j’ai rêvé que

ma chambre brûle

Story by Eddy Vivier Murangwa

Painting by Eddy Vivier Murangwa

one day, while rummaging in the attic, i came across a metal travel suitcase. Looks like an army crate. I found a gold mine inside. Old photos of my family. My father with his mustache and his James Dean style motorcycle and my mother with her girlfriends look like the Motown record covers. I love finding old photos.

I keep on looking at the photos of my mother and us in the Congo, with my brothers and cousins, uncles… until I come across a slightly burnt photo.

At this very moment, I enter in a vortex and find myself in Congo, in a room. I still have my consciousness, but I find myself in the body of a baby, lying on the bed. I observe the room and don’t understand what I’m doing there… I don’t know if it’s a memory or a feeling, or if I’ve traveled in time; because I really feel like I’m there.

For a moment I notice that the people around me are agitated, and I see on the wall behind me, a portrait. It’s a photo of my mother, burned on one side, because the fire is invading the wall and the whole room. I see the fire approaching me, and someone pulls me out of bed with force. It is with the same force and the same movement that I came back to this attic, with this same photo of my mother in my hands.

I remain shocked for a few moments because I don’t feel at all that it was just a memory, I just felt with all my body and my senses an event that has already happened. I was there! It was more than a memory.

I had no access to this event before seeing this photo. A few days later I spoke to my uncle about it, and he was speechless because he told me that it was impossible for me to remember, as a baby.

I don’t know if time travel are possible, but I experienced something quite special. It is possible to relive things that have disappeared, and to come back from them with another perspective or to accept it so that the body does not hide them to protect us from handeling them. I was not not aware of this event, however, it was inside me, so surely it had an implication in my reactions, my life, my choices… I had a second chance to relive it face to face and maybe give a chance to understand why it happened.

Around 15 years later, I dreamed that my aunt called me and asked me to follow her inside a big house. I ask her where we are going, but she doesn’t want to answer me. we finally arrive in front of a room .. and I recognize it. it was the room that burned down. All the walls were black and the bed completely burned, but we recognized the scene well. She asks me to look very carefully at this room. I tell her ok

She repeats strongly: No! watch more carefully. stare at this room! I said ok ok… and I stay looking at this room, for quite a long time, until I start to cry.

I wake up suddenly and I continue to cry without being able to stop. Liters seem to escape from me. until I stopped crying and realized that I had to paint this moment.

Without waiting I then took a paper, brushes and colors. and recreate this room, burned, and putting all the emotions that i had on the moment. Then I went back to bed. and I slept like a baby.

My mother died from cancer maybe a year or two before i found that old photo in the attic.

I don’t know what this dream means, but I really wonder if time exists and if the events that happen to us are they symbolized like in dreams? as if reality is also a dream, where time is relative, and where events mean something deeper in us, a mirror of our soul.

I thank my dreams for making me account for my emotions, and thank life for making me grow up, projecting maybe exactly what i am or need to be.

Story by Eddy Vivier Murangwa