• Mathura Hawley

window

Updated: Aug 2, 2021


I would yell out "Go away!" in these moments, still asleep, sometimes finding my voice, sometimes strangled with silence, and wake up to the sound of my own scream or with chest heaving, desperate to find my breath. "

From the age of about six or seven, I began to have nightmares where I was suddenly aware of someone looking in at me through a window. This would come in the middle of a pleasant dream when I often felt happy or in the motion of an ordinary experience, a feeling of vulnerability sweeping over me quickly, a startling awareness that danger was present on the outside of wherever I was, about to look in at me, separated only by a thin pane of glass. I would yell out "Go away!" in these moments, still asleep, sometimes finding my voice, sometimes strangled with silence, and wake up to the sound of my own scream or with chest heaving, desperate to find my breath. I have had this dream all my life, although it comes less frequently now that I am getting to know my childhood self more closely, hearing his plea for my help, trying to reach back with understanding and affection. Last night I had the dream again. In a place that wasn't mine, I became aware of the window next to me, and the wash of anxiety returned quickly. This time, the rush stopped. As if I knew who was out there, I opened the door and stepped outside. Two men, one younger than the other, were sitting on a porch, tall above me, asking me to come up. I went to them. My body responded in what, at first, seemed like sexual arousal, and the younger man kissed me. But I felt nothing, as if I had kissed my own arm. I had an idea. I walked down the street, finding my ex-boyfriend standing by himself, and I put my arm around him, taking him back toward the porch. "I want to fix you up with someone," I said, leading him over to the men and leaving him there. I turned, and there was Om, smiling at me. I reached out and took his hand. "Let's go," I said, and we walked away together. I awoke, Om wrapped around me, Luke asleep between us. There was no scream, no heaving breath, only peace. And this is how it's going to be. Because I'm here to protect you now, little boy near the window. You can go outside anytime you want. And I'm ready for you, Om. You can count on me, because I can count on me too. And I will never let anyone hurt us. Not even in my dreams.


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