It may seem a cliché to say I remember that day like it was yesterday, but there is a reason for clichés: they hold truth. I was in a decrepit house situated in a small village that was too insignificant to even be considered in demographical statistics. It was the type of place where everyone knew everyone yet everyone was a stranger.
The memory is engrained into my psyche. It was a Sunday afternoon. The sky was clear but in the distance I could see a storm approaching. The evil moved rapidly and began to envelop the beauty. It was summer so storms were not unusual, but something about the approaching storm made me anxious. It was as if my animalistic instinctual nature had caused this response. It was a feeling of wanting to flee, like bucks and birds do when they sense an approaching tempest. I heard the fleeting sound of crows and the distant howling of jackals in the hills.
It was then that I saw the eye. The eye of the storm. It was huge. Swirling. I felt confused. I had never experienced such a storm, I had only heard about such occurrences. As the storm began I, as if by instinct, ran into the basement of the house. There was a small window in the basement where I was able to view the storm from just above ground level.
I saw a dark funnel punch its way through the clouds. A tornado. It touched down about one hundred meters from the house. I could hear the vicious howling of the wind. Trees were being ripped up, torn apart and discarded. Pieces of metal from surrounding structures became flying pieces shrapnel. A chuck hit the basement window startling me into a further panic. A diagonal crack stretched across the window. The whirlwind came closer and closer. I heard the roof of the old house rip off. I suddenly felt a strong force hit my body and then…
I woke up.
I was sweating. My heart was pounding. It was early morning. I realised it was all a dream. No, a nightmare. The thing which was most striking was my epiphany: I had awoken from one nightmare into the next. A nightmare much more real: reality.
I sat up in my bed and contemplated the nightmare. I found it unnervingly parallel to my own life. I remember a teacher once told me that the rich symbolism in dreams can be interpreted to tell you more about your subconscious mind. I realised the storm and the tornado that was in my pasture of life was all the hate that I had to endure in my life as a result of being different. This destructive tornado had destroyed many, torn lives apart and left remnants that needed to be rebuilt, often over many years. Just as the tornado is part of nature, so too is hate part of the human being, but that does not make it any less destructive.
At the beginning of the dream the sky was clear just as my life was and although I knew the storm of hate was inevitably going to happen, I still felt fearful. When the tornado hit, I tried to protect myself by going into the basement, the basement within my own life, a place of self-consciousness and withdrawal. My basement allowed only a small window from which to view the approaching hardship.
I got out of my bed and walked over to my bedroom window. The curtains were still drawn. As I opened them I saw the cloudy, grey, sombre sky. I was staring at the clouds when something beautiful happened. I saw a speck of blue emerging. The clouds were clearing, the storm of reject was passing.
As I walked away from the window and started to get ready for life, I realised that although I had been subjected to such hate and rejection over the years, I knew there would be a clear sky on the other side of the storm. I tied my shoelaces of faith, picked up my bag and walked out of the front door. The sunshine splashed over my smiling face. I stepped out into the world a braver, more confident man. The world was my oyster and I was the pearl.