Her name was Jennifer, and she sat beside me in standard four at the Canon Laurie Anglican Primary School. I was hopelessly and happily ensnared by the charms of this girl who did not speak to me in class, except for those few times when it became necessary for her to do so. And I treasured every jewel-encrusted word that fell from her lips, and when she was silent, I mentally willed her to speak.
Unknown to her, I monitored each irritable toss of her curly-haired head, and every smiling condescension bestowed on those undeserving mortals around her. In my childish mind, I had elevated her to the status of an angel; an angel whose aura had radiated outward and caught me in its soft, mesmerizing embrace. So I paid homage. I did covert obeisance to this earthly manifestation of heavenly glory that had me spellbound.
Sometimes, when I was alone, I would mentally replay her every action and spoken word. I would mimic the way she held an arm or the way she stood. And in the company of my friends in the community where I lived, I would boast of the beauty and charm of my “girlfriend” and ridicule and dismiss their pathetic attempts to boast about theirs as outright lies.
The dreams began when I was in my late teens and continued for approximately ten years. To this day, I have no logical reason or explanation for what may have triggered those nocturnal images, or why they started so many years after Jennifer and I had left the Anglican Primary School. For the most part, they were pleasant dreams—dreams that were uncomplicated and child-like in their innocence.
She would come unbidden in the night and open the door to another life where there was neither guile nor pretense—only the purity of two dream entities that lived happily in the night and died when I awoke. And in that happy existence, I viewed my dream companion with a sense of awe because she seemed to possess the power of an angel.
There was no drabness. Brilliant colors were everywhere and an absolute clarity of space and sky always filled my senses. There was an intuitive understanding within me that her presence accounted for this utopia; a place where the air was always fragrant, where no dangers lurked, and time was never a consideration.
In my dream state, she did most of the talking. I was content to let her honeyed, musical voice flow over and around me and clothe me with its soft, unrestrictive cadence. When I spoke, it was mostly to echo, confirm, or strengthen what she had said and she would listen graciously to my repetition.
Her magic was in my blood and I was transported on the wings of dreams. We were the only human inhabitants of a dream world uncluttered by the distractions, inhibitions, and restraints of conventional mores. This was our Shangri-La; our dream paradise where everything was in perfect equilibrium and existed solely for our pleasure.
Then, one day, the dreams died. Just like that! No premonition like a sad farewell, or an alien sky, or a note out of balance prefaced or heralded the approach of this unknown thing that suddenly slammed shut and locked the dream door.
Sometimes, I think about her. Not the flesh-and-blood, imperfect mortal, but the magical mirage that graced my dreams and softened the hard edges of the night.
Author’s note: I had a secret crush on Jennifer (not her real name) the entire time we were in standard four at the Canon Laurie Anglican Primary School. I still can’t explain why the dreams began several years after we left the school (my crush ended soon after I began attending secondary school) or why they ended when they did.