Before there was all of this and things were hard. Before I moved through life tactically and knew about pressure.
There was a large, clunky dress-up trunk, at the back of the sun-soaked kindergarten room.
It had dents in it.
Dents made from my young teacher I now suppose.
As she pulled and pushed it to do something amazingly romantic perhaps – fleeing a Budapest bedsit in the middle of the night, where a lover slept soundly.
Catching a plane, then a train to a dusty country town for a new start. A chance to disappear into something other than herself. Resting it down gently, filled with old costumes, in the midst of my class-roomed world.
I remember the buttery warmth across the mostly brown room, like yesterday. The trunk itself was often covered with cushions and pillows and packed up tight, which made it always seem even more of a treasure trove; a mystical box that my little hands itched to dive into at all times. When all tasks were done and colours were kept in between lines, Miss Eveleigh gave me the nod I needed.
Silent indications that it was finally time for me to carefully – almost reverently, make my way to that box before anyone else thought twice about it.
A chance to disappear into something other than me.
Children around me picked up fireman hats and stethoscopes, teachers glasses and astronaut suits.
Maybe I should have to.
Instead, I reached like always for the thick, heavy faded wedding gown and fell into it. Dancing around in complete bliss.
I remember it was so scratchy on my skin and so billowy and so big, it was hard to walk in a straight line without stumbling over.
I always picked up a doll; my baby – and felt that was that; ambition recognised. The dress, the kid. I had it all. This was where things were going. Children around me pretending to be surgeons and pilots.
Perhaps I should have to.
Then maybe right now I would be able to breathe in. To not feel the weight of the pressure of a clock booming in my head. To not feel my next birthday approaching like a roaring jumbo jet inbound from Budapest. In the middle of the night, my body dented from pushing and pulling it all around to get where I need to be.
I am running out of time, I can feel myself drowning in layers and layers of white lace and billowy fabric, clutching on to imaginary babies for dear life.
To discover you only have a finite time to turn make-believe real; a hard punch to not fall down in a heap from. To realise it may not happen, makes me wish I never wanted it at all. In my head, I now have 2 years left. 2 years to find the treasure, the trunk and pull all I want from it.
What an unrealistic time frame I have managed to set myself.
What a time for wishing I could easily disappear into something other than this.
Why am I suddenly a 37-year-old pirate digging for treasure?