I see blue and white tile on the corner entrance to a stone building; the tile is European, Delft and carefully crafted. A bell rings and a door closes heavily; I am inside the shop. Beneath my feet a wooden floor creaks announcing every shifted movement over the planks. I hear everything. Looking through simple quarter pane glass windows I view narrow cobblestone streets. Children play...running and laughing.
I release the ecru handmade lace curtains and turn my view inside the shop. Women and men whisper and speak in muffled tones. Above my head running the length of the room on dark beams hang copper pots, cups and some brassware. Their sheen and color are warm and inviting. Near the window, fragrant in the warm sunshine are dried bundles of Artemisia occupy large vases, gathered recently from my nearby garden. In neatly folded stacks and bolts, fabric yardage softens another corner of the space. Their colors are predominantly dark, their weight heavy as befits the cooler season in this place.
Most of the room is taken up with oaken bins. Within them are small ceramic figures of animals, birds and people from oceans away. The figurines bear variations of blues, greens, whites and golden or russet tones. I run my hands over the edges of the bins; they are hard but smooth from touching and usefulness. Other bins lie filled with brightly embroidered handmade tea towels. I straighten them and know them as fine linen. I reach into my pocket to feel the inside. It is soft, comfortable and reassuringly well-worn...like flannel.
Near me is a tiny hall leading to another room. It is a living area - one of two; the other is not visible. I walk to the hallway and glance down at a miniature oval bucket made of wood. I notice that I am wearing an apron of cream-colored cloth over a heavy blue gray skirt and a cream colored cap. I kneel near the tub and begin to fill it slowly by hand with a large wooden dipper from a previously singing copper kettle. The water has finally cooled and is now perfectly warm. Still, I check it. Once...twice...three times nervously. I want to make sure it is all right and that it is safe.
Suddenly, from the back room I hear a young child's voice. "Momma! Momma! Momma!" The pitch and sound sear through me. The shreek is haunting...completely mesmerizing... impossible to forget. This is clearly part of my mind and part of me. Still kneeling, I reach out and sweep the floor in front of me with my hands and arms as I creep forward. I long to gather him into my arms. It is too familiar. Thoughts fill my mind with terror, "I cannot find the baby! Oh, my God! It is happening again and I cannot find the baby!" I try again, frantically...riveted to the sound of the child's screams echoing loudly, "Momma! Momma! Momma!"
Overwhelming fear, dread and remorse wash over me; I am crushed beneath the weight of it. I can neither move nor look. I ache to hear his voice, but cannot bear to look in order to find him. My eyes will not open. I am paralyzed by agonizing terror, torn between listening for what I love and looking at something I cannot stand to see.A mist falls. The dream recurs, more slowly now. I breathe into it, trying to see more this time. There is something here for me... something I am supposed to know...something I am supposed to have learned...something I must remember...something to use again...something to carry on.
© 2010 Rebecca Ann Pelley All Rights Reserved