The Dream


Rachel woke up with a start. The storm had gathered force and there was a lone window banging somewhere. The wind whooshed around the turrets and through the crevices in the ancient stone walls. The walls were crumbling in places and she could sometimes hear loose stones rattling down the sides of the huge castle. She could hear voices when she walked along the passages of the magnificent house. It was just such a night when she had first dreamt of her new house, this castle. Her wealthy suitor was surprised to have her hand so fast in marriage. So, here she was, a few months later, in the historic, rambling house with an army of servants at her beck and call. And now she had dreamt of a pool of blood.
She didn’t even flinch as she heard the blood curdling scream.

Word Count: 143. This story is in response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a photo prompt challenge, hosted by Priceless Joy.

Manderley, my dream house.

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

Thus begins “Rebecca”, the 1930s novel by English author Daphne du Maurier. I chanced upon this book when I was still in school. Not exactly the book for an impressionable teenager, as it deals with adultery, snobbery and the murder of a woman by her husband. But what helped was that I was socially gauche, physically conscious and awkward and emotionally vulnerable. This was exactly what the protagonist was, or shall I say the narrator? For the book revolved around Rebecca, the dead first wife of the man she was married to. Rebecca cast a shadow on every aspect of her life; even when her life could have been magnificent and fulfilling.

But magnificence was reserved for Manderley, the iconic house in the English countryside; now the home of the impoverished and orphaned narrator. She married a wealthy widower, Maxim de Winter and moved to Manderley. The house is described in such vivid detail, right from the first glimpse at the end of a sweeping driveway, to its sweeping gardens, the woods and finally the creek and the rolling sea.

Manderley became the stuff of my dreams. And an ideal house in my waking life. In every house I lived in subsequently I looked for some aspect of that sweeping mansion. A corner, a patch of garden, a wall, the crushed cushions in the living room, the scones at the ritualistic tea times. I tried to live out my dream house in all living spaces.

Years after Mrs. de Winter leaves Manderley, for it is destroyed by arson at the hands of Mrs. Danvers, the loyal housekeeper of Rebecca; she dreams of Manderley and its sweeping grounds. Her dreams may have fallen silent by now but not mine, for I shall continue to carry Manderley in my heart and soul till my ashes are scattered in the wind. Then too, I imagine, some of them would mingle with Manderley’s ashes.

The book ‘Rebecca‘ was not about the mysterious woman Rebecca but an ode to the beautiful mansion of Manderley.

Lost and Found: Part 3

I have thought a lot about how losses and gains are part of the package. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. For every little thing you lose, you gain something. Two sides of a coin. A glass of water-half full or half empty. Yin and yang. Opposites attract.

I have found that even when you gain, you may be reminded of your loss. And you should know when it is time to let go.

She was the most important person in my life when I was a child. At school, when I joined, she would watch me from the sidelines. She was shy and loved to be in the shadows. I was bold and confident and gained my classmates and teacher’s admiration very quickly. She tried to get in my circle of friends. Then we discovered we lived in the same neighbourhood.

So, we would meet after school. Get our homework done. Cycle around the park. As years flew by and we breezed through tests, exams, grades, we became inseparable. People mistook us for being sisters. We did everything together.

Adolescence deepened the bond. We shared so much. Thoughts, feelings, muddled emotions, crushes, books, eating quirks, our choice of scooters, possessions. No, not dreams. Because each of us had our own. Basically, we were as different as chalk and cheese and maybe that attracted us to each other.

I moved cities. We stayed in touch through letters and occasional phone calls. We chose different careers. We married. And then we got busy with our respective lives.

Last year, I visited her town unexpectedly. I called her and we promised to meet. We did. I was greying, with a stricter hairstyle and conservative clothes. She remarked on that. So, I had changed. Outwardly. And she? I never did find out. I had thought about this reunion so many times in the past few years. Geographically, we were apart but I yearned to have the same closeness. I wanted to have the assurance of having someone around who knew everything about me.

I did not find out about what she was now because she was too busy with her present and planning her future. I sensed I could no longer be part of her life. So, I withdrew gracefully. So that I could cherish the shared times of our childhood as ours alone. I did not want that dreamlike existence to be sullied in the harsh light of reality.

I know now the meaning of letting go and finding peace in my heart.

Read Lost and Found: Part 1

Read Lost and Found: Part 2