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Day 15. You’re having a nightmare, and have to choose between three doors. Pick one, and tell us about what you find on the other side.
I’m scraping my knees as I struggle through the narrow, stuffy passageway when it opens out on to a large domed circular room. In the dim light of the wall sconces splattering ghostly shadows across the wall, I see three doors. One is dark-green, another is blood-red and the last one is a dark ebony wood with intricate brass adornments.
I move slowly towards the third door, brushing my hands over the surface, feeling the cold of the metal against my fingers, the rough texture of the wood. I shiver. No. Not this door.
Something about the second door worries me, so I move past it as quick as I can. No. That door should never be opened.
I’m now standing in front of the first door. Green. My favourite colour. I place my palms on the blistered paint and immediately know this is the one. My hand slips to the black, iron handle and I push it down and force it open.
The room greets me. The familiar green couch and chairs. The plants. The pictures on the magnolia walls. The home we moved to a year after my father’s death.
I turn to the doorway, just in time to see my mother walk in to the living room. My brothers appear behind her, followed by my sisters. We’re together again. A family of eight. But one is missing. My heart quickens, anticipating the ring of the doorbell. I’m not disappointed.
No one responds. No one hears the beautiful rendition of Green Sleeves I’ve come to love, but loathe, too. I race to the door and pull it open. Standing there before me is my father. The tears flow, my body shakes.
‘What’s wrong? Aren’t you going to invite me in?’ he says. ‘I know I’ve been away for a while, but I’m back now.’
How did he know where to find us, this had never been his home. But it didn’t matter because he’d returned.
I want to grab him, hug him, never let him go. Only, the dream never gives me what I want. Against my will I turn away, coerced by some invisible force I can’t control, and shout for my mother. But no one is there. The room is an empty shell. No furniture, just light patches on the wall where the pictures once hung. The emptiness engulfs me as I turn back to the open door to find him gone as well. As I race outside I’m lost in a brilliant white light and then I wake.
This dream comes to me when everyday life is hard to bear. When the hope of something better deserts me. I always wake crying, but although it’s sad, somehow it comforts me, too. I’m not a religious person (sorry if that offends some people), however, I do believe it’s my fathers way of telling me he’s still around, looking out for me.