*If you would like to accompany this piece with music,  press play on the Soundcloud player.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/73883718″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

We suffer, have suffered and will continue to suffer, this is an existential truth. Some of us, if not all, often turn to fantasy to escape a situation we find hard to accept. Those of us who have been bullied, re-enact scenes in our minds of being victor instead of victim; those of us who are lonely, imagine being whisked away in arms of a lover; those of us who are a poor, picture being king for day, so on and so forth. In this story, Ashley Foy, a young writer, tells us what it’s like to have this all too human experience of dreaming of greener pastures.


I dreamed my home was full. Mom and dad were in the kitchen singing along to the radio and burning the toast again. I made my way downstairs and watched them peacefully. He took her hand and spun her until she playfully fought him off with the threat of pouring coffee down his shirt. My sister ran to me, telling me all about the boy at school who teased her. Her hair was in long braids and she braided my hair before mom served us breakfast. She was precise, yet gentle, the way only young girls can be with the art form of braiding. Our older brother came in and caught the apple dad threw at him. He invited us to his baseball game that afternoon, and we were excited to go. The music played on as we ate together in our cozy home.


existential dream


I dreamed my big brother saved me from getting bullied. There were girls at school who thought I deserved to be treated like I was nothing. My brother saw them isolating me and ignoring me when I spoke to them. They pretended there was no more room at their table, even though I knew they’d spread out their backpacks to take up space. Then my brother walked over. They giggled and played sweet, until he told them all to go to hell. He invited me to sit with his friends, and they were all so kind to me I felt better again. As I laughed with them, I remembered that I mattered.

I was twelve when I dreamed these things.

They were beautiful.

None of them were true.

existential dream

When I opened my eyes, my dad was still gone. My mom was still in bed in the dark with the blinds drawn tight. The house was silent. I was still an only child with no one to play with. My heart ached as I realized no one was singing, or making breakfast, or waiting for me to come downstairs. The floors squeaked as I walked down the hallway. I brushed my hair roughly in the bathroom and tied it in a bun. I knew I wouldn’t get a seat at lunch again, because I was nothing to the girls at school. That part was still real. So I brought a book with me and went to leave the house.

Then, my mom chased after me.

She held out a bagged lunch she’d made for me. She’d even put the cinnamon cookies I liked in it. I smiled at her and realized she loved me. She told me she was going to talk to the teachers that week about the girls at school. She’d listened? I started to cry, because I did matter to someone. She took my hand and asked me if I wanted to stay home from school, just this once.

As we sat on the couch in our pyjamas watching a stupid movie I asked if she would braid my hair. She did a horrible job and we laughed as it fell apart. This weekend, she promised, we could go to the beach. Dad had called and said he would come with us. Even though I wasn’t living in a dream, I had hope again. An often elusive, delicate hope. But I had it now, and that was enough.


By Ashley Foy // featuring art from by Jennifer Lauren 



Ashley Foy

“To BE means to never give up. On ourselves, on the future, or on each other. Keep trying, keep hoping, and keep writing!”