I have always felt confined within this body. Muscles, sinews and tendons have perpetually felt inferior. When I look at this body in the mirror, I see weakness, lack of definition and changing -room humiliation.
What if I was not bound by this molecular structure, this prison? My atoms are lifers. Carbon chains me.
I am on the roof of my house. The garden is monochrome. The black criss-cross of trees contrasts with the biological blue-white of snow. Without effort I leap and do not fall. I sweep low towards the rose garden, the cold air catching the back of my throat. I hear only white noise. Although swift and fast, I have control. My heart beat increases and is palpable. It confirms that I am still alive. I hurtle towards the flowerbed where I can see frost stains on the rose petals and mercury beads on the silvered spiders’ webs. I am compelled to touch, but as I reach out, I am thrown carelessly backwards, sucked into a vortex. My whole body is convulsing.
I have spent the majority of my adult life attempting to repeat that experience. I have endeavoured to learn how to control my dreams by keeping a dream diary for many years. Thus, at the point of wakening, I pick up my pen and begin to write feverishly before more banal thoughts enter my head or my bodily functions need attending to. Because of my devotion to this routine, I have been rewarded with extensive recall of my dreams. I have also developed the ability to transform nightmares into benign fantasies. This is most satisfactory. Through studying a lucid dream manual, I have gained a certain degree of control and can actually take myself back to the bungalow where I spent my childhood; however, I cannot progress beyond standing on the roof. This is extremely disappointing as I ache to fly.
My work brings me closer to others who unknowingly share my fascination. I work with the suicidal on nights as I find it hard to tolerate the noise and physical closeness the day drags in with it. ‘Tell me what happened,’ I demand. I absorb their stories and, paying particular attention to detail, I may ask them to repeat the moment when they decided to sever connections. I taste their words. I am quite still and focus beyond the patient who, crumpled, in the snot stained vinyl chair, is seated in front of me. I am present at the point of their decision, experiencing every stage in the sequence of events as it is told. As I listen, I have to consciously control my breathing to ensure that others are not aware of the crackle and licks of adrenalin that inch through this pathetic body of mine
There is a girlfriend. She is helpful and subservient; however, I despise her for being attracted to this body. Sexual contact confuses me as I am both repelled and turned on by her caresses. She has told me she loves me. She is glad we are settling down. She came to this conclusion as I decided to take an active part in planning our holidays together. Last year we went to Toronto, deliberately selected as it is the home of the CN tower, one of the world’s tallest buildings. Here I lay prostrate, like a floating Christ, straddling the glass-viewing platform at one thousand, one hundred and twenty two ecstatic feet. As I pressed myself forcefully into the glass, I could feel the cold from it transfer to the back of my throat as I inhaled. I have left the roof and soar towards the trees...
As the girlfriend pours over extreme travel brochures for the next holiday, I notice she is completely absorbed in her task. She thinks she knows me and is highlighting white water rafting holidays. How misguided. Our new flat is on the ninth floor of a converted warehouse. I move quietly and unnoticed onto the balcony. I regulate my breathing and wonder whether the wrought iron railings are sturdy enough to take my weight? If I half close my eyes, the cars below streak into red and white noise. I lean further forward until I find my centre of gravity. I loosen my grip and as I extend my arms and raise my legs, I surpass my expectations. Once again I experience sheer rapture.
Victoria Cole. is fifty one, married and lives in a lttle village in Devon, right on the edge of a cliff, over looking the Bristol Channel.
'I have been interested in writing since school, but working full time within the N.H.S. and previously as a counsellor has somewhat absorbed my creativity and time. I also love writing poetry and was commended in the Hippocrates Prize NHS category in 2011.'