Dermot’s eyes gently opened and closed as he slowly awoke in the light bathed bedroom of his Mum and Dads terrace house. 23 Finchley Road. The white ceiling with the rose centre cornice and the coving gave way to his rally car wallpaper. He smiled inwardly as he imagined one day being able to drive his own rally car on the dirt brown country roads of his imagination. He turned on his side taking in the Superman single duvet set that he had asked for, and received for Christmas that year. He glanced at the wind up round two bell clock face reading 7.23 in the morning. He hated the ringing bells that would sound in another seven minutes if he didn’t deactivate the alarm. He had always woken before the alarm but normally with only a couple of minutes to spare. This morning he had risen early, at 7.23, an unnerving feeling began to grow in the pit of his stomach. He began to feel light headed as though he had stood too quickly. Dermot’s vision narrowed as he squinted at the big hand on the round clock face. It seemed to be stuck on 23. His legs buckled and collapsed slowly to the thread bare floor with a gentle thud.
Dermot was dreaming of another time. The name Eimar drifted into his consciousness and then became more than a name. Features morphed out of the blackness of his dream like state, cold but gentle eyes that conveyed a sense of love and caring, intimacy. The healthy almost motherly glow of her cheeks when they had shared a bottle of wine and the cares of the world could never touch them. A relationship, memories of moments shared, arguments had and sex!
From the floor Dermot reached up from the floor to silence the bells ringing pervasively into his head.
The light entering his bedroom dimmed as a cloud past over head blocking the sun and the memories of his dream faded within the same moment. He pulled himself up from the floor and looked the clock. It read 7.30. Dermot knew he needed to get ready for school.
‘Come on Son’ his Mother called up from the kitchen.
‘It’s not like you to sleep in, especially on your birthday’.
Ofcourse. Today he would be thirteen. Officially a teenager and on the road to becoming a grown up. The thought ‘grown up’ stirred an odd feeling in his mind, like he’d been there before and it wasn’t all that great. He headed to the bathroom across the landing and caught the whiff of a fried breakfast. His Mother always made a special cooked breakfast on his Dads birthday and now as a teenager he was glad to be getting his first. It would set him up nicely for what was sure to be a big day.
You ok, Son? His Mother shouted up, ‘I heard a bang up there’.
‘Yeah, I just fell out of bed’ He lied, not wanting to try and explain what he thought he might have dreamt about.
After the cards and the breakfast Dermot quickly gathered his school bag having checked what homework he should have done the night before. He kissed his Mum goodbye and stepped out of the front door into more brilliant morning sunshine. He turned to pull the door shut, as he did so the brass door knocker glinted in the sun blinding him for a split second before his vision returned and settled on the brass house number tacked onto the door frame. 23. The back of his head began to throb in the warm heat from the morning sun and once again his vision narrowed, his breath growing short. This time he bent into a crouch and would not allow himself to pass out. He hung on and the moment passed.