18
Nov
07

Ascent

The verdant slopes reflected the bright light from the midsummer sun. Clusters of colourful flowers gathered under hedges, and mottled pink and white petals adorned the branches of trees in an orchard. The land flattened out, treeless, with few bushes and plants. It all seemed so familiar. The grassy plains gave way to a rougher, stonier ground, dotted with poppies and marguerite’s. Then the land fell away steeply, revealing jagged cliffs, ledges populated by squawking gulls. The azure sea beckoned with an array of glittering gems. Assisted by a gentle breeze, I floated languidly, taking it all in. Yet I felt uneasy.
A slight rustle behind me informed me that I was not alone.

‘Hello Melek. Beautiful isn’t it? ‘
‘Absolutely’, I replied. ‘How did you know I was here?’
Veli, my mentor, smiled enigmatically. ‘Just a hunch. I hear you’ve entered Cally’s writing competition?
‘Yes. I thought I’d have a go.’
‘Well good luck with it. There are quite a few entries I believe, so stiff competition. Let me know when you hear the results’.

He smiled again and vanished. I sat down near the edge of the cliff and contemplated my entry for the competition. It had been a spontaneous outpouring…

* * * * * * * * * * * *
The ‘angel dream’ occurred frequently throughout my childhood. Heralded by a wonderful sensation of floating, I wafted serenely down a staircase; a mere shadow against a backdrop of muted shades of pink and yellow – almost ethereal. I knew I was an angel, but apparently my wings didn’t work very well because as the descent accelerated I lost control and crash-landed. The dream was accompanied by a strong foreboding, but no sounds. Waking up after impact I felt scared and uneasy.
Years later in therapy, I realised that hearing my mother tell of her regret about my birth, as I perched on the stairs one night, might have something to do with the dream! A loveless childhood led to a search for the impossible, and a string of wrecked relationships. The only person close to me was my twin sister, Mehtap.

During my late teens, the dreams occurred less often and for a while life was angel-free. I began a promising relationship and for three years I was happy. Maybe I took Cliff, my boyfriend, for granted. Something turned sour and Cliff began an affair with a work colleague. Initially I feigned ignorance, trying to maintain the status quo, but the angel dreams re-appeared with a vengeance.

Now the dreams were very frightening. The soft glow and ambience of the originals was replaced by streaks of red, orange and black, interjected by a bright light which mimicked sheet lightening. Isolation and silence pervaded the dream interwoven with a strong sense of foreboding. When awake I was plagued by flashbacks. Then one night the dream began as normal but quickly changed. I was in a palace that was richly decorated with gleaming marble and gilt. I was alone again, but became aware of a loud rumbling beneath my feet. The floor shook. In an instant I was an onlooker, watching as the palace was razed in an earthquake. A large fissure opened up from somewhere near the detritus, travelling with speed towards me… and then I woke up.

This dream terrified me. I searched news reports trying to ascertain if an earthquake was likely to occur somewhere with a beautiful palace. Of course I found nothing and gradually the disturbing visions faded, my thoughts being occupied elsewhere. My relationship with Cliff came to an abrupt end, and again I was alone. Mehtap proffered the proverbial shoulder and I was glad to accept.

I was on automatic pilot that next week. I felt numb mostly, but susceptible to brief periods of intense pain. And then I was visited by another dream. This was by far the worst and left me devastated. I saw my beloved sister disappear into a black void. I appeared to be paralysed and could do nothing to help her. I was forced to watch. I awoke crying, convinced that something had, or was about to happen to Mehtap. I dared not ring her. I tried to be rational, but it replayed over and over in my head the next day. I needed to tell Mehtap to be careful; but why? What was the black void I had seen? I couldn’t make her anxious over a dream, so I struggled through the day, feeling that I was falling fast into the grips of some demon’s den of insanity.

I decided to go for a walk. I remember that it was a beautiful day. The colours were so bright and the birdsong so sweet; but something was wrong. I sensed it rather than felt it. My mood was very low, and the world around me lacked congruency. Of course, the weather was not under any obligation to match my mood. How could it be? But something was wrong.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
I am left with that feeling to this day, and I noticed it more sharply than usual when I looked at the scene before me this afternoon, but I have no idea why. My story ended there, strangely. Rising, I take a last look at the sea as it sends me a thousand sparkling winks. Unfolding my wings, I fly home, thoughtful and uneasy.

A couple of days later I meet up with Veli.
‘How did you do in the writing contest?’ he asks.
I give him a side-long glance.
‘You knew didn’t you?’
‘Of course! We all go through it. And survive’
He looks at me intently.
‘Tell me’.

I tell him how Cally had sought me out that morning, and then gently explained that I had not won the competition, because in reality it was not a competition, but an exercise; a necessary cathartic step, if my integration was to be successful.

‘Cally went on to explain that she set writing tasks everyday as a way of helping people remember and come to terms with their past, or as in my case, make sense of it. She said all the answers to my questions were in my story. Then she told me that Mehtap is alive. I am so relieved. It took me a while to grasp what she was really saying though’.

‘Which was?’ Veli prompts.

‘Well, after she told me this, I thought about my story and retraced my steps, unknowingly, as I was so preoccupied, to the spot on the cliffs. As I was bending down to pick a poppy, my foot slipped on some stones, albeit very slightly. It was enough though. In a flash I realised what had happened and understood why I recognised the place.’

Veli smiles and takes my hand, patting it gently.

‘You will survive, now that you know, and can see the pattern of your former life’.
‘You mean the pattern of falling, in all it’s glorious forms?’
‘Yes. But you have had your last fall. Now you can only rise. Are you ready?

He has to ask?

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