Dreaming of a previous life


A few weeks ago, I dreamt of Portsmouth. It is somewhere I spent a lot of time as a child, with my family living there and my grandparents a short walk from Portchester Castle.

In my dream though, it wasn't the Portsmouth I knew and remembered. I don't know the era it was supposed to be, with no memory of defining features.  The streets were vibrant and bright, bustling with people and children. I was walking along the seafront which was also busy, with people walking and crowding around to watch different things taking place on the water's edge and performers on the promenade. Initially, I was walking with two unknown people and then along.  I had walked along the beach from a hotel that was set back from the funfair, as I remember it, backing on to the busy port. The sea was sparkling as the light bounced off the waves and the waves were picking up with a light breeze, gently lapping against the shoreline.  

Although I was alone, I felt content. At peace. 

As I walked along, I found small piers of differing sizes. Busy with people clambering on and off boats, with others watching.  Standing around chatting and busying themselves. Looking out to sea, there were several little islands with vivid greenery, almost tropical-looking, shimmering between the waves.  

There was a large narrow inlet further down, to allow boats to come in and collect people.  It almost looked like a canal, with a path running alongside it, from the shoreline until the point boats rejoined the sea.  I followed the path down towards the sea, the wind picked up and there was no one else around because I was so far out.  It was quiet, with just the noise of the waves and seagulls and the odd boat going past. 

Despite the light breeze, it was warm.  The sun was so incredibly bright with shimmers of light bouncing and reflecting everywhere before suddenly the sky went dark over the sea. I was stood, watching seals come in at a small inlet, with people in front of me trying to fuss them when a rainstorm hit.  You know the type, heavy and intense. It seems to appear suddenly from nowhere.  Big fat drops of rain, soaking me through and then stopping, just as quickly as it had started.  

There was so much to explore. I sat on the sea wall looking out at the islands and boats, wanting to explore more.  I felt calm and peaceful, without a care in the world. 

And then I awoke, feeling more than a little disappointed that the dream had ended and I hadn't had the opportunity to explore further.  I felt inexplicably emotional, as though I was going to cry and yet I couldn't explain why.  

As time has gone on, this dream has remained vivid in my mind with mixed emotions attached to it.  Even now, weeks on, it remains vivid and I can't help but wonder what it was about this dream that has held it in so firmly in my memory.  Is it my childhood attachment to the city? Is it my way of remembering it as a time of innocence with fun memories surrounded by family that I am no longer, by choice, connected to?   

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