Tripper’s Dream

Are you awake? Don’t worry, I’m coming for you.

Your footsteps frighten me. The sky is my blanket tonight. And all along, I envisioned something entirely different. This corporal shift into some unknown ether. What is it that you want?

I am at peace; entertained by these transient and therapeutic settings. My eyes merrily feast upon the sights and sounds and sensations in the air around me. Shadows zip by, brushing along the windows like swarms of colourless insects as we travel through the streets. Subtle flashes of sunlight glisten upon metallic edges, highlights of strange faces and corners, blinding me slightly. I watch as the world goes by on a shimmering locomotive, so quickened yet so fluid, softly panning around, over and under. All is silent save for the wondrous thoughts I hear gently frolicking outside with neither sense of time nor existence. Quiet passing. Lost in these gentle moments of mine.

Eyes widen slowly. The eerie shriek fades into the distance. Escape this trance again.

Flames engulfed the room. Fire was everywhere and I gazed, wide-eyed, as everything began to burn to a crisp. These flames were beyond ordinary, though. These flames were slow. Slow and like liquid. They were almost elegant in motion. They weaved and swayed like tall grass blades would bend to the wind in a gold and crimson meadow. It was truly stunning. I felt the heat against my flesh. I gasped as the fiery sheets waved against my body but… I did not burn.

Did they die?

I arose that morning to a dismal ceiling – cold and without character. I promised myself to place something artful along its plain someday but have yet to fulfil that promise.

Seeing you again, in my dreams, brings warmth to my heart once more. I feel some sense of attraction towards you that which I never have before with any other person nor thing. You bring me to realise that my life may not be devoid of purpose and activity after all. Though I am greeted with feelings of playfulness when your visage enters my thoughts, I, too, feel the repressed fear and torment of your enigma. And, then, I am overcome with rage for that hellish figure; the antagonist of your adversities. I am filled with a hatred and vengeful yearning I have never known before.

What? What are you saying? You must be crazy if you think that will work. Oh, yes, I do. I do trust you. But I am afraid.

Such a grand expanse, this world. Little wonder that I feel at ease in my bed more than ever in this vast playground. Still, I enjoy my frequent ventures to the outside, inhaling all its life and vivacity. And, when I’m not bathing in its vivid displays, I am sinking into its lucid entrance, losing all grasp of reality and succumbing to its peace.

They, like me, are living and alive in his dreams. Night after night, he recalls their memory and reanimates their effigies. He brings them to life within his heart and mind and gleefully plays the role of loving father and husband once more. And he adores them and cares for them as though they had never abandoned him. Is that not but true devotion?

To return to the world of the awakened is to return to loneliness and regret.

Stepping outside – to feel the ground beneath my feet is to slice the wings from a dove. No matter. I am only a visitor here. I am not permanent.

You see me, don’t you? I know you can, I can feel it, I know it. How did you get here? Why? Why are you here?

When I lay down once more to return to my realm – my own little playground – I always know I’ll return here eventually. I am bound to this place, unwillingly, of course. I am bound and I must adhere to its demands. I must thrive within its limits and I must play by its rules. I am inferior to it. I am a slave. But I can escape it. And I do. But not forever.

No one speaks to me. Not here, anyway. Perhaps, to them, I am only an illusion. Or maybe I simply blend into their backgrounds and am no more than a prop on their proverbial stage. Or, moreover, perhaps it is only customary in this place to pay ignorance to those around you of no affiliation. Though, admittedly, I ought to take more time to discover new things myself. Discovering new people, new places. New sights and sounds. I may visit them sometime. I may visit and dance through their heads and experience the warmth of their skin and the caress of their fingers.

I do not speak. But I dream. I am a dreamer. Living and alive in my slumber.

Watching you paint these grandiose and magical new scenes and memories with your tender, lucent brushstrokes, dripping with blurry embers and trailing sparks, I am filled with fascination.

Approaching the counter, I needn’t say a word, still. I don’t like to speak in this realm. I find it to be a hindrance to the rhythms of my existence. Clearly, this world and its residents can communicate without the need for such false, gaudy and inaccurate expression. Instead, I motion to the waitress with no more than a small gesture. And I receive my lemon danish.

Your dreams – your creations – are astounding and captivating. I admired the endless ways in which you brought life to a child’s lost thoughts, fantasy to an old man’s tired remorse and newfound beauty to an overworked businesswoman. You bedazzled me. I had to experience you.

The cries. The twilight shriek of agony. Yes, I have heard your cries. I mistook them for nightmares or some external intrusion but now, I am intrigued, though your footsteps frighten me. Why do you call for me? What is it that you want? I will follow you.

I depart for home. Travelling through the atoms of this lush vignette, I gather portraits along the way and paint them into memory, hoping to pay them visit tonight. I entertain myself with the dreams of others.

Did we die?

I understand now. I know why you face such torment. Here, you can see, still you can find no escape. You cannot relieve yourself of his clutches. He has trapped you within both worlds. I must rescue you, I simply must. Such a beautiful, nurturing person should never be faced with such treachery and abuse. To take you into his home and to marry himself to your trust, only to betray you with words and acts of such vile nature is to descend oneself into the depths of utter darkness.

And it is in the darkness where he belongs.

I saw you there, sitting in the distance, smiling at me. Watching as I watched. Breathing as I was. I knew you were real, though I had not seen your face before. Why were you here? Do you know of this once beloved figure? Do you know of his despair?

I sat, motionless, as we continued to watch them play, tracking dirt along their knees and calves, screaming in delight. And then, you spoke to me.

So here we are, you and I. My feet no longer touch the ground. No, I am grounded no more. Not even by the world of the awakened. There has been an incomprehensible lateral shift. Everything is jilted. The people, the trees, the buildings all possess a ghostly double essence that blurs and animates with slight fluctuation; and I, a virgin to this alien realm, now walk as though aided by a pair of invisible stilts. I hover above this old world, seeing everything at a new perspective. Everything is permeable and open. From this height, I can play witness to the dreams, the fears and the afterthoughts of everyone below. I am free-floating. I am invading. I am unbound. Forever.

This… this was a strange altered state of being. I often wondered what shape my afterlife would take and all along, I envisioned something entirely different. No, this is something unexpected. This corporal shift into some unknown ether. Though it was unfamiliar and new, it was clear. It made sense. It made sense in an oddly exciting way. I am no longer a ghost in this city; I am alive. I am here and I am alive and I am free. I wanted to experience everything. Everything I never took the chance to. New places. New people. New sights and sounds.

I found you.

That night, as with every other night, I dreamed. I dreamed and I lived, for I am living and alive in my slumber. I dreamed of a man. A man and his family – his beloved family – and I was there as he played with his two little girls, prancing about in their bright summer gowns. And so, we laid there, together, on the cold, hard floor, taking in our final breaths. I was there, sitting amongst them and watched them pomp and play. I offered one final glance at her, watching as she adjusted herself and slowly closed her blind eyes. I turned to face the ceiling and smiled softly. I sat in on his dreams, as I do with so many others. But his are some of my favourites. I shut my eyes. His artful visions are both uplifting and saddening. Gently clenching her hand in mine, we both began to drift from inexistence and into our new reality – our new world. He possesses such emotion, such adoration. I was scared. I’m sure she was, too. Not only could I see it but I felt it in his heart.

I continued to watch them. I caught a small scent of the gas tickling my nostrils. Such happiness in his expression and love in his arms as he twirled them around in their wide, open and grassy backyard. He smiled at me. Soon enough, I was drifting. It was difficult to hold on but I did. I did for her, as she did for me. I returned his smile. What was to happen to us? What was to happen to this world? His wife giggled and chirped with delight as he chased them through and around the gardens of their suburban home. I knew this was the end but, ultimately, it was truly a new beginning. He smiled at me and, in that instant, I knew just how much he missed them. The beginning of what, I hadn’t the smallest thought.

I opened my eyes.

This is his reality now. This is where he belongs, to him. And I see so many fantasise every night and daydream through the hours of better tomorrows and unforgettable yesterdays that will forever live on in their memories; their souls. That is their reality. They are living and alive in those moments – those fleeting moments that they grant eternal life. The world may keep on turning and the sun may rise and set but the light they cast within their hearts is undying and timeless. And no one needs to know. And no one needs to understand. For it is their life, their playground that they’ve crafted for themselves and themselves alone. And in their sleep, their quiet slumber, everything is alright.

Are you awake? It doesn’t matter. Everything’s alright now. I’m here.


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