There's a baby crawling towards the jagged hole in the upper story floorboards, like a scene from a movie rolling in slow motion through the water of my mind, and I spring forward to catch the child, but it's too late, it falls through the hole and falls three floors to its death. I stare down at its broken body, waves of horror and nausea washing over me. This baby was my mother's, and it had been entrusted to me. I had allowed something to happen that I could never get away from. I knew that I was as good as dead. A girl walked into the room where I was crying, and said "Where's the baby?" and at that moment a wonderful clarity came over me, and I knew I was dreaming. "There is no baby!" I said, and then passed out of that dream into another.
Now I was looking at a man's body, bones broken, at the bottom of the deep, long staircase, where we had pushed him to his death. The air smelled musty and cool,
heavy with memories from my school days, and around the corner was the tiny room, hidden
in an alcove, where we played chess on Wednesday afternoons. It was a time without threat.
Now we had murdered this man, and it was as if his blood became a tide washing over my mind, so that everything became dark and fluid, and the connections between my thoughts and my identity were lost. I passed through a weird series of identities and times:
I was a tantric monk receiving a blowjob from a beautiful Indian girl in a sari who cooed and chanted; a teenage rebel running across a busy road shouting at the cars; the devotee of an insane guru who urinated on my back during the arati; a spy and assassin sheltering terrified under an upright piano while the moon exploded in the sky.
When I returned, and my mind had been healed somehow, I was standing
in front of my girlfriend and my father. They were crying, and lookinng at me, and I held up my hands in incomprehension, looking at the deep lines on my palms while they explained what had happened. I'd been in a lunatic asylum for the last 20 years, after something terrible happened in my past, something my mind couldn't bear, and sent me into darkness to keep me alive.
The shock of all those lost years came upon me in that moment as I saw my own face, lined and full of sorrow and waste, and I looked at the people who loved me, and felt ashamed. But at the same time I felt free, like a soul coming out of purgatory. I'd gone as far down as you can go, and the sky was still blue and I was still loved, no matter how many years had gone by, or how undeserving I was.
I cried until I woke up.