1 - Self Shame
In my own
way I was successful, or so I thought. I never wanted
for much, just a simple life, an undemanding career
and a reasonable amount to savings for my old age,
that's all I sought. It wasn't unreasonable and I was
living well within my means. However I wasn't immune
to the effects of the worldwide economy crisis and my
reasonably paid job, as a librarian, had been badly
hit. No longer was I required to work six full days
per week, I was only working four and on a part time
basis. It wasn't long before bills started piling up
and I grew increasingly in debt.
was just one money crisis followed by another, and
every day I found myself having to cut back on my
expenses. I couldn't even afford to heat my small one
bedroom apartment and spent the evening shivering
under a blanket. I wasn't eating properly either and
often skipped meals causing my belly to rumble at
work, which sounded all the louder in the near silent
afford to go out and socialise with friends. Instead
I constantly made up an excuse which caused them to
think I no longer liked them, but better they thought
that than know the real truth of my spiral of debt.
The shame was too much to bear and I dreaded to think
what they would have thought of me if I told them.
bitterly cold day, I decided to sit down and sort out
my finances, while my tummy twinged wanting so much
to be filled. I sat down at home, hunched over a desk,
with a thick blanket covering my shoulders. Then with
a pen wrote down on a blank sheet of paper all of my
outgoings as well as my income. I worked out the bare
minimum needed for food and comfort, as well as the
amount needed for bills including the arrears.
pleased when I realised there was just enough spare,
and I was able to play off the arrears too, so long
as I never waned from my minimum expenditure.
pleasure was short lived when I realised how long it
was going to take. I was going to have to live on the
breadline for another six years before the arrears I
owed was paid off, even then I was still going to
remain relatively poor. Six years was going to seem
like an eternity especially keeping the deep feeling
of shame secret from my friends. I wondered if I
would still have any after the time had passed.
2 - My Daughter's Wish
reached the stage where I spent every moment of my
free time in bed. It was a good way to keep warm and
to keep my mind off food, but it also acted as a
constant reminder of my predicament. I forced myself
to sleep for as long as I could trying to relax my
turbulent mind, but it was a losing battle and I
spent most of the night wide awake staring into
little baby don't say a word," I sang to myself
in a sweet tone, "Mummy's going to buy you a..."
finish the lullaby and closed my eyes tightly as
tears forced their way out between my eyelids. I took
a large breath and let out a heavy sigh.
going to buy you a..." I repeated the line still
unable to finish it.
It took a
long time, many hours in fact, but I did eventually
fall asleep where I found myself ecstatically happy
within a most usual dream.
happy laugher all around as I span on the spot in the
garden while dancing on the lawn in my bare feet. The
icy air of the winter night ate through my nightdress
but it didn't bother me, in fact it felt pleasant and
refreshed my senses. Each inhale of breath cleared my
mind while each exhale let out a warming mist that
moistened my cold lips. The warm tears that had
formed earlier were now frozen to my cheeks forming
small icicles beneath my eyes.
mockingbird," I said in a childish tone of voice.
to be a young girl, around the age of ten, but I knew
it wasn't me whose body I presently occupied. I was
my own daughter, yet I didn't have any children in
reality. The dream was one of total fantasy and I,
and my daughter, were the same person. We were both
filled with bliss as we continued to dance, spinning
on the spot, while laughing in unison with a singular
love you mummy," I said.
love you too," I immediately replied.
As I looked
around we realised we were in the communal garden of
the apartment block yet no one within the dream world
had yet to take notice.
brightly I continued to dance allowing the freezing
night's air eat through my nightdress while the cold
moist grass tickled the underside of my feet. My
frozen tears flaked away as I span on the spot within
body then stopped dancing as my daughter took over
and remained still as though in shock. Her eyes
dilated whilst staring ahead.
wrong?" I asked within a loud whisper.
worried about the future," she replied as her
hugged myself which in turn meant I was also hugging
her while the frozen tears upon my cheeks began to
no need to worry yourself," I responded, "I've
sorted everything out. We're going to be fine."
of shame filled me once more. How could I have let a
child worry about such matters? I should have
protected her. I needed to carry the burden alone and
shield her from all forms of distress.
want it to be how it used to," she said with her
voice quivering ready to burst into tears at any
it will be, it will, I promise," I said whilst
hugging myself tightly trying to squeeze the promise
into my body.
you're worrying all the time and having no fun,"
my daughter said, "We used to play."
with our embrace holding myself, and therefore her,
right," I said trying to ease her distress,
"From now on I'm going to set aside some time
each day for play."
parted from our hug and continued dancing around the
garden while smiling ecstatically causing my frozen
tears to disperse.
She said, "Is it a true promise that you will
keep forever and ever?"
it's a true promise," I replied.
so happy!" She shouted while spinning on the
spot waving her arms into the air.
danced merrily with joy ignoring the icy cold breeze
that blew up our shared nightdress the material of
which had frozen resembling cardboard.
you remember when we used to play dolls?" My
certainly do," I replied.
you still have them?" She asked in a happy tone,
"And the dollhouse too?"
dancing for a moment to think. The dolls' house from
my childhood had been made by my father who not long
later had passed away. It was one of my most
treasured possessions but was far from looking its
best. As for the dolls themselves they were long
still have the dolls' house in the shed," I
replied, "But the dolls are gone I'm afraid."
not a problem we ourselves can be the dolls," my
practically an instant she rushed into the apartment
and up the stairs collecting the shed key before
hurrying back outside. I couldn't believe how swiftly
she moved or if in fact I imagined the entire thing,
but within the dream world everything was possible.
3 - Realisation
sunshine peeked its way through the curtain into my
face causing me to wake. I couldn't believe it was
already morning for the night had passed so quickly.
The little heat coming from the sun warmed my face
while the rest of my body felt as though it was caked
I let out a
yawn while stretching my body. It was time to get
ready for work. My mood was one of happiness, and at
the time I wasn't sure why. I felt as though
something had changed for the better during the night.
I flicked away my blanket I stared at my body with
total disbelief and shock. The hem of my nightdress
was dirty along with my feet that were coated with
dried mud. There were footprints too leading across
the bedroom floor.
In a flash
the memory of my dream came flooding back. Could it
be that I had really been outside having some kind of
waking dream? Had I been sleepwalking? My heart
started pounding with fear. It was never something
that had happened to me before and I felt I was
I took long
deep breaths before stepping out of bed and walking
over to the bedroom door. The footprints originated
from the open door of my apartment so it was clear
they were mine and I had in fact been outside during
clock suddenly started ringing causing me to
practically jump out of my skin. I hurried over to it
and switched it off then sat in silence trying to
make sense of what had happened. It was clearly the
stress of debt that had gotten to me and I was going
to have to lock my apartment door in future, placing
the key out of my own reach if that was possible.
I smiled to
myself as I recalled the events of the dream. Did I
really want to play with a stupid old dolls' house
that had been falling apart after so many years? I
only kept it out of nostalgia and as a reminder of my
father, but my childhood was behind me and I had the
future to think about. Playing with toys was the last
thing I wanted to do while up to my neck in debt.
out of the bedroom and onto the bathroom scrubbing my
bare feet with a strong urge to wash away the events
of the night hoping they would never repeat
4 - Cleaning
of the previous night were surely just a one off, I
thought to myself, but just to be on the safe side I
made sure to lock the apartment door and place the
key inside the fridge out of reach of my sleepwalking
body. I had already gotten into bed, soon after
returning home from work, and was readying myself for
a relaxing night. However, it didn't take very long
before I was fast asleep and thrown into yet another
was spinning around me while I tried my best to
remain upright, but it wasn't long before I took a
tumble and fell flat on my face against the wooden
floor. I started crying.
I called out.
here, I'm here!" I quickly replied before
hugging myself tightly and continuing to sob.
I fell over," I said between breaths.
worry I'm here now," I responded with comforting
words while stroking my own back.
clear that I and my own daughter were the same person
again, and I was experiencing yet another dream.
Glancing my eyes around to see where we were it
appeared that the walls of the building we occupied
were made of wood, causing me to feel relief that we
weren't outside where someone could witness my
sleepwalking body. However I couldn't fathom as to
where we could possibly be within my own apartment.
sniffed and stood up before wiping her nose against
the sleeve of my nightdress, or was it her own
nightdress, it was confusing.
okay now mummy," she said in a most odd monotone
glad you're okay," I responded.
around the wooden room and up at the ceiling. There
were spider webs in the corners as well as stains of
mould. My daughter's expression appeared confused as
though she was just as puzzled as to our location as
shouldn't be like this," she said, "This
used to be a beautiful place full of happiness and
laughter. Why does it look like this?"
glancing my eyes around the wooden walls trying to
gauge where we were. A strong smell of dampness
filled the air.
know where we are," I replied hoping that she
may offer some clue.
is our happy home," my daughter quickly
responded in a sudden change to a cheery tone of
voice, "And it looks like it's in much need of a
brightly before taking hold of me and dancing around
with merriment and laughter. I couldn't help but join
in and laugh alongside.
needs more than a spring clean," I said happily
between chuckles, "It needs total renovation,
and could do with some wallpaper too, and carpets,
not to mention furniture."
can do all that," my daughter said as we danced.
flash a broom magically appeared within my hand while
sparkles of light hovered around its bristles. I
started sweeping the wooden floor while my daughter
whistled a happy tune.
get this place spruce and shipshape in no time,"
surprised at how fast I had swept the floor, it felt
as though I had taken no more than two sweeps of the
broom to rid the entire floor of dust. My pleasure
exploded in a cry of joy causing my daughter to stop
whistling and join in with a cheer of happiness.
She screamed out.
I looked up
at the spider webs in the corners of the room. The
broom handle was long and it would prove no problem
to simply brush them away as I had done with the dust
on the floor so I raised the broom and began brushing.
continued to whistle a happy tune, as she had done
before, while I made good progress brushing the webs
from all the corners of the room.
de dum, de dum," I sang alongside the sounds of
my daughter's whistling.
have been at least five seconds before I noticed the
whistling had stopped causing me to desist my happy
song. Something was clearly wrong so I lowered the
broom and turned around.
absolutely still mummy," my daughter said slowly
with a very serious tone of voice, "Do not move
It took me
a moment to see it but from within the corner of my
eye I saw the creepy movement of eight legs shambling
across the wall. My heart pounded as I very gradually
turned my head and faced the huge spider. I was at
least twice the size of my head. For a few moments
both I and the spider stared at one another waiting
for one of us to react. It then ran towards me.
In a flash
I was awake and found myself to be standing in the
garden shed, wearing nothing but my nightdress, while
leaning over my old dolls' house. The only light came
from a small flickering candle that lit the inside of
the house revealing a very small money spider.
Instinctively, in order to protect my daughter, I
squished the spider with my finger.
5 - DIY
remains of the spider were still there, and all the
more clearer, when I suddenly re-entered the dream.
The blood, guts and entrails were spread over the
wooden floor causing me to drop to my knees and pant
heavily while trying my best to force back my urge to
I was doing
well and with each deep breath I felt much better,
but as soon as my daughter joined me, sharing my body,
she lost all control and puked all over the clean
I'm so sorry mummy," she said before letting out
another spurt of projectile vomit.
I had to
wait for her to stop before I could respond.
okay," I said calmly, "I'll clear it up, as
well as the spider's remains. It'll be fine."
you mummy," she said.
I stood up
and wiped my chin. Suddenly a bucket of warm water
and a mop miraculously appeared beside me. I
immediately started cleaning the floor filling the
air with the scent of lemon bleach.
de, dum de dum," I started to sing putting my
daughter at ease who immediately responded by
something niggling in the back of my mind that I
wanted to ask my daughter but I wasn't sure if she
would know the answer anyway. There was something
different to the dream I was currently having than
the last one. I was sure the dolls' house felt cooler
than before as though it was a colder night. Also the
spider's insides were fairly dry, causing me some
fair effort as I mopped them up, making me suspicious
as to how much time had actually passed since I had
killed it. Was this really another waking dream
taking place directly after the previous or was this
in fact another day? I couldn't tell. If it was the
following night then why had I forgotten the events
of my day?
My daughter called out.
dear," I replied while still mopping the floor.
thinking too much please," she said calmly.
I turned to
face her, which made no sense because of our shared
body, then smiled brightly. She responded in the same
sweetie," I said.
looked up at the ceiling causing me to do the same
just in case there was another spider on the prowl.
Luckily she wasn't looking for that reason.
think the ceiling would look good in white," she
said while slowly stroking her chin, "And maybe
the walls could have striped wallpaper."
I agree," I said, "And a nice fluffy brown
you have anything we can use?" My daughter asked.
gazing my eyes around the wooden walls and ceiling
whilst in thought. I clearly didn't have the money to
purchase anything new so we were going to have to
make do with what I already had.
I said, "I think there may be an old tin of
white paint with a little left over still in it. I'm
not sure about a brush though so we may have to apply
it using a different method. As for paper I have
plenty and we can use felt tip pens to paint on the
shot down my spine as I grew increasingly excited at
the thought of decorating the dolls' house. It was
like I was reliving my childhood again.
had a happy grin upon her face.
can we start?" She asked.
there's no time like the present," I replied as
I clicked my fingers and woke myself up.
myself to be standing inside the garden shed once
more leaning over the tatty old dolls' house in the
middle of the night. For a moment I half expected my
daughter to still be standing there looking up at me,
but knew that wasn't possible.
candlelight to see I retrieved one of the half empty
tins of paint from the shelf and prised it open using
a screwdriver. I then wondered how to apply it, I was
going to need some tissues from my apartment.
but my nightdress I left the garden shed with the
intention of retrieving the tissues as well as some
sheets of paper and felt tip pens, however it was
then that I noticed the snow upon the lawn as I
trampled across it in my bare feet. It certainly hadn't
been cold enough for snow and my suspicions increased
as to how long I had been within my waking dream.
6 - A Very Fine House
music filled the air as me and my daughter danced
with happiness. Joy filled our hearts while our
smiles shared our feelings. It was the happiest
moment of my entire life and I wished it would never
to have taken next to no time to decorate the entire
dolls' house restoring it to its original glory and I
was sure my father would have been proud if he had
seen it. We had even created furniture out of odds
and ends I found laying around my apartment. The
centre of the dolls' house adorned a large dining
table with two chairs either side, made of a cotton
reel, two matchboxes and a lid from a tub of butter.
We had even created a staircase, from a piece of
cardboard, leading up to another floor above.
house was finally complete with the only thing amiss
being the dolls themselves. But they weren't really
necessary due to myself and my daughter taking on
that role ourselves.
the best mummy in the whole world," my daughter
said with joy, "You really do love me."
do love you," I said while resting my palm
against the centre of my chest, "With all my
heart and soul."
gazed her eyes around at the wonderful spectacle of
the beautifully decorated house. The soft brown
carpet had been torn from the front doormat of my
apartment trimmed down with scissors.
no need to fear the future," my daughter said
calmly, "You have proved your worth and can now
get on with your life."
dancing and stared at her.
want to stay and live here with you," I said.
worry," she said, "I'll always be here
whenever you need me. You can now get on with your
real life knowing that this place is here whenever
you feel down or need to have some fun. You can even
share this dollhouse with your real daughter one day."
still need you!" I pleaded with my daughter
wanting to stay for a least a while longer.
six years are up and you're out of debt," she
said as she approached me.
how?" I asked.
She put her
arms around me and whispered goodbye. I awoke to find
myself in the garden shed hugging myself while birds
sang outside on a bright summer morning and the
memories of my real life came flooding back.