Watch Keeper


Change is constant. Is it the reality of life. It is the driving force of life, yet crucial in maintaining a homeostatic system that allows us to have some sense of continuity in order to find meaning in life as we continue to evolve and grow.

The other night I had a dream that retold my anxieties in motion picture. It happened the night before my brother left home to move to another city to study at university. For months, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I must now slowly surrender some of my responsibilities as an older sister. I take my responsibilities seriously, but this one is a responsibility that came as a gift that I’d wished and prayed for since as long as I could speak.

One of my earliest memories is of me following my mother from the living room to the kitchen and telling her that I wanted a brother. I must have been about 3 and a half, or nearly 4 years old. I remember that was all I really wanted. I really wanted a brother.

And I remember my thoughts about the matter. I would never think “if I ever have a brother…”. It would always be “when my brother is born…” or “when I have a brother…”. I was certain that he would exist at some point. I was certain that I would not be an only child forever, and I wouldn’t have a sister, but I would have that brother I longed for.

I don’t know why I wanted a brother in particular, but I guess your soul just knows who’s missing, and you spend your life searching until you find them.

When he was still a newborn, I remember I’d woken up to the sounds of him crying in my parent’s room. I don’t know what it was about his cry, or that night, or the circumstances, but I vowed to protect him and take care of with all that I could. I was about 6 years old. I feel that is a lot of responsibility for a 6 year old to assume in a self-appointed role. Perhaps, in that moment, I realised how small and vulnerable he was.,

As I got older I remained true to my vows. It didn’t matter how much he would anger me – I would recite them to myself until they became woven in with my DNA. Perhaps they were already part of my DNA and expressed themselves in my thoughts.

The older I became, the more responsibility I assumed, and the more vows I took in front of The Most High. There are no contracts more binding that the ones you draw up voluntarily…

That dream I had the other night showed him leave into the night. I guess it was night because you cannot see far into the night. Visibility is low, and so is the ability to predict what else surrounds you. As he walked into the night, I remember turning to my mother and asking why she was letting him leave. She said, “If he wants to go, let him”. I spent that night, in my dream, awake and waiting for him to come back. Every one else was sleeping, but I remained watchful for his return. As we drew further into the night, the more anxious my prayers became. “He’s my brother”, I remember telling the night, to remind it that it could not claim him because he was already spoken for. “I asked for him,” I cried. Finally, morning came, and with it my brother returned with the daylight. He came back a change man – a man. Before him I could literally see the March of Progress / Ages of Man. I could see his infant form before his boyhood form, before his teenage form, and his evolution through manhood and further into old age. I saw it all before me, and at first I was puzzled and examined each form, and the wrinkles that eventually etched themselves onto his face.

I don’t remember exactly how the dream ended, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since then. It was a manifestation of my fears of not being able to be there if he needed me; Not being able to foresee his needs before they occurred. It’s difficult to assume responsibility when you are no longer sure of what you are responsible for. He is becoming a man, and he must take on the responsibility of being responsible for himself. And sometimes, the guardian must take on a new role and become the watch keeper..



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