Last night, I had a dream.
No, I wasn't walking along the beach with the Lord
Or walking in a desert called Cyberland
I was living in an apartment with a bunch of strange people. Matt was there, but in the dream, he was my brother. I had my own room, a small but cozy place, with a closet, three laundry baskets of clean clothes that needed to be put away (that part's true to life!), my computer, and various personal items like stuffed animals and picture frames.
But it wasn't my home, and these people were strange. I thought of myself like Elizabeth Smart or those girls just rescued in Cleveland: I thought I'd been kidnapped, and was being forced to stay in this apartment. And though I saw them as the enemy, the man and woman who owned the apartment were relatively nice, not abusive or anything, and I could roam the apartment freely, hanging out in the kitchen with my "captors" and people who were visiting. I had contact with my mom and even saw her once. I was even allowed to leave the apartment on occasion, so my sense of captivity was confusing.
I wasn't exactly being held forcibly, but I still knew I wasn't allowed to move out, and that they would be upset if they knew how much I wanted to get away. I thought about calling the police, but wasn't sure what I would say. I didn't even tell my mom how much I wanted to leave, because I felt she couldn't help me. I was extremely unhappy. Restless. Agitated to leave this place. Anyone I felt was an "ally" within the apartment, like Matt, I talked to about my plans for escape. I had a sense that he had more freedom than I did, and was treated better, even though I wasn't being treated badly either. He seemed to share that understanding, but we didn't identify why.
I started packing my essentials as stealthily as I could, knowing if I had to go quickly, there was only so much I could take. I prepared the whole room for moving, for some reason, even rolling up the carpet. My female captor came into the room while I was plotting this escape, and I acted as normal as I could, lying and saying that some of the things in boxes were gifts I planned to give. After a few minutes, I looked around and saw how obvious my packing had been, and knew that she was just pretending not to notice.
Sometimes, dreams make sense while you're dreaming them and then seem bizarre when you wake up and try to describe it to someone else. A house looks like your great aunt's house, but your dreaming self "knows" it is your home. A person looks like a celebrity, but your dreaming self "knows" it to be your spouse. In this dream, however, I felt very confused and didn't understand what was happening to me.
Only when I woke up was it clear as day.
I was in foster care.
Not kidnapped, not held hostage, not even confined to the house. I had more than a reasonable amount of privacy and freedom, and was safe from harm and danger—but that didn't make it home, and the restlessness of that fact was a heavy burden on my heart.