I slide into the living room and close the door behind me. Like clockwork, I step into my slippers waiting on the floor, remove my tie and sink into the armchair. The television stares back at me from the other side of the room, gleaming as if recently polished. Most of the things in here are gleaming. The window-panes, the fireplace, the old piano. They all sparkle in a conspiratorial manner, attempting to distract me from the fact that actually, the telly is never on, the fireplace hasn’t been lit in months and the lid of the piano is always shut. I wish there was a bit of dust around here sometimes. Something to show the mark of time, the mark of life. It’s like a showroom – perfect but empty, and I’m just part of the display.
Chimes. Gentle chimes roll in waves from the edges of a world confined to blackness. Lilting and harmonious, the music drifts through the bars surrounding me, covering me and comforting me and lifting my face upwards like it did before in a half-remembered dream.
Coloured birds are flying brightly in the dark above, moving in graceful circles. Round and round they soar, silent and beautiful in their simple outlines.
And though their path is marked and unchanging, predestined and cyclical, their flight is one of possibility and potential. Because every night, no matter how high I stretch my arms, they dance beyond my reach.
They are infinite.
The other day I read that all memories of a time before the age of five are constructed. Fiction. Perhaps my parents told me about the musical mobile, or I remember it hanging above the cot of one of my younger siblings. Perhaps it was a dream. All I know is this: when I hear that lullaby, I can see soft shapes gliding above me. I can feel a burgeoning sense of wonder that whispers of things half-understood, hazy and hopeful. And I know that somewhere deep down, real or imagined, that child filled with awe is still reaching up towards something she’ll never fully comprehend.