It's a recurring dream. Or rather, a recurring interruption of whatever it is I'm dreaming. A presence somewhere over my shoulder, a nuzzling on my neck. Like a horse, its hot, moist breath, the brush of its velvet lips. Except that the smell is not animal-like. It’s more like warm bread, nutmeg and bed linens. Then a stream of sound I can't make out – a radio frequency?
This happens almost every night for as long as I can remember. I've grown so used to it it doesn't occur to me to wonder what it means.
It takes me seventeen years to finally understand. It's a human voice, deep and lush, and it's saying something. It's words, and they are clear and eloquent, if somewhat redundant, like a mantra. And they are in English (I grew up in Mexico, so words in English can only mean one thing.)
You are the most precious, beautiful girl in the world, the voice is saying. There is nothing you can't do. You are a miracle. You are here against all odds. You are here for a reason. You are going to change the world.
The words begin to irritate me, because I'm so tired and they just keep coming. I feel exactly the way you do a few seconds before you gather the strength to finally reach out for the snooze button.
I tighten my eyes shut, crunch up my shoulder against my neck, hoping. It. Will. Go. Away.
It doesn't. The fourth "There is nothing - nothing - you can't do" finally does it. I'm now fully awake. I open my eyes and in the dark make out my mother's figure, kneeling on the floor in her nightgown, her elbows on the edge of my bed, her mouth grazing my ear. I roll back, alarmed.
"Mom!" I say, "What are you doing"?
"I didn't mean to wake you.” She says this kind of unapologetically. "I'm just whispering things in your ear."
Like this is perfectly logical.
"What kind of things? I mean, you woke me up! I was sleeping, mom!"
"I say things to you while you sleep so they will go directly into your subconscious." Her tone is clinical, like when a doctor says "I'm afraid this will require antibiotics." "I didn't mean to wake you. I guess I was talking a bit louder than I usually do".
"What do you mean 'usually'"?
"Go back to sleep, honey" she says and backs out of the room. "I'll see you tomorrow".