"I'm afraid to sleep because I'm afraid to dream." from the play "Who Will Carry the Word?" by Charlotte Delbo

I知 afraid to sleep because I知 afraid to dream. Night is more frightening than day, because at night, as soon as I fall asleep, I知 alone. During the day, I talk. Gina and Francoise or someone answers. At night, in my dreams, no one answers. I知 always alone and I知 afraid. While I知 falling asleep, I already know what I will dream. I知 afraid. If we致e carried bricks during the day, I carry bricks and they are colder against my breasts, heavier to my hands than during the day. Frozen bricks. In our house, Mother used to give us a warm brick in the winter to heat our bed. I burnt my sheet once. There was a smell of burning in the bed. Mother scolded me. At night, the bricks are covered with ice, ice which cuts even more deeply than during the day, and the skin on the inside of my hands is burnt by the ice. I still carry bricks, on an interminable road, and the bricks are heavier and heavier, colder and colder. During the day, while carrying the bricks, we chat. Gina tells us about the great restaurants she used to eat with her husband and her friends. She would put on a dinner dress. A dinner dress! black, with just one jewel. She must have been so elegant, dressed up with her hair done. Francoise tells us about her trips. At night, there are just the bricks. And when it痴 not the bricks, it痴 the dogs. I try to make detours. I cheat. I figure out how to get away from the dogs, but they leap far and in one single jump cover the entire distance I致e succedded in putting between them and me. They throw themselves on me葉hey池e enormous dogs. And I feel their warm and repugnant breath, their panting on my face. I am petrified with fear. It痴 impossible to escape from those dirty beasts. Their breath on my cheek is so strong it awakens me and then I understand it痴 the breathing of Renee or Agnes. I reassure myself and tell myself I have to go back to sleep; otherwise I won稚 make it through the next day. But I知 afraid. I知 afraid that this time it値l be the mud. The black mud, sticky and icy when the ice melts as the day progresses and the swamp turns into muck. A lake of mire that extends as far as the other end of the horizon. I swirl in the mud, I go in deeper and deeper and I can稚 get hold anywhere; there痴 nothing to hold onto. I知 afraid I have it in my mouth. I want to cry out for help. I hold myself back. I close my mouth tightly because the mud is at level with my lips. I知 too scared; I scream. The mud goes down my throat through my mouth and my nostrils, fills my stomach with a stinking gurgling and suffocates me. Probably I really screamed. My neighbor shakes me awake. The most atrocious dream is the one where I come home. I come in through the kitchen. My mother is doing dishes or she is ironing. I come close: 溺other, it痴 me! You see, I致e come back. Oh, Mother! I still don稚 believe it. I was so afraid that I wouldn稚 come back. But it痴 true. This time, it痴 true. Mother doesn稚 turn her head towards me. 的t was hard, you know, Mother. She continues her washing or her ironing. She doesn稚 hear me. She doesn稚 turn towards me. 溺other, it痴 me. Your Mounette. If you knew, Mother, how many times I dreamt I was coming back! But this time it痴 true, it痴 true, it痴 true because I am touching you, I知 touching your hand. Your hand is a little rough預 little hard遥ou should wear gloves when you do dishes. Happiness flows through me to the tips of my fingers. I feel warm and sweet all over and I awake with Renee痴 or Agnes hand in mine. It痴 the dream that frightens me the most. At night, you池e afraid. In the morning, you want to die.

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