I have always believed that there is a world beyond this one, that is just reachable through art, and dreams. When I was growing up I had a very intense friendship with a man that I had known since childhood. We spoke to each other every day, and in many ways we were like brother and sister. There were nights when we slept side by side, with the same wild companionship of hyenas in the desert. As we got older the dynamic between us changed into something more complex, destructive, and changeable, and by the time I was 20 we could no longer bear the differences in our feelings, or the similarities. On a hot, humid night in late May - the kind of night where you just know that something in your life is going to crack like the pavement out in the street - I realised he was gone and gone for good. I was catatonic for some weeks. And then I began to dream of him. At first I accepted it as my mind’s way of holding on to him, of coping with the loss of someone who had seemed to be so close to my marrow, bones, and heart. And then after a while I started to look forward to going to sleep, knowing I would meet him there. I saw him so clearly, and felt his presence so vividly, that I began to believe our souls were meeting, in a dreamscape where we could be as children again, without the pain and the confusion and the tears that had come in our adulthood. In these dreams I had conversations with him, where he spoke to me of things that were happening in my life, and of things from within my subconscious that I had never told him. We would often be in a field or a forest, or by the sea, with no one else around to see us walk in the sun together or hear us speak. Sometimes it was simply torture to dream of him in this way. When I awoke I always felt sure that wherever he was, he must have dreamed the same thing – that since we couldn’t be together in reality, a dream-world had come into being out of necessity because our fate still needed to be fulfilled. That we were twins, somehow, and could not be separated. I felt this way even when the dreams became sinister, and instead of walking through the forest arm in arm, I was being hunted by something that was no longer entirely him. I know I sound like I was extremely unstable then. That’s because I was. I’m not going to pretend I was in my right mind. But I have always believed in the soul, and in the countless realities between our hate and our love, our night and our day, our fact and our fiction. I know I was under a kind of spell during that time. Some people would say I was depressed, and they’d be right. But saying you’re depressed is just another way of saying that you’re under a spell. There was no logical way out of it for me – I had to wait for the spell to be broken. And it was. I woke up like Briar Rose and forgot all about the long, long time I had been in the dark. My dreams now are gentler, and have no hold over me.
But sometimes it is still as if I wake up with sand between my toes, or a leaf stuck in my hair.