By Anna May
A few years after he died, I dreamt about my brother Benny. It was overwhelmingly real with its colours and its smells, but as the time has passed, its shape has been lost in the bustle of the everyday. The feeling is here though, when I choose to feel it.
I’m not going to try and describe the details. They’ve hardly stuck and I fear that trying to grasp them will make them shy and I could lose the whole thing for good. That seems to be the way with dreams. So what I’m going to tell you is far from accurate. But that’s not to say it doesn’t hold some sort of truth.
There was a tunnel and there was light. Disappointing start I know. Maybe someone had been using the cliché to try and comfort me at the time, or maybe it had worked its way into my mind through films and poems and that sort of stuff.
Or maybe the light at the end of the tunnel exists as an image because people feel it, and they feel it because it is true.
Mine was more of a tube than a tunnel anyway. A big plastic tube with ridges, covered in dirt. And at first there was no light and no end. I was on my hands and knees, crawling, feeling the earth dry uncomfortably between my fingers. There was rubble too. And water.
Does Benny tell me to let go? Does he speak at all? I can’t be sure whether he was with me in the dark or not. It is true that he told me to let go but it is also true that he said nothing. It is true that he was by my side and it is true that he was not.
Either way, I felt it. Felt something.
And I saw the sun, spilling wholeheartedly through an opening that had appeared an arms-length away. Reeds of grass and crooked flower heads bent to look below ground, which is where I realised I was.
I became aware of a stale dampness in my lungs and the coolness of the air rushing towards me.
And suddenly I was swept into a new phase of the dream.
Intense childlike euphoria.
It is sunnier than the sunniest summer’s day and the world is alive. I’m cycling with my mum and my dad and my brothers. Which ones I do not know. It does not seem to matter whether Benny is there on a bike or if Benny is there as a bird.
We’re by a river that I recognise. I’ve dreamt about it before, but that time another of my brothers was falling in. I was trying to save him, pulling him to the bank only to find that he was in the water again. That was my other brother, true. But it is also true that that was Benny.
Now the water sparkles. It is fresh and still and there is no one drowning in it. The family is together with Benny and without Benny, and somehow I feel whole.
Benny, you have let me let you go, and in doing so, I can love you, truly, forever.