• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 05
Image by

I wished I could wake up

The lion came in a dream, its breath hot on my face. All I could see was a soft muzzle and nostrils as dark and symmetrical as a picture in a Rorschach test. Was there something I had to work out? It seemed as if the beast was waiting. Not to speak words of wisdom like Aslan in Narnia. Not to bite my head off like the lion who ate Albert in the poem my grandfather used to recite. Not to gambol playfully with me, as if it was practicing a routine for a Youtube video. It just stayed close, without budging.

I wished I could wake up, record the dream in my journal and take it to my therapist.

'Be the Lion,' she'd say. 'Roar – show those claws. I know you're angry.'

The lion moved so its amber eyes were level with mine. Its pupils were huge, much bigger than a human's. Mesmerising. It was sizing me up. Still unafraid, I tried out-staring it, hoping it would slink away, leap through the window and attack the sheep and goats in the neighbour's small-holding instead of me.

The dream-version of my therapist chipped in.

'Interesting that you're prepared to let other creatures suffer instead of yourself,' she said. 'Your psyche summoned the beast. You can allow it to leave whenever you want.' She was a great believer in lucid dreaming.


I wished I could wake up

But the lion stayed put, closed its eyes lazily and rested a giant paw on my shoulder. It's fur was soft and warm against my body. I relaxed, but the therapist soon whispered in my ear.

'Of course, we know that flirting with danger gives you a thrill. May I remind you this is a full-grown male? It's not a cuddly toy. You're not a child.' Her voice was sharp. Her urgent tone unnerved me. It was then that my heart raced so fast I could scarcely breathe. What would happen if the lion went on the rampage in the house and found my husband who now slept in another room? What would happen if it stayed with me, wouldn't leave my bed?

'You've no idea what to do have you,' the therapist continued. 'And it's not my place to tell you.'

I wished I could wake up.