The dream

He was sitting in front of the window staring through the glass-like every other day during the last 9 months. Birds were flying in and out of the garden, occasionally landing on the grass in search of food. There were trees of all types around the garden with branches spreading in every direction.

He had a vague memory of himself climbing these trees but was not sure about anything anymore. He knew the grass looked familiar but was not remembering playing in it chasing the birds around. Maybe it was all a dream. Maybe he dreamt about it all one day when he was napping in front of the window. Still, he knew something was missing. “Was my life always so boring?” he thought to himself. “What else is there to this life apart from sleeping and eating?”

It was long since he had given up trying to escape. He was not even sure if he wanted to go out anymore. He had a feeling, a very strange one; one between curiosity and fear. Part of him wanted to answer the call of the garden and go out, yet he was scared.

In the beginning, he used to pace around the living room in anger, going from window to window begging for someone to open them. Back then he had a clear memory of all the games he used to play outside. Before long he had forgotten them, and his anger had given way to frustration. The same feeling that still returns once in a while, especially in the evenings when the heat is gone. At that time, as the sun goes down, the shadows grow into chimerical shapes, giving the garden an air of mystery, just the way he likes it. Everything looks bigger. Even the grass looks longer. There are thousands of places to hide and hundreds of things to hunt. He usually imagines himself walking on the wall or jumping from the tree to the other side of it. Oh the wall. What could be behind it? If he could just take a glance. There were so many different smells coming from the window. There must be so many things to do out there he thought to himself, and he would not be bored anymore. This was when he knew that his life was not supposed to be like this and the feeling of frustration returned.

Last time he ran away it had been so terrifying that he had barely made it beyond the gate. The lady, in whose house he was in captivity, had been standing by the open door. He had seized the opportunity to leap through it instinctively, not having time to hesitate an instant, running in-between her feet. He could hear her running after him, and that was pushing him to run further. He was already regretting his escape and was not sure of where to go. Nothing looked safe around. It had been a big mistake. He needed his territory. Trusting his instinct he had found his way back to the door, and had stood there crying until someone opened it. He had stayed inside ever since.

At times someone would play with him in the house. Those were good days. He loved it when a kind soul would drag a string around the room. It was a lot of fun trying to catch it, but pleasures like this were short-lived relative to his endless days. Recently, this had been particularly true, as the house stood empty for most of the day. His only company had been a little butterfly flying around the lamp in the evenings.

And then one day everything changed. He was sleeping on the couch when everyone came back. They were all talking loudly, rushing through the house and arranging things around it. There was also a little crying baby. God knows how much he hated kids and their squeaky voices. They were too loud and moved too fast. He had sneaked around the different rooms trying to find out what was going on. Everyone was too busy to notice him. Even though he was hungry he didn’t dare ask for food. He didn’t need any attention right now and it was better not to be seen. A few hours later everything was calm again. Apparently someone had remembered him because he could hear his name being called from the kitchen. When he was called like

this it usually meant it was time to eat but little did he know that a big surprise was awaiting him. The garden door was wide open. He could go out if he wanted but did he want to? He hesitated for some seconds then got a bit closer to the door. There was now nothing between him and his freedom apart from fear. He squatted on his feet at the door frame smelling the air. After staying in that position for a minute he started to take small steps towards the garden continuously smelling anything that came in the way. It was not long before he found himself in the garden. Everything rushed back to his memory as soon as he started walking in the grass. First with slow steps and then faster and faster as he found himself in a familiar environment. As the grass was whizzing past him he realized that this had never been a dream. Everything was crystal clear now. He had been here. He used to play in the grass every day chasing the birds in the morning and the lizards at night. He started jumping over the flowers and rolling on the floor thinking he would never go back inside. This was his life. This was where he belonged and has always belonged. His eyes were shinning of happiness and satisfaction. He wanted to inhale all the adventures he had missed in the last months at once to catch up with life. He could run with his fastest speed and no one could ever catch him. There was no reason for him to go back. Was there?