I had a dream last night…
It was a dream of warm january nights up on the plateau in Cameroon. The kind of dream where you wake up out of your sleep somewhere back in time.
I was sleeping in my room in our house in Allat (Allat, Altiine, Salaasa, Alarba, Alhaamiisa, Jumbaare). It could have been anytime. The cool wind comes up from the creek at the bottom of the hill by the Saare Salaam and it blows through the house. I could taste the wind coming in through the window above my head. There was pine tree and eucalyptus and the lingering flavor of red dust coming down from the Sahara.
In the village the silence is deafening. Crickets, cicadas, feral cats, and the distant braying of donkeys bringing down the diesel barrels on their backs… winding down the footpaths from Taraba State. But after that… nothing. It’s a warm silence that is as high as the stars shining above.
In my dream I was wearing my wrapper/pagne and a hoodie… no shoes because when you go for a walk in the dark you need your feet to feel the ground. The ground underneath is packed clay that is somehow red even in the dark. There’s a thick level of fine dust covering it that makes small *poofs* with each step. As I walk my hands brush the flamboyant tree, the big blooming one in front of our house.
The moon is before me, huge and yellow – maybe it’s the end of Ramadan. The shape of every shadow is familiar to me: the hospital, the church, the radio antenna silhouetted in front of the lone florescent light. Ahead is the soccer field, it’s open space vaguely threatening in the dark. Just out of reach are the walking shadows, swinging kerosene lanterns in hand.
well then I woke up to noise of police sirens on 82nd and Glisan at 4 in the morning. The rain that hasn’t stopped for days is freezing and I can hear the wind. Thank goodness for blankets.