She turned her body to a side, gently moving her legs and arms and yet there was a constant feeling of uneasiness that overwhelmed her. At first she couldn’t figure out what was the origin of that anxiety, the sense of stillness that pervaded her whole body. ‘Was she still asleep? Was she still lingering in that world between dream and wakefulness?’
She could hear voices, loud sounds of merchants moving their goods, screaming at the top of their lungs to sell their products. She could smell the strong scent of spices; the tingling smell of mustard, the creamy scent of cinnamon, the mesmerizing aroma of coriander and dill. Her eyes were still closed and yet she was able to see: vivid images of colorful fabrics, the reds, the yellows, and cobalt blues. A beautiful scent emanating from massive bouquets of flowers intermingled with the sweet smell of colorful and exotic fruits. People were walking and running, chatting and yelling. ‘Was it still a dream? A reality summoned by her own imagination or images evoked by her own unconscious draw from all the documentaries that she usually watch after dinner?’
The people around her were busy doing their daily chores; cleaning, buying, selling. The women were dressed with long tunics or dresses, their hair were tied with a leather string or left loose falling over their shoulders. Some of them were picking pomegranates, lemons, oranges and dates from the fruit stalls, others were observing drapery with intricate designs. The whole market was a triumph of colors, it looked like a painting. She turned her back to the market and saw the vast extension of sand laying in front of her. Palms and date trees were offering refuge to those who started to feel the heat.
The sun was getting high in the sky, its warmth kissed everything within reach. Her whole body was burning. She was standing in the middle of the market, staring at everyone, hoping that someone would turn their eyes towards her and say something. ‘Were they able to see her?’ Curiosity was the only thing that allowed her not to panic. After all, if this was a dream then she would take advantage of the situation and explore whatever her psyche created. She walked along the main road until she reached the main square. At the center of it there was a fountain. Children were playing with water and yelling at each other with an energy typical of their age. It was then that she saw someone staring at her.
Those eyes were familiar and yet uncanny. The two women looked at each other for what felt an eternity. The market was getting animated, loud but they didn’t flinch. The mysterious girl was the one to make the first move. She took from her basket a garland of flowers from which she picked three flaming red poppies. With her eyes still fixed on the girl, she gave them to her and then walked away, disappearing in the crowd. As she was still wondering about their meeting a sudden darkness engulfed her.
She opened her eyes and found herself lying in her bed. She stared at the ceiling panicking, grasping for air until she sensed something else. There was someone in the room. Now wide open, her eyes inspected the whole room only to recognize the familiar objects of her bedroom. There was nothing to see and yet there was someone, something staring back at her. She slowly raised her body and walked toward a corner of the room. There was a mirror over there. She looked at it and found a pair of green eyes staring back at her. Long red curls were contouring the small oval face while the pale skin highlighted the woman’s emerald green eyes. That was the face of the woman who ‘saw’ her and that gave her the tree poppies at the market. ‘Was she still trapped in a dream?’
Her mind was blank and yet she was frantically looking for possible interpretations to what she was seeing. Suddenly, she heard the voice of a little girl coming from the mirror. The red-haired woman turned her head and with a big smile she picked the bunch of flowers offered to her. She quickly glanced back at her and disappeared. The mirror went back to reflect her face. In her left hand a red poppy.