Our childhood house had a medium sized garden. And there was this large fence covered with trees and leaves working as a partition from our neighbour’s house.
We couldn’t access the neighbour’s house from our compound. But there was a little gap in between the bushes that we could possibly fit into as children had we tried.
And we would spend days just looking into the neighbour’s house.
They had two daughters and a dog.
It felt like a such a far away place.
I’m not sure if it was real or a figment my imagination, but it sticks very vivid in my memories from that time.
And as a child, I’d often wonder what would happen if I went through the gap and into the neighbour’s house.
Would my family come searching for me? Would I be forgotten? Would I make it back?
When I was little, I would wake up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning with a strange fear.
It would involve me being in a massive field, or a never ending black space, entirely alone.
It was almost as if I had braved the crawl through that gap.
The place would be so dark, cold and eerie.
I would spot my loved ones at a distance, but either they were slipping away from me, or I was slipping away from them.
It was terrifying.
And this visual has recurred over the course of my growing up.
A few mornings ago I woke up, sweaty, with that same feeling, and I burst into tears asking God to watch over the people that I love.
I tried to tell myself that it’s just a nightmare, a bad feeling, and somewhere in between the process I realized it is perhaps the fear of me losing touch with myself.
Of me no longer recognizing me.
I see snapshots the way you see the background spin and blur when you’re on a really fast teacup ride.
Half shutting your eyes, bargaining with your body to please not throw up.
I am laughing. My mum is there, my sisters, my aunties, my friends, the roads of all the cities I’ve lived in, the dreams I had are all there.
They’re looking at me.
I try to call out at them, but my voice is blocked by a playlist of the songs I listened to growing up mixed with the sounds of their laughter.
I beg my body to relax, but it is slipping away.
Everything is spinning fast. Everything is blurry. I am starting to slip away.
And I am terrified.