The following is a recollection of a dream I had this week. It affected me so much that afterwards as I dozed I was replaying it over and over in my mind, as if they were the events of the previous day. By the time I had regained my full consciousness I realised the significance of what just happened and wrote it down while it was fresh in my mind.
Like a powerful allegory, the dream spoke to a deep truth that could only be expressed by casting aside the constraints of reality. It is an explanation of my experience that does not need to make literal sense. So, needless to say, the following is not a reflection of my parents. The character of my mother in the dream represents someone (anyone) who cares about me and is trying to help. The ham represents a seemingly unimportant thing. That probably sounds quite cryptic… but it will make sense after you read it 🙂
I had a dream last night. I was at my parent’s place. I was trying to ask my dad something but he was busy entertaining guests so I couldn’t get his attention. Giving up, I decided to go home but on my way out I stopped by the fridge. I opened the door, extracted 3 slices of ham, and put the rest back. I wrapped them up in one hand and started munching. As I closed the fridge door I looked up and realised that I had the attention of the guests and my mother. They were looking at me as if I was a toddler with my hand in the cookie jar – “busted”. I didn’t understand their reaction but to lighten the mood I put on an act. I made a big drama with big, exaggerated actions like a pantomime. Pretending to be a thief I pulled my hood up, hunched my back like Quasimodo, and made a show of sneaking slowly away. I limped to the door with my arms curled in front of me, fingers outstretched, like some kind of monster.
When I got outside I realised that for some reason this was a big deal – tho I couldn’t really see why. “FINE!” I thought. I was completely over the whole situation. I dropped the act and casually walked back inside. Without speaking I made a b-line for the kitchen and went to find a knife so that I could cut off my bite marks and give back the rest of the ham. I would then go out and buy more so as to more than replace what I had eaten. I had no idea what I had done wrong, but surely this would be a satisfactory way of making up for it.
With my right hand I reached over and pulled a knife from the drying rack next to the sink. The rack was at about shoulder height on the left hand side of the sink. I inspected the knife – dirty. Someone clearly didn’t do a very good job of washing it. I was beyond frustration at this stage. I went to put the knife into the sink – so that it would be washed properly. However, unbeknownst to me my mother was reaching over my shoulder. When I pulled my hand down I bumped into her with the knife in my hand. The knife had been pointing away from her, so she was ok, but if I’d been holding it any other way it would have sliced her wrist open! I was furious! “What are you doing?! Leave me alone! Someone’s going to get hurt! Don’t you realise how serious this is?” She didn’t realise and instead continued to try and help me.
I had completely lost it. I was in tears. I was shouting. I was doing everything in my power not to hurt anyone, or break anything, or seriously injure myself. I threw the knife to the ground. I pounded the brick walls with my fist. I punched the window as hard as I thought would not break the glass (or my hand). She would not leave me alone! She would not stop trying to help! She would not listen to my desperate pleas. I was still having to defend against her intruding hands trying to get closer and ‘help’.
I finally lost all control and slapped her hard across the face with the slices of ham. She was not injured, but withdrew out of shock – obviously deeply offended. When she pulled back, in that split second of space, I recovered significantly. In an instant I regained control and managed to find some words. I desperately wanted to escape before this situation got any worse.
“I’m sorry”, I said. “I didn’t mean to hit you. I’m taking a break. Let’s not speak to each other for 12 months.” The words hurt. It felt like amputating a limb in the hopes that the sacrifice would save my life. Will our relationship ever recover? Who knows, but by walking out now at least it has a chance.
The rest of the guests gazed on in a stunned silence. I walked out as my parents stood at a distance, still in shock. To not visit for 12 months would be hard. I wondered if I would be welcome anyway. I wondered if I would ever be welcome again.