Good morning. Here's today's Message:
The pavement is sticky like uncooked dough; it lifts in strings under your soles. The sun is hot. The skin on your shoulders and knees is burning. That’s when your father pokes his head out of the door and shouts at you to come in but you can’t tell him about the pavement because you know he won’t believe you, he’ll think that you’re lying or you’ve done something wrong. You wave and watch him disappear down a dark hall, into a room with a tiny window at the other end. He sits at a table and carves his name into the wood.
Each time you have the dream you wake up frightened, then relieved when you remember where you are. You haven’t mentioned it to anyone since one of your boyfriends said that in Freudian terms the knife symbolised a penis.
Your mother once told you the women in your family were cursed with bad love. And you believed her because she was your mother. And because of your father.
When your mother calls and tells you he’s died she can’t stop crying. You say, ‘Mum, you haven’t seen him for fifteen years.’
‘It doesn’t matter,’ she says. ‘I always see him in you.’
After you hang up the phone you stare at yourself in the bathroom mirror, try and see him somewhere in your face. You can’t. And you’re glad.
You haven’t had the dream since he died. Or you’ve had the dream, but your feet aren’t stuck and your father doesn’t call you and it’s you walking down the dark hall into the small room. It’s you sitting at the table with the knife, but you don’t carve your name. You walk over to the other end of the room and look out of the tiny window.