I have a recurring dream. Now, recurring dreams are relatively common, with over half of the human population experiencing them at some time or other in their lives. Most of the time they are confusing, frightening, something to be avoided. Mine, however, is different.
My dream is hopeful. It starts with me standing in a darkened upstairs hallway, in front of a large white wooden door. I reach forward and open it, pushing lightly. It creak a little as it opens, and in front of me, sitting at a small desk in the corner of a large room which contains a high, comfortable looking bed covered with a floral duvet, is a woman, her back to me.
The desk is a cream coloured, spindly looking contraption and holds a laptop computer at which the woman is working, along with a row of hardback books. The chair almost, but not quite, matches. The furniture is old, clearly antique, and I love it.
The desk is set in front of a bay window but I cannot see what is outside. All I know is that it's sunny, and I can smell the summer. The room is a beautiful, high ceilinged bedroom and the windows are wooden framed. This is an old house. It is large, but not too grand. It is comfortable.
I begin to move towards the woman, desperate to see what she is doing, and to look out of the window. As I move forwards, I become the woman, merging into her, and I realise that she is an older me. Now I know what we are doing - we are writing. And the books on the desk are my books, at least five of them, maybe more, have been published, and I am working on a new one. We look out of the window then, and smile, watching a man and two children playing on a long lawn, sturdy trees guarding each side, the sun beaming down. There is laughter and a dog, a Border Collie, appears, bounding energetically as the man throws a ball for it. And there, on a patio that sites to one side, lying on a table in the sun, is my cat, old now, and dozing.
The man looks up and I see my husband. He taps his wrist and I roll my eyes, smiling. Yes, it's time to join them outside. I stand, and the dream ends.
When I awake from this dream I am happy. It's perfect. Is it a taste of my future? Well, that would be nice, and that's what I like to believe. Since I've had the dream more than once - it comes to me every three months or so, and has done for the past ten years now - it must mean something. Perhaps I am wishing for that life so hard that my subconscious is letting me life it, albeit only when I'm asleep.
Whatever the reason for it, I'm grateful. It keeps me writing. It keeps me trying. It's something for me to aim for. And it always makes me smile.