Before I went to sleep last night I stayed up for a while talking to Nooman; one eye on the football and one sympathetic eye listening to my sadness and long arms wrapped around me. I decided that as nice as this was and as much as I appreciated his words of love and sympathy I needed to retreat to myself and sort my own head out. Knowing it all is a disease. I know what people are going to tell me. I know the right and wrong things for me. I know what will and what will not make me happy… but ultimately when the tears start to flow, the tears start to flow and nothing I do and nothing I know will stop the voices in my head.
“What are you doing this for?”
“This is who you are… you will never change.”
“What do you expect? To be perfect?? No-one is perfect! Not even you Miss Boo.”
“You will fail.” “You should give up.”
“You shouldn’t give up.”
And then Nooman silences them, makes the tears flow faster, and says, “You know that you are more than this. You know that you have more to offer than just this. You are more fun to be around, you have more personality and spark… You are special.” But the trouble is that right at that moment I did not feel very special… I felt like the humus of the Middle East and not the variety with the herbs and pine kernels, but the plain old dry mushy kind that was left in the fridge too long.
I kissed my boo goodnight and walked to my room and collapsed into bed. I put the duvet back on the bed this week, and as the fan blared over my head I snuggled under the covers, closed my eyes, put the voices on mute and drifted into sleep.
I dreamt I was falling and as I fell I realised that I was in fact not falling, but sinking in clear blue water. I drifted, watching the bubbles from my mouth float upward. Around me were long stemmed seaweeds shooting endlessly upwards to the unreachable surface. In every leaf of the plant I saw eyes gazing at me. It seemed so beautiful at first, so I did not freak out that I was sinking further and further down and had no idea where the surface was. Blue finned sharks swam above my head, but I was not afraid. On the contrary I watched them envious… why had I not been born a shark? My old doll Mary floated up alongside me, and I stroked her curly hair one last time before she carried on to the surface. I was not ready to follow her up... it was so beautiful in the deep blue.
But when I looked back down I saw visions of the Scream, of Chucky from Childs Play, of the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and all the faces that scared me as a child. The water was cluttered with colours staining the clear water. I saw the faces of friends aging before me and I began to cry. With pained smiles they all reached for my hands, trying to drag me further down with them. I knew that if I wanted to get back to dry land I would have to swim up through the sharks that now had started to look menacing and seemed to swim in a ring of blood. My sister takes my hand, and just as she looks at me, her face pruned up so I could not tell which sister she was, I kicked away and swam upwards. I torpedoed up through the sharks, following the lines of the seaweed trees and heading towards the bright sunlight glittering through the blue.
I opened my eyes and my room was bright with sunlight. I looked at my clock to see my alarm was not due for another hour. So I lay back wide-eyed listening to the sounds of Tel Aviv waking up outside my window, and tried to decide what to wear for a wedding tonight.