This is not fiction. It’s a dark dream I woke up from around 02:10 PM today, 16-03-19.
There was a child, a little girl in my dreams. She was dark-skinned, overweight and a bit tall for her age – about 8 years old. She wasn’t a good looking girl in any way which led to her having no friends but me. I was her babysitter or something.
I was walking her home from school that afternoon. I had her pink school bag on one shoulder and my other hand was resting on her shoulders as we walked down the street. People, especially her schoolmates didn’t like her because of how she looked but deep down within me, I was convinced she was going to be really great in life. I also knew that all she needed was someone to love, mentor and help her believe in herself.
As we walked home that afternoon, we could hear and ‘see’ people talk about her and not in a nice way. As always. But at some point, I let what people were saying about the little girl get to me. I gradually pulled my hand off her shoulder and by the time we got to her parents’ house, she was already carrying her school bag.
Thinking about it now, it seemed I didn’t want more people to see us together, that way; I wouldn’t be part of the insults being thrown at her. Shameful!
When we got to the house, I sat outside and told her to go inside to get her teddy bear, (well, I’m not exactly sure that was what she needed from the house though; you know how dreams can be), as we were still heading to my own place to wait for her parents.
She was sullen and barely said a word on the walk to the house. I knew she was unhappy but I just didn’t feel like talking her out of her misery or doing anything to make her feel better.
There’s this… what shall I call it now? It was more like a soakaway with a small opening right on the veranda in front of the house. Ever seen a block of house like those in Police barracks before? Those blocks with about 5-10 houses on a block with each house divided by a wall. This particular block wasn’t painted.
Anyway, this little girl asked if she could go inside the soakaway – I don’t know what plausible excuse any child could have given that should have made me say yes, but I did. I sat there and watched as the little girl left in my care climbed down into this soakaway that was filled with smelly green water. I was too caught up in my “whatever” to care enough to stop her. So, I moved closer, stood arms akimbo and continued watching as she lowered herself until she began to drown.
Still I did nothing. Just kept watching as she fought to stay afloat while inevitably gulping down the smelly green water.
Tears fell down my cheeks, blurring my vision.
A neighbor on the same block was tending to her children few houses away. I waved and smiled at her in greeting as though a child wasn’t drowning right before me.
The little girl was getting tired of fighting. At this point, I couldn’t see her hands or head anymore, just bubbles. That was when I called out her name (can’t remember what the name was), and reached down to pull her out.
The neighbor looked my way, wondering why I’d shouted all of a sudden and why I was lying flat on the floor, crying frantically. When the little girl heard my voice, she began fight for dear life again.
Few minutes later, the neighbor had helped the little girl and I after I almost fell into the soakaway myself trying to rescue her. The neighbor was hugging and petting the little girl while I stood in front of them transfixed.
I couldn’t even shed a tear although I was wailing inside.
The look in her frightened little eyes said she knew I could have saved her earlier, YET, those same eyes held true forgiveness and pure compassion for me. How can this little girl in my dream who I almost left die look at me with compassion?
A sharp cry of anguish escaped my throat. Then I woke up.