dream diary: anemoia.

by The Dreamer

anemoia – n. nostalgia for a time you’ve never known

It is night and my eyelids are heavy and I stop battling against them, let the weariness of the entire day wash over me and ebb me towards unconsciousness.

I wake up to a time of innocence, stepping into a frame of sepia-tinted haze. My eyes take time to adjust, and then suddenly colour floods my vision, noises fill my hearing, sights and smells and sounds and everything foreign even though I am still in my same bed and I am still in my same room, just flung a few decades back into the past.

There’s a plaid skirt and a white blouse with lace trimmings hung on the knob of my closet. Throwing off my quilt from my body, I find myself putting on new bloomers, followed by the outfit and tightening a thick leather belt around my slim waist. I comb down the nest atop my head into a ponytail, securing it with a pink ribbon, and part my bangs into a pair of parentheses facing each other.

A shrill ring sends me squealing out of my house. There is a boy with a handsome chiselled face and pale limbs leaning against his bicycle, clad in a messenger hat and with a fully black get-up with his collar mischievously upturned.

I hop onto his bicycle as we speed down the hill just as I hear my mother call out, “did you bring the umbrella?” My answer gets caught in the wind and dies on my lips as the sheer force of time reels me back. With a sudden jerk of the bicycle, I am shaken with the sudden realisation that I am a person of the future but stuck in the physical form of the past, a relic of black-and-white, born of an age when I was not even present yet. This is simultaneously horrifying and fascinating. I hold onto the shoulders of the boy just a little harder, then laugh as his hat is ripped away from his head by the wind and his long fringe flaps freely against his high forehead.

Other friends, strangers to me but not to my physical being, greet us warmly as we enter the quaint little house. There’s the smell of apple pie wafting through the corridors from the kitchen. I am tugged by an odd sense of familarity that’s not stemming from me, but from my tendons.

Everyone begins to dance in the living room, and the boy pulls me up from the couch that I have planted myself on.

“I don’t dance,” I say, laughing.

“Don’t be silly!” He shouts through the boom of the music, tipping his head back in laughter like that’s the most ridiculous thing he’s heard.

And he’s right. Somewhere, deep in my bones, rattles a flow synonymous with the rhythm of the music, and I realise belatedly that I’m dancing, hands flung in the air when the tune is happy and gripping the back of the cute boy’s neck  in a slow waltz, swaying hips and shifting lips into shy smiles when the song is more mellow.

We dance to Elvis Presley – Always on my Mind, Can’t Help Falling in Love with You, and my favourite, Crying in the Chapel. There’s uplifting beats like Come On Eileen and Mr. Blue Sky. I’m having the time of my life, soul light like it’s never been. This is a dream, but the beats dance on my skin and the boy’s touch tingles for so long after that it feels so incredibly real.

In the afternoon, we tear across meadows full of wildflowers without names, the sun warm against our cheeks as we look heavenward, descending softly against the cushioning of the flowers bending gracefully for us. We fall asleep to the lull of the birds in the distance and the coaxing of the trees.

The water is invitingly refreshing, sparkling with transparency and magic. We race each other to the brook, letting the stream lap against our ankles, giggle as the little fishes swim through our toes and then we splash water at each other playfully. The edges of my skirt is wet, dipping into the water like it doesn’t want to miss out on the fun.

Then afterward, we cycle to the library, just me and the boy whose name I don’t even know, my cheek pressed tenderly against his sturdy back. A boy who is a stranger but sends electricity down my spine. We read books quietly, my head in his lap and his elbows against my soft stomach, occasionally sharing precious words that tugs at our heartstrings.

Night falls as the sun falls below the horizon, and there is nothing more amazing than the huge, bright orb hanging up on the inky sky, basking us in a comforting glow. And the stars, a thousand million trillion of them peppering across the expanse from one end to another. This is a time without pollution, when the dark is genuinely dark, and the dark allows the natural light of the night to seep through. No artificial brightness to blind us.

There’s no one on the streets. We hold hands, me looking at my feet as I kick stray pebbles and him looking at me, one hand pulling his bicycle along and the other stroking the knobs of my fingers. Can he tell that I am not me? Can he tell that I don’t know him but I think I love him?

We stop under a streetlamp and the stars are exhaling in delight while I am holding my breath.

I gaze up at him through my eyelashes.

“You’re different today,” he says with a smile.

“Oh?” I hum.

“Yes. You’re so much more beautiful and wonderful today.” he chuckles and a warm flush spreads all the way to my toes. “It’s like you’re holding onto something.”

“I am.”

I close my eyes expectantly and he leans in—

—and I wake up.