In was in these very hills soon after I came to this place that I had a vivid dream.
After climbing steep hill, I was led through a large courtyard painted white, up some stairs and through tall, heavy wooden doors into what seemed like another world.
Inside, tall thin arches covered with long drapes in rich fabric wafted slightly in the breeze. The hall – for that’s what is was – had drapes hanging everywhere, so that the precise size of the room could not be discerned. One could not see the walls themselves.
There was a large rectangular table at one end with people seated around: Arabs, Africans, men, women, all in grand attire. In the centre, a heavy round table, covered with a cloth. In the corners of the room were large brocade cushions piled high. People were dressed in long robes, and cloth headdresses studded with jewels and reclining, comfortably talking, and drinking out of jewel encrusted goblets.
As I entered, wearing a plain purple robe and leather sandals, but no other adornment, an imposing woman stood up.
She had the most magnificent robe of all. Deep purple, with swirls of bright blue, and gold brocade on a matching outer cloak. It complemented her dark brown complexion perfectly, and set off her bright eyes with a power I had seldom seen in a woman.
As she rose, so too did everyone else. She approach me slowly , with the dignity befitting her office.
She said, “So, you have come”.
I stood tall, bolt upright and held her gaze, “Yes, I have”.
She took her time and circled around me, at about two metres distant, inspecting me, it seems. The hall was quiet, but not unsympathetic.
I stood motionless and looked straight ahead. When she had come full circle she faced me once again. Raising her chin ever so slightly, as those of authority do, she said in a deep, resonant voice, “Welcome!”
With that she handed me the gold goblet in her hand. I raised it in a toast to her, with my head bowed for a moment, and then drank my first sip. I felt as if I had come home.
(This was the first dream I had, very soon after emigrating to Portugal.)
©2019 Allison Wright
[366 words. I cheated again: total time 12 minutes + 2 minutes for editing.]