Since the age of four, I have had a recurring dream
. It is nothing frightening
. Nothing happens, even. All it is is a place
I am waiting for something; a bus, I think. There is a long, straight road ahead of me. It is flanked by grassy verges on either side. On these verges are planted a few trees. Those ones with a long, thin, bare trunk and then a bulbous round of leaves at the top. Like something you'd find in a shopping mall alongside an artificial waterfall. There may also be an American flag flying nearby. The final detail is a small white hut, near to where I am standing.
This dream happens around once every month. You must understand that, after years of visiting it, I feel I know this place very well. I've sometimes visited it whilst awake, too, in a daydream.
A few years ago, I was returning from my holiday in Devon in the car with my mother and brother. I was navigating, but not terribly well. We were somewhere near Oxford, approaching a roundabout. Mum asked me which way we should go. I had no idea. "Left?", I said, totally at random. So we turned left.
As soon as we turned on to this road, I began to cry. To sob. An awesome wave of recognition, followed by one of intense fear washed over me. There were the trees, the hut, the grassy verges, the straight road. My mother pulled over. She was getting into a state, asking me why I was crying, seemingly inexplicably. I told her. We drove on, with me still in tears.
This was the scariest moment of my life. Imagine it. Imagine yourself in a dream place. Somewhere you know does not exist. Somewhere you invented for yourself.
A few days later, mum told me that there was a simple explanation for what had happened. I had been there, apparently, when I was three. We had been waiting for a bus. This would explain why I had dreamt about the place. However, I am not convinced. I think my mother may be trying to placate me. We live around 150 miles away from the place. Why would we have been waiting for a bus there? And why did she not tell me this as soon as I started crying?