it through this. She is the reason I will continue to fight with everything I have in me until she is once again protected and held tightly in my arms when I am finally home.

 

But I am home. I am with her. And our amazing children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. They make me happier than I’ve ever felt in my life. I just wish they could erase the horrible memories, take away the night terrors, erase the stain that has tainted my life. But all I can do is smile and hide the pain. One day it will be erased.

 

A memory lasts a lifetime. But isn’t that the purpose of a photo, to preserve a memory? Beneath the smiles, beneath the lines of age, wisdom and experience lurks many memories no photograph would wish to capture and immortalise.

 

 

If I’d just had more time I could have figured it out. The tank was the key- its bulk hammering across the field, almost majestic as it raised to shoot. It was perfect, I had him lined up through the porthole, I was finally going to have my revenge. It makes my heart beat faster even now to imagine the arch of blood splatter that comes from the perfect hit, the cry of pain, the finality of death. For at least a moment until he was resurrected.

 

Come on everybody, get the hell out of my house so I can get back to my game!

 

Some memories cannot be captured, yet they resonate so wholly and all encompassing throughout a life. The most gruesome, horrible and gut wrenching ones however are more generally absent from the family album of precious memories; they fail to pervade the memories of others. Innocence sometimes, can be a blessing. But isn’t that the essence of this photo – to preserve a memory of familial bliss untainted by the throes of reality and life?

 

The silk swished against my legs softly with every step I took, the lace around my bosom itched like crazy though I dared not scratch it for fear of ruining the perfect image my mother had helped me create of myself. Nervously I fluffed my hair and adjusted my veil. My father startled me from my thoughts as he gently took my arm, smiled down at me with such love and affection crinkling his weary eyes. It was time to finally marry the man of my dreams, my war hero, the love of my life.

 

A beautiful memory, a wonderful day. How lucky I am to still have him here, how wonderful it is to see his eyes crinkle and smile the same way it did 65 years ago.  How lucky am I right now to have my whole family around me, it overwhelms me almost to tears to see how incredible my children, my grandchildren have turned out. No photograph anyone could ever take could ever capture the perfect essence of this moment right now, of the overwhelming joy and nostalgia flooding my senses right now.

 

Sometimes a photo can convey a memory worth keeping and holding onto.

 

I can’t contain it, I can’t believe how happy I am right now, am positively jumping out of my skin, cannot wipe this stupid grin off my face! It has been so long since my grandparents were here, so long since I’ve even seen them, especially Gramps. How wonderful it is to see him smiling, unadorned with IV’s, tubes, monitors, machines I don’t even think I want to attempt to understand. He looks the way I’ve always remembered him- happy. I’m a bit worried about Grammy though, what a fake smile, I worry so much about her with Gramps being so sick lately. My family really is so important to me. I couldn’t stand it if anything happens to either of them. Ever. I wish this moment would last forever, a moment of pure and utter bliss.

 

And it has- framed on my wall in loving memory of a wonderful grandfather.

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What Goldilocks Taught Me

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So the past few weeks have been jam packed with work, study, exercise and eating with precious seconds available for rest, relaxation and sleep. It’s been exhausting to say the least and I am more than ready for a bit of a break! So when I hit the hay last night and got swept away on a relaxing weekend away to a cabin in the woods with some close friends I was overjoyed and enthusiastic to keep sleeping and dreaming for the rest of the year.

Perhaps I watched way too much Friends last night as I patiently waited for dinner to cook, or maybe I just have a fascination with Matthew Perry. Regardless, when I entered the secret spot in my head reserved for the kooky and wonderful, it turns out my good mate Matt had built a cabin high up in the trees and had sent me a letter inviting my friends and I to stay for the weekend. And really, who can say no to Matthew Perry and an invitation like that!?!

So off we went.

The car trip seemed long and tedious as Cameron meandered the car around winding bends, up and down steep mountainsides and along the never-ending dusty roads stretching into the wilderness. I’d been exiled into the backseat by the ‘lovers’ and had spent most of the trip listening to their sickly cooing to each other. Ahh, the sweet mating game of little innocent pigeons. I wanted to bang my head against a brick wall within the first five minutes of it – are we honestly all that infuriatingly annoying when in love? Listening to the soft giggle of Ellie’s voice for the umpteenth time as she leaned over and laid her head on Cam’s shoulder did me in. Five hours of this was long enough. I would never, ever, ever be that sickly in love again in front of people. Ever. Sighing, I leaned my head against the cold glass separating me from the icy dusk settling over the landscape. The chill from the window seeped into my head, numbing my thoughts and emotions. The orange blaze of the setting sun illuminated the trees around us; and the small ice crystals starting to harden with the encroachment of night glittered and shone like hidden, beautiful stars throughout the landscape. But it all just seemed flat without my Andy.

“I’m sorry Princess, but I’m just too busy to come this weekend” he’d told me. Too busy my ass. Matthew Perry invited us for gods’ sake; who turns down Matthew Perry? Or any famous person for that matter! Regardless, I was really upset he hadn’t been able to make it. Especially when dealing with the overt displays of affection from lovebirds one and two all afternoon.

“Rise and shine sleepyhead, we’re here!” Ellie called out in a singsong voice starling me from my daze. Lifting my head from against the foggy window, I looked around and realised night had fallen and I had, thankfully, managed to sleep through the last hour of our journey. Yawning, I opened the door and stretched my legs out, startling as the crisp, cold bite of winter nipped at my skin and turned my breath to mist.

“Shit, it’s cold out here,” I mumbled, still trying to wake up.

“Yeah, but lucky me, I’ve got the perfect snuggle buddy!” Ellie giggled, again, as she looked up at Cameron with adoring eyes.

“Yay…” I replied, turning away from yet another over the top display of love, lust and sexual desire and rolling my eyes. A whole weekend of lovely dovey PDA. Just what I needed.

I looked around for where we were meant to stay this weekend, and became entranced by the beauty of what lay in front of me. My eyes trailed along daintily draped fairy lights that wrapped around the centuries old trunks of the trees. There were ladders littering the landscape leading into the dense canopy of dark leaves; some were just bits of rope tied together and draped down; others were full on staircases carved into the trees and ascending into the heavens. The hazy glow of torches illuminated the path ahead of us, and small spotlights near each of the ladders and staircases held the names of the properties. I stood in shock taking in the absolute beauty of what lay before me. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined I’d end up here.

“This way!” Ellie chirped as she grabbed my hand and pulled me along the path towards one of the carved staircases. As we ascended above the canopy I couldn’t help but stop and stare in shock. The beauty of the ground below had concealed an enormous structure of cabins in the treetops, linked together by small wooden bridges. There were hundreds of them as far as I could see, all lit by a soft yellow glow as they twinkled in the darkness of night. The most magnificent of them all lay in front of us though, and it was with awe and wonder that I began carefully making my way towards the large cabin fit for a princess. Never before had I seen something so inviting.

Entering the room, Ellie and Cameron made a beeline for one of the bedrooms. Looking around, I took in the warmth of the fireplace, the cosiness of the worn in brown suede lounge and recliners, and the bear skin rug draped across the floor. There was an aroma of apple and cinnamon in the air, and I looked around to see a freshly baked pie sitting in the middle of the dining table. This just kept getting better and better!

I slowly made my way towards the first closed door, ready to snuggle in for the night. Slowly swinging it open I shrieked in shock as I took in the two naked bodies moving frantically around the room. Flinging the door closed, I stepped back and moved on the next room.

Knocking gently this time, I eased the next door open, halting as it squealed a little on its hinges. Looking inside I could make out the shadow of a sleeping body sprawled across the large bed. Shutting that door, I turned around and walked back to the lounge room.

What a dud of a weekend this had turned out to be. No Andy, no Matthew Perry and nowhere to sleep. Sighing, I sat on the lounge and pulled my feet underneath me as I gazed into the depths of the fire.

Then came the knock at the door. Sighing, I got to my feet. No way someone else was taking my couch tonight! Opening the door I found myself staring into Andy’s eyes as he smiled and held out a single red rose to me.

“I’d never abandon you princess” he said, smiling.

Laughing I threw my arms around his neck and jumped up to wrap my legs around his waist kissing him passionately.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” I murmured. “I’ve missed you so much”. Kicking the door shut with his foot, Andy carried us down the long hallway I hadn’t dared to venture down after my other experiences into the end room. I’d finally found one that was just right. Adorned with a large four poster bed and scattered with rose petals, he lowered me gently down as he gazed into my eyes.

Goldilocks was right all along – the third time is always the charm!

A Nightmare on My Street

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Screech. Screech. Screech. Fighting the urge to scream, I clasped my shaking hands tightly over my ears and huddled in terror further into my cave of blankets, trying to block out the horrifying sounds grating against my bedroom window. It had to be the wind… There was no other explanation. I was on the second floor, and it was a stormy night. I knew I was being silly; imaging things that weren’t there. But the uncontrollable and suffocating blanket of horror coursing through my veins didn’t accept that reality. The bone-chilling shriek of fingernails down a chalkboard continued to permeate my senses, even with my ears covered, as the inky darkness of the night fought to scratch through my window to get me.

Lowering my hands from my ears slowly, I tensed as the silence weighed down around me. “Lissssssaaaaa” the wind whispered. Whimpering in fright, I huddled further down in my bed and curled my arms around my legs in a foetal position. I was too scared to get up, too scared to call anyone, too scared to move. My limbs felt frozen, my body paralysed by fright. I could do nothing but cry in terror as I cocooned myself and prayed for salvation and safety.

“Choo choo!” The loud chirp of my phone cause me to shriek in shock, and I quickly reached out my arm from beneath the doona to grab it and pull it back under the covers with me.

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door… The scream ripped from my throat before I could stop it, and I started sobbing in earnest as I shook under the covers. There really was someone out there. I was going to die tonight. I always wondered what I’d do in this situation. Watching movies it always seemed so easy – RUN YOU STUPID WOMAN – GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!!! WHY AREN’T YOU RUNNING? ARE YOU THAT GODDAMN STUPID?!?! YOU DESERVE TO DIE!!! But now I understood why they stayed. Why they didn’t run screaming for their lives. I couldn’t move from fear. I don’t think I would ever move again. I just wanted it over with already. Maybe if I were lucky I’d die of a heart attack from all this fright first.

“Five, six grab your crucifix… seven, eight gonna stay up late…” The next two lines of the rhyme floated through the air softly from outside my window followed by a sharp bang as the person outside slammed their fist against the window and tried to break the pane. I screamed again and realised I needed to move. I needed to get out.

Stretching my leg out the side of my bed, I tentatively lifted the corner of the duvet, squeezing my eyes shut so I wouldn’t have to see anything. I would not be a victim. But I didn’t want to look either. No no no no no! I rolled out of the bed, wincing as my knees gave out and I crashed to the cold wooden floor beneath me.

Bang, bang bang! Slammed his fist against the fragile window pane. I cringed as I heard the first crack splinter along the glass.

 

“Even if you run I’ll catch you. You’ll never escape me” The voice whispered through my room, still diluted by sounds of the wind outside and the thin pane of glass that separated us. I leant my hands on the hard floor and cried in earnest, unable to get up, unable to move. Then the phone rang.

Sobbing, I realised it was still clenched in my hand and vibrating against the floor where I had it pressed. “He-he-hello?” I choked, unable to hold back the sobs wracking my frightened body.

“Turn around” the cold, clear voice demanded through the speaker. I couldn’t turn around. I couldn’t move. “TURN THE FUCK AROUND!” The voice screamed through the speaker; the words echoing around my room from both the outside and the small phone.

I guess this is it, I thought as I squeezed my eyes shut and started to stand on shaky legs. I’m too young to die, too pretty to be maimed, I thought frantically as I slowly turned to face the window on unsteady legs, unable to open my eyes.

But I guess it’s just my time. Resignedly, I opened my eyes. But I couldn’t stop the soul wrenching scream that tore me apart as I stared into the illuminated face grinning ghoulishly at me from outside the cracked window.

And then I woke up screaming. My poor household. My poor cats – I don’t think I’ve ever seen them leap so far so fast as they took off from their comfortable positions on the bed. If only I’d been able to do that in my dream! So, I guess the lesson I learnt last night was no more scary books before bedtime, and no more Freddy Kruger-esque delusions! Can’t shake the dream today though- that rhyme has just been on repeat in creepy children’s voices through my head all day… *Shiver*.

All’s Fair in Shoes and War

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So last nights escapades were certainly interesting, if not a little morbid and dark. I’ve got no idea where my psyche pulls inspiration from sometimes. Certainly not the romance novel I devoured before bed, that’s for sure! Anyway, please enjoy last night adventure as much as I did and be rest assured I won’t be heading out to this particular shopping center to buy shoes anytime soon!!!

If I didn’t get out of this shopping centre soon I was going to have to pay an exorbitant amount of money to the parking gods that I didn’t have. Well, I did kind of have it… I just don’t think the parking gods would appreciate my brand new pairs of sexy red, sparkly heels or black pumps. I needed to get out NOW. Sitting in this queue was doing nothing to help me. Frustrated, I slammed my hands against my steering wheel and leant on the horn, adding my chirpy beep to the chorus of other angry shouts, blasts and revving engines. This was getting ridiculous. Thirty minutes in an unmoving line of traffic to get out was more than enough!

Unbuckling my seat belt, I opened my door and climbed out the car. I craned my neck to peer over the roofs of the cars in front, and grabbed a hold of the door frame as I stood on the edge of my seat and lifted myself to get a better vantage point of what was going on at the front. Squinting in the semi darkness of the concrete hell we were stuck in, I could make out an angry mob of people gathered around the parking booth. They seemed to be gearing up for a fight with the guy who let us out of this place. Slamming my palm down on the roof of my car and growling in frustration I climbed down. We’d never get out of here if they killed the bloody gate guard!

Reaching into my car, I twisted the ignition key and yanked my keys out. Grabbing my handbag and slamming the door behind me, I stalked my way through the hordes of cars lined up to exit taking care to avoid the angry fists punching out car windows around me and ignoring the disgruntled cries of anger punctuating the air. I wanted out and I would get out if it killed me.

As I got closer to the front of the queue the screams of the angry mob got louder and louder. I gasped as I took in the scene in front of me. It looked like it was out of a movie, not the car park of my local shopping center I went to nearly every day. The mob of at least a hundred people was surging towards the small, square booth, screaming and yelling in anger. There were people smooched against the glass and mesh covering the windows of the booth. Some were crying out from the pressure of the surging crowd behind them, others were violently punching, hitting and kicking the glass to try and get in. I could make out the spray of blood coming from somewhere in the middle of the crowd, and smears of red obstructed my view of the small, terrified man inside the box. But I could smell his fear over the mobs anger. His face was white, his jaw trembling as tears streaked his face. I felt sorry for him. Then he finally spoke.

“I’m sorry, I cannot let you all out of here. I am under strict orders to keep this gate closed and – AHHH!” His words booming from the loudspeaker were cut off by a strangled cry as a rock smashed through the window and knocked him down. A loud cheer rose up from the mob as someone reached through and opened the gate, and I lunged out the way to make sure I didn’t get hit by the sudden surge of cars and people jostling and pushing their way towards the gate.

As I lay on the cold concrete I watched in disbelief as people became morphed by anger and a need to get out. The mob dispersed so quickly it was hard to believe it had ever existed as people ran for their cars and the exit. I was in disbelief – it had been half an hour – where had this uncontrollable mob mentality come from? Rather than head back to my car with the rest of them, I picked my way to the parking booth and managed to get through the door. The guard was slumped unconscious on the ground, bleeding profusely from a gash on his forehead. His shirt was stained with blood, and the booth was filled with the pungent smell of urine. Looking around frantically, I grabbed for the phone attached to the wall. No dial tone. Rummaging frantically through my handbag I pulled out my phone, swearing in frustration when I saw the ‘no signal’ flash across the screen. Wiping away the desperate tears that had started streaming down my face, I knew I had to find help for him. Running outside the booth, I kept to the edge of the driveway to avoid the frantically swerving cars jostling to get out the building first. This was insane.

Taking my eyes off the spectacle in front of me, I looked around and stopped in horror. To the right of me stood a smouldering heap of rubble that was once a block of businesses. The sky was tainted grey, the air thick with smoke, screams and pleas for help. Why hadn’t I noticed this inside? The screech of a jet jerked my eyes overhead just in time to see a horde of sleek, black Raptors shoot overhead, dropping bombs as they went. My screams of horror became lost in the deafening explosions that followed, and I sunk to my knees as my ears started ringing and the wall of ash and smoke engulfed me. All I’d wanted today was to buy a new pair of shoes. Not go to war. Maybe if I hadn’t lost the red ones I could have clicked my heels together three times and disappeared.

The journey so far…

alice_in_no_man__s_land_by_beyondimpression-d51y8gv

You could say I live in a dream world. To be honest, you could say we all live in some dream world at some stage throughout the day. And I love it. To me, there is nothing better than getting lost in the throes of a passionate love affair over a hot cup of coffee; or letting my imagination take me to the much revered platform at the Olympics as I win my first, and most definitely not last, gold medal as I huff and puff through my afternoon run. I find nothing more satisfying than considering exactly how much more special life would be if I were out living the elusive, sparkling life of a vampire; or experiencing the exhilarating the freedom of running through undergrowth, trees and jungles surrounded by the beauty of nature as a young, tribal woman; or better yet a sleek, powerful jungle cat. Sometimes the darker side of me shows through, and the redness of anger taints my dreams with a spiteful twist; revenge never tasted so sweet over a tub of chocolate ice cream. I think my favourite dream, however, would have to be those where I am ensconced in my large castle in the sky in my pink fluffy, marshmallow princess dress. My prince charming; the most dashing, handsome and suave man on the whole earth courts me from beneath my high perch in my window seat and I blissfully play the damsel in distress as I wait for all the wonders of the world to simply fall into my lap. Ahh life is sweet in my dreams.

Yes, I get a little carried away with my dreams from time to time. But none more than in the night-time when my unconscious really lets loose and starts to live a little. I wake up each and every day filled with excitement from the night before. Never in my life have I experienced such an adrenaline fueled high from winning zombie battles. Never before have I held so much power in my hands as when I lure men to their deaths in the dark sea – my tail hidden beneath the murky waters of the ocean but my voice; so course in real life; transformed into a dainty and powerful entity that men simply cannot resist. I get to stand on the world stage and receive my Nobel Prize after saving the world from hunger and restored world peace to all our peoples. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get lost in this dream world? And to top it off – most nights, if I’m lucky, I get to finish off my gallivanting and adventures with a romp and stomp with Mr Right (or Mr Right Now as the case may be).

There’s no doubt about it – my imagination runs wild when I leave the constraints of consciousness behind. And I love it. A friend of mine said I should start writing it all down, sharing it with people so they too can have a spark of ludicrousness, laughter or even just rueful skepticism in their day. So I’m giving it a go. Writing and sharing my wonderful, fantastical and slightly worrying dreams with the world. Enjoy!

Photo credit: Beyond Impression http://beyondimpression.deviantart.com/art/Alice-In-No-Man-s-Land-305607775