“Remember..” the voice spoke. “You will always have a place in my heart.” The soothing voice continued. At that very moment, I woke up and forgot almost all about the dream. Yet the last sentence was still crystal clear in my head. I looked around my surroundings and noticed I was all alone.
Just then a figure entered the room. She had a thin body with long black straight hair that ran down her back and pale green skin which was draped by a long Hanfu of white color that had bright blue flowers all over it. “Ahhh!...” she said in that long accent, with one look at my face. “Again, my loutchè?” she continued. “Yes.” I answered honestly. “Share with me the nightmare and it will relieve you.” she said as she set down the basket of clothes as she took a seat next to me on the old thin bed.
“Same one as two nights before.” I said as I stared into nothingness trying to remember the full dream. “Do remind me of that nightmare. Please.” she asked as she placed her pale green, three-fingered hand on my back reassuringly. “I don’t remember it as clearly as before ma,” I said as my concentration broke and I looked at her wide green face and her two wide black eyes looking at me with concern. “All I remember this time is the last sentence of the dream.” I said as I tried to concentrate again.
“There was a lot of noise and my vision was blank and then all of a sudden I heard that soothing voice speak to me and she said ‘You will always have a place in my heart.’ That’s all I remember.” I said with a sigh as I looked back at her. She then looked at me in the eye for a second before hastily getting up and taking the basket with her as she turned away from me. She then proceeded to hang the clothes on the line that ran through the room.
Her next line was spoken with her back against me. “Oh! I hope it isn’t getting worse every time?” “No ma it does not, but I just wonder why I keep getting these nightmares every time.” “Young teens like you tend to have a lot of dreams. Reoccurring nightmares are common.” she said as she continued her back still against me. “Now don’t let that ruin your mindset for today.” she said encouragingly. “Yes, ma.” I said trying to think of things I had to do today. “It will pass over sometime soon surely.” she said. “Hopefully.” I said in a tired tone. “Now loutchè,” she said turning to face me again.
“Cheer up! It’s only a dream. Quit thinking about it and go help your sister pick the Eyden seeds we need.” She said in a reassuring voice. “Sure ma.” I responded as I left the room. I walked out of the door and entered the corridor which like always was crowded.
Children were running through these narrow corridors often upsetting the other people in their rooms with their loud stamping. To be honest, though I thought it was because of the building’s age.
It was called a Chawk. It was a building where many lucky villagers lived in, and was pretty much like a flat but unlike any modern flat, this short wide square building was old, very old in fact that it was older than most of the old-timers in our village, serving as a house to several generations living in the building.
Time, cruel as it was, had taken a toll on the aging building and because the village had a very small economy when compared to any of its neighboring cities and villages, the Chawk, one of the last remaining big buildings in our village, sat on a slow path to destruction.
What was broken remained broken and repairs were kept at a minimum mostly because the raw materials we needed were scarce in our village. This meant that the only way we would get any kind of materials to build buildings and repair the existing ones would only come when some good trader from other villages would come and sell his goods at a reasonable price. This was rare because most of the villages hated each other.
Some of our old-timers in our village told us that the Chawk once was built for the masses by the then ruler who had made the Chawk free of cost, helping the homeless get a roof above their head. Still, the tradition had continued, thus making the place crowded than before. Still, to us, it was our home, and although everyone who lived there had only one room medium in size to live in, or for those who had no room, the hall or any other big space, the medium room we had was more than enough for us. We mostly did not feel the Chawk being so crowded because it was more about the people than anything else. Everyone in the building was compassionate towards each other and were always ready to help everyone else which made living in this kind of place much more comfortable.
Well, much more comfortable to everyone else, my mother and sister included, other than me. It’s not that they are all cruel towards me, it’s just that they look at me, it’s like I have committed a crime, which as far as I can say I haven’t. I for now surely knew it was because of how I looked rather than anything else. For one, I did look anything like my mother, my sister or for that fact anyone else who lived around me, as far as I could say.
I did not have their pale green skin, their big black eyes, their three-finger hands, and toes, and the list just grows. I did not even speak the same language as others speak. Only my mom and sister spoke to me in the language I spoke which she called ‘Antrera’. My sis after learning that I preferred to speak the much more common language of the villagers, ‘Gorse’ started speaking to me in that, which made me feel comfortable. It was better to speak in ‘Gorse’ because as long as I remembered, I had never fitted anywhere and was always frowned upon by someone, but speaking the language everyone spoke made me feel less different.
Why I had a total of ten fingers, five on each of my two hands and ten toes, five on each of my two legs, why I had dark brown hair, blue eyes and a face that looked so different than others or worst of all if I had some disease no one else had. Through many debates with many villagers, my mom and sister I concluded that I was not so different from anyone else except for my physical appearance and any speech about that would result in that “I don’t know why.” response.
Every night however I would still wonder who I really was and if I really belonged to this place and just as my mind sunk into that dark place of endless self-questioning my mom would come over and make me recite the prayer I used to say every night “Jude Fougeres, James Fougeres, Ava Fougeres, and Roland Fougeres.” After which darkness would fall upon me.
To be continued…