(Photograph courtesy of Carmelle Tennison)
My eyes strain to make out the pair of shadows hovering above me. Irritated, I squirm in the softness swaddled about my body—a vain attempt to recreate the warmth of a watery world I inhabited just a few months prior. I give up trying to make sense of the blur. So I close my eyes and reminisce about a face breathing life into my soul. My cheeks start to twitch.
“Aw, look,” coos the one who calls herself I’m-Your-Mommy. “The baby’s dreaming!”
A deep voice chimes in. “Of what? The back of eyelids? It’s probably just gas.”
I want to tell them what I see in my sleep, wishing my mouth could do more than produce misinterpreted smiles. Explosions of gurgles and shrieks are all I can manage at the moment. But even with a vocabulary, how does one describe omnipotence composed entirely of light appearing in newborn dreams? Addicted to the sight, I find myself slumbering—a lot.
As weeks pass the face dims until only a fleeting glimmer remains. I cry when I sleep now. My unconscious smiles cease. I try to summon that face again…but nothing is there! Where did it go? My eyes and fists clench as I grope the darkness, searching for the lost image. I don’t know what’s worse: the void in my mind’s eye or the unfocused blobs of my waking hours.
Big hands lift me in the air as my nocturnal screams intensify. The familiar cadence of a heart beats in my ear and a wiry tuft brushes against my forehead. My eyes peel open and the sudden clarity of a moonlit face shocks me silent. This new image whispers, “Daddy’s got you,” as he presses my fist against his smiling lips.
Then once again, my cheeks start to twitch.