were it logical and somewhat chronological they would call it a visitation dream-either way, for the first time in my life i dreamt about my father. the man who was not only in love with my mother but also bore me. the very same man who physically passed on in 2003. the man who, ever since his passing, i never got to mourn or celebrate because the issue is like carbon dioxide in a crater lake which on this night exploded in my dream. it felt so real, i can still feel him, his touch that makes 15 years seem like seconds ago… his voice, even after 15 years of absence, calls my pet name with a unique engraving of love. It seems he has come to fix something at my flat. His old yellow ford parks in front of my flat. The plate number is worn out. I try to look deep into it, since I am in the habit of memorizing plate numbers, but his is just worn out. I only see the last end-AJN which is the ending of the plate number of Pops’ Audi (my late second father). he, my biological dad (who for the purpose of understanding will be called dad from here on through out) has a fancy wheelbarrow out that looks like a toolbox. He starts folding it. As though to say,
“what I came here to do is done now.”
I ask him a series of questions. Questions I, now, cannot remember. he keeps on telling me how he needs to go, I internally ask WHY IN SUCH A HURRY DAD?” alas, he keeps insisting that he has to go. I am my current age in the dream.
when he arrived, he had gotten off from the passenger seat. he is holding baby me. He hands me the baby and says -here you go (my pet name). He hands me, me. I hold on to me and do not let go. The entire duration of our censored chat, I have me in my hands, still. I take a step back as he folds his fancy wheelbarrow. I can vividly remember how it looks- the same way I vividly remember the tshirt he has on in almost all his pictures which he is wearing now. His muscles are showing. He is just as strong, just as handsome as he was 15 years ago. I look at him and say, “I am gonna be more like my father”. After folding his wheelbarrow, the little sister to my older uncle from my grandmother’s side appears. My uncle is fascinated by this wheelbarrow and wants to know where to buy it. Dad says, “300 pula” and my uncle’s money is short by a 150 pula.
i intercept the conversation. I stand right next to dad and observe how tall he is. I say to my my uncle, who’s with us at this point:
“see how tall dad is? He is taller than you. I wanna be as tall as him when I grow up. I mean, if he is well into his 40’s and this tall then there is still hope for me”
we all laugh. he repeats the same words yet again “I need to go”. I look at him again, this time he is wearing a jersey that mom made for him
“Mom likes making those kinda jerseys” I say happily.
The jersey is white, with an angel wings pattern. I pause for a moment as I deeply look into these patterns while musing how mom made it and why she has not taught me how to make it yet. I draw closer to dad and look him right in the eye. i read his face-scrutinizing every inch of it. He looks so real. He breathes. His eyes tear up the way mine do. and that small scar on his face between his eyes, the same one I have… the very same scar that’s now disappearing on my face. I am looking at my future reflection, it dawns on me. silence. For the first time in 15 years, he is right next to me. I am tall now, no longer the little boy he left on this earth. I keep looking at him-partly in awe and partly in disbelief because I want to have a good picture memory of him in my dream. I know I am to wake up soon. I know it is a dream and he has come to my dreams so I can learn something from it. Something I am yet to figure out. He says the words;
“Son, I have to go”
A lot of people have called me “son”. But his is different.
“I love you so much” he continues, “and i have always loved you. I miss you so much-not a day goes by that I don’t miss you. I know I am leaving and it’s gonna hurt you, but worry not, I am still your father but God the father is your greatest father. ”
At this point he is long done folding the fancy wheelbarrow and has locked it with a padlock. It disappears. He walks over to the passenger seat and I run to the driver’s seat. Nothing says to me to check if he has a driver. I mean, Dad came out from the passenger seat when he arrived and he is now sitting on the passenger seat as he prepares to leave.
I look at him and he looks at me to say these words one last time,
“Mlindeli” he shakes his head “no, (my home name) I need to go!”
Silence. He now has a greenish jacket on. The same one my mother bought my sister and I when we were little. Only one is left in the wardrobe back home. The jackets is used for special occasions like going to church, weddings and for long distance travels.
Everything becomes dark. I cannot see him anymore. Its like that view from a movie where the main character is zoomed in and everyone else disappears. In the darkness, I can only see myself. Surprisingly, I am still holding baby me who’s weight is so light. It makes sense now. I notice now how this whole time all the characters In my dream and all the props are transparent.
But I still wonder
-why did my dad firstly hand me, me? Why did he want me to feel the light weight of myself? Was it a sign that his if i let go of the past I would feel lighter in my soul?-Everything eventually goes darker and I cannot see dad no more. I can only recall the words
“Son, I have to go”
His words keep echoing in the dark dream. My heart starts to pound. My real life surrounding becomes apparent to me and I wake up to the sound of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s get it on’ playing from a YouTube auto play list.
I lay in the dark after visiting the loo and begin to write all these things. I am still lying in the dark typing this on my phone notes. My heart is light and heavy. It wants to let my brain know that everything is going to be fine though it is heavy with questions. What does all this mean and why cant I remember the questions I asked my father? Who is the driver of his car? What is God trying to show me? Why did POPS’s plate number ending appear in my father’s dream? Was all that an official goodbye?
Why was i on the driver’s side? Was I to drive him to where he was going? Was him telling me that he had to go a way of saying that I was delaying him as his driver? after all I was not there when he died. and when my mother broke the news to me, she asked me not to cry and I never did, even to this day. I never saw my father’s last days, only heard of them. I never felt the pain of losing him, only numbness. But now, i feel something-something I cannot explain, something I have never felt before. It almost feels like freedom and bondage. Emancipation and insanity. Relief and stress. But peace surpasses it all.
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I DREAMT ABOUT MY FATHER WHO PASSED AWAY 14 YEARS AGO.
editor: wame gwafila
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