I feel the sheets beneath my back as I open my eyes and…stars. Literally. My wallpaper of a starry night. Or ceiling paper? Roof…sheets? Ah well, the fan blades run after each other lazily and impose an effect on the wallpaper. I don’t have a particular name for it, but it is as though beauty’s face is constantly going out of focus and materialising again in less than a second. For some reason, it is soothing.
I hear Momma coming up the steps and turn to stare at the door, willing it to stay shut and yet knowing it will swing open in moments, knowing and dreading it. Before the thought settles in, her face fills the now-ajar door, and my open staring eyes stop her in her tracks for a split second.
“No school today?” she holds my gaze until I return it to the ceiling and close them shut in defeat and one last desperate prayer for time to stop. Before she says another word, I take a deep breath, push the woollen blanket over me away and swing my legs over the side in one fluid motion. The door closes behind me by the time I stand, and I can no longer feel her presence in the room. Her footsteps sound further away with each second until I can’t hear them anymore; I realise I haven’t taken a step yet. I look around morosely at the clothes hanging on the chair and the thick drapes that keep the sun out, and longingly at my bed. I really do not want to do today.
I get to the bathroom regardless. There was a lot of shuffling and sighing, and now brushing and bathing. I remember thinking the tiles were white – really white, and shiny – every groggy person’s dream. I’m more awake by the time I step out of the shower, and I pull the curtains apart. Warm golden light filters in, and I shut them immediately with more force than was necessary. The familiar, comfortable dullness returns to my room.
The smell of breakfast wafts in and a smile creeps onto my face. I take a sniff and…toast? Yes, toast. And eggs. Toast and eggs are my favourite, and as I get dressed, I wonder if Momma made it by coincidence or if she picked up on my foul mood and wanted to cheer me up. The second is more likely and fills me with the familiar warmth of being loved and being seen.
I make for the door and open it, and…blackness. Total. Unforgiving.
I feel a gentle hand on my left shoulder and reach for it with my hand. I follow the hand up the arm and to the face, and I instantly know it’s my mother. I mumble a greeting and realise that I can still feel the bed beneath me. My eyes are open, but the blackness remains absolute. Two streams of tears escape my blind eyes and run towards my ears, and I imagine the concerned look on Momma’s face a second before she asks, “Nnaa, what’s wrong?”.
I couldn’t help the small smile that upturns my lips. “Nothing”, I say in little more than a whisper. “I just had the most beautiful dream”.