The dream began as a large beige bedsheet billowed out in front of me. I settled it on the floor and smoothed out the wrinkles, stacking pillows at one end, washcloths, a hot water bottle, towels, blankets and other supplies at the other, weighting the corners down with rocks and finally stepping back to admire my work. This makeshift bed was positioned on the back second-story porch and was open to the sun, the moon, the stars and the wind. At the moment, it was early morning, but in the balmy summer weather later tonight, a life would come into the world at this very spot.
My aunt was the one who would be laying on this bed - it was my duty to keep the rest of the children out of the way and to keep a supply of hot water for the bottle when the time came.
The time did come, eventually, at around nine that night. I boiled water and played boardgames with the kids until it was over, then we were permitted to file quietly onto the porch and taste the sweet night air while gazing upon the sleeping, starlit visage of the baby and the contentment and happiness of the mother.