The things that kept me sane in my ivory tower:
Sunlight filtering through my window during the short summer months.
My Barbie dolls
The silence throughout the house.
In the beginning, silence had been an enemy to me, but like many children hostage to loneliness, I became accustomed to my keeper. As a deeply religious person, my mother started every day with an hour of wailing. Sobs wracked her body as she poured out her life’s failures and mistakes to an unseen God while locked in her closet packed full of tailored clothes. I remember the first few times, listening to her incessant prayers from where I stood alone outside her room, terrified. Again though, like everything else, I became numb to her crying and instead took pity on her frailness. Because to me, she was just Mom.
Around this time came the first of many unique and possibly prophetic dreams. A dream that wouldn't come to pass until 20 years into the future.
I dreamt I was at a dinner party with friends, much into adulthood. There was no one there I recognized. The party faded into the background as I focused on one person, a handsome man in a slick black suit. He started walking towards me. For a moment, we stood in front of a fireplace, warming ourselves from the coldness of the night. Soon, he led me outside through open double doors. As we walked, I remember the lightness of snowflakes, dancing through the pine branches above us, and finally settling on my cheeks.
At that moment, love surrounded me. I knew its presence without a doubt. With it came the certain knowledge that I was pregnant. Very pregnant.
As we walked back to the party, even though it seemed nothing had changed inside, I realized that I was missing that big bulge I had just had a second before. At first I was unconcerned because I somehow knew a friend of mine was watching my child, but that feeling was fleeting.
What followed was a scene that still frightens me to my core. The piercing echo of my friend's scream stabs my heart on every recollection. I ran with the crowd that was spilling from the party to the next house over. An icy pain set in my veins before I even reached the front steps.
I stopped dead in my tracks at the door. It was almost pitch black, but I could make out the silhouette of my friend, rising from the darkness of the house.
She was sputtering and choking, splashes of red dotting her forehead and drips gliding down her shaking fingers. She was trying frantically to tell me something, but I already knew. I didn’t need her to say it.
There was blood all over the walls, pieces of flesh dripping onto the floors. My baby, my sweet child, was dispersed over the entire room. In the depths of the furthest corner, a shadow moved, coming closer to me. The horrified gasps of the partygoers behind me faded into the background again as this man, the man whom I loved, reached for me.
I looked him straight in the eyes, unable to think. He spoke slowly. Every word thick with deep sadness.
"I had to do it. I had to kill him. He would have become just like me."
Although I hated him at that moment, a trace of love I’d felt remained. Tears streamed down my face and tormented screams racked my body. All I wanted was to die, to have it all be over with.
After what seemed like the longest, desperate moment, I saw a bright light from the corner of my eye. A light so bright that it rinsed away my pain for a moment. Staring into its iridescence, I was overtaken by awe.
The man I was sure I’d loved stretched out his hand. From his palm came a menacing sword. In the brightness, another beautiful man drifted down as softly as a snowflake to stand beside me. He too stretched out his hand, but from his came a brilliant blade of light.
The realization came to me, so horrifying I dared not speak of it until now.
The man of light was an angel, and the other, his opposite, the ultimate evil.
My body could do nothing, all feelings, and thoughts ceased. I just stood in total fear as the clash of swords began with thunderous claps of lightning.
All I could see while they fought was blazing fires of brilliant light, glimpses of their blue and black eyes burned so profoundly into my memory I still see them today.
Deep within myself, I still loved him, still had compassion for him, the vilest of creatures. That love wrestled with hate as I watched them fight.
The demon didn't last long. It was a short fight before he was pierced by the angel's sword. The details of what happened afterward have faded a little over time. I can no longer remember what happened to the demon's body, but I can remember the sky from that dream. It was like no other sky I'd seen in my lifetime, the brightest blue, the clearest day. It was like God had just created it for the very first time. I stood beneath that sky as an enormous loneliness descended on me.
It was then that Michael, the angel who had fought with my demon, rescued me from that loneliness. At the request of God, I was saved by him. He reached down to help me and I wrapped my fingers tightly around his hand as if this end was what was truly supposed to happen.
My whole body lit up, glowing from an eternal spring of joy. It came from inside, it came from me, and my love lit up the world.
Michael took me to live a life of peace in heaven. Together, surrounded by many children and I was happy, truly happy.
This dream haunts me even today. I can never shake the feeling that I'm waiting. Passing the days before something both amazing and treacherous occurs in my life.
Every time I feel like something bad is happening, I drown in my memories of this dream and think, this is my destiny.