I wake up because the sun is shining on my face; I roll on to my side and peer at the alarm clock. Sigh. It’s two hours till my alarm goes off. There’s no point trying to go back to sleep so I jump out of bed and into the shower. Even though the rays have warmed me up, I turn up the hot water till I think I can smell my flesh cooking. And then I turn it off. I go to the sink to brush my teeth. There’s a note on the mirror: “Walk the dog”
I have a dog?
As if on cue, I hear a loud bark, it sounds like a really big dog. I dress up in skinny jeans and a white t-shirt. I run my fingers through my damp hair and then stroll out the bedroom. There is a pair of trainers outside the kitchen entrance. I pull them on over my bare feet and continue inside. The bark that greets me reverberates throughout my body. I stumble and have to grab on to the island to keep from falling.
The dog bows his head, at least I think it’s a he, and whines softly. He inches forward and licks my face. It is a feeling I remember. I laugh. I like it. I wrap my arms around his neck and bury my face in his fur. A tear runs down my cheek. He is such a big dog!
Sitting down, his head comes up to my chest. He is wider than I am. I can’t tell what breed he is. He looks like he’s many breeds put together; I see Alaskan malamute, German shepherd, and some Doberman. He is huge! He’s tethered to a chair and I untie him. The sound from his wagging tail can be compared to a helicopter taking off. When I get to the door, I don’t know what to do or where to go; nothing looks familiar. He walks forward till he’s run out of leash and then sits down and turns to me. He is waiting.
I walk out and lock the door. He begins to walk forward slowly, ever so often turning around to make sure I’m following. I keep up. I walk close to him. We walk down the street, and then around the block. The newspaper boy, the koko seller, the waakye seller and the seamstress all smile and wave at me. I don’t remember knowing them, but I manage a crooked uncertain smile anyway.
We come back to the house and I lock us in. We plop down in front of the telly and the news is on. After a while I’m waking up, I don’t remember falling asleep. I walk to my bedroom and lay down in the bed. I’m tired. I fall asleep. My alarm wakes me. I roll to the other side of the bed and there’s a note stuck to the pillow: “Feed the dog.”
I have a dog?
I get out of bed and walk out of the room. Sure enough there’s a huge dog in front of the kitchen entrance, wagging a very heavy tail. He doesn’t look dangerous. I walk forward cautiously anyway. He lets out a loud bark and stands up. I take a step back; he comes up to my waist. He licks my hands and nuzzles my palms. It is a feeling I remember. I like it. I smile. I wrap both my arms around his neck and bury my face in his fur. A tear runs down my cheek.
There’s a huge dish on the island with the name Bartholomew printed in large bone designs. I smile and turn to him.
“Bartholomew” I say.
His ears perk up and he wags his tail with more vigor. I look around and see a cabinet labeled: Bartholomew’s Feast. I laugh, open it and take out a can labeled: Savory beef and potatoes.
“Yum” I say to him.
I think he smiles up at me. There’s a can opener next to his bowl. I set his food next to him and sit with my hand moving through his fur while he eats. I hear keys rattling, and then a key turns in the lock. I stiffen. Bartholomew licks my hand as if to calm me, and then goes back to his food. I stand up and walk to the kitchen entrance.
A tall, well-built, mocha-coloured young man enters. I grip the can opener tight in my hands and stand where I am. He’s carrying a grocery bag. He looks at me; his eyes travel to the can opener in my hand. He smiles and takes a step forward.
“Hello mum, ‘you alright?” his lips move, sounding out his words in an English accent.
Mum? He’s my son?
Well he does look a lot like me… but I’m too young to have such a grown up son; he must be at least thirty years old! And I’m only twenty-five.
“Are you from the future?” I ask. My hand shoots up to cover my mouth and my eyebrows are raised in surprise.
Why do I speak with an English accent as well?
He walks up to me, hugs me with his free hand and gives me a kiss on the cheek. “No Mum, I’m not from the future,” He walks past me into the kitchen.
I turn to face him, still gripping the can opener tightly in my hand. That’s when I see it, my reflection in the glossy fridge. My midnight black dreadlocks have all gone grey. I’ve got wrinkles around my eyes and mouth.
Who am I?