The story of a dream, by Jenny Pederson:
Some dreams stay forever; this one keeps hunting me. Tonight it has returned once more.
Cobbled streets, dimly lit by gaslight, empty of people save for me and the Pride. Magnificent animals, but terrifying. Houses with doors locked against me. Alleyways twisting, turning, each one leads me to a dead end. The Pride closing in, softly padding toward me. I scream nothing but silence. Then with no warning I’m lifted by unseen hands, that lift me gently skyward.
Below me the Pride are roaring, angry. Tonight they will have to go hungry. Laughing at their dismay I fly high over the rooftops to the sky above where there is light, beautiful starlight. I fly without a care, for no one can hurt me here.
Faceless shadows appear around me, delicate, weblike, and take my hands. Ethereal ladders appear for me to climb, and as my feet take their first steps upon them, I follow where shadows take me.
Excitement builds, then great sadness bringing tears on and on I go, ladder to ladder, each one revealing a familiar face long passed from my world, and greatly missed. When will this end?
Now stars are becoming brighter, shadows are breaking away. “ Wait don’t leave me.” The sound of laughter lingers, as each one darts away, and I’m left alone. It’s too much! Take me back. But then in the distance I see her, her arms outstretched as she draws nearer, then she’s in my arms and the moment we have waited for is finally here. “Mama?”
We cling together. Cheated of the life we should have shared together. Finally I see her face! Reaching out to touch her cheek. I cherish the feel of her skin: warm, young, and beautiful. She is my Sara, I pray we will be able to speak, there is so much I need to know.
Far below, the Pride are stalking me again.
Further added thoughts on self doubts
“I have always been scared of doing things wrong. (Good old school.) So to be part of the Necklace of Stars, is wonderful but at the same time terrifying. Someone once said (in fun) — “You are small and insignificant.” I laughed it off at the time, but it’s not how it really felt when you have anxiety, depression etc. I started to write down how that had made me feel – and opened a floodgate of thoughts and words, I found a different part of me, one I didn’t know was there at all. Now after many years of self doubt, I actually like the person I have become. I still make mistakes and dwell too much on the past, but my writing helps. I really hope you give it a try, there’s nothing to be scared of. You may surprise yourself, just like I did…”
A Necklace of Stars, working with older people in Derbyshire, is supported by Arts Council England, Arts Derbyshire, DCC Public Health and Derbyshire County Council Home Library Service. This project is particularly aimed at countering isolation; during the pandemic we’ve been working using distance methods – post and phone conversations.