Questions for Dream People

There are questions that even dream-people cannot answer. They are perfect human beings in your unconscious untainted world, you think, but it is only because they are silent. Even so, with their mystique they can change your mind or quicken the pace of your heart with a single glance, or slight you with a mere emotion. They need not even meet your gaze, for they are you, and you them, and you can feel what they feel because there is no separate persona with which you are interacting.

But you are easily convinced that they are real. I often am—there is one whom I meet; last night it was in an art gallery, and he stood before me, staring at a painting. His back was turned towards me and he wore a rough gray jacket made of a tweed-like fabric. Upon trying to touch his sleeve, though, upon drawing closer to him, it was disappointing to me that I might only be trying to approach a part of myself with which I rarely dealt. In real life, when you meet another entity you comply with, are repelled by, or fit into its presence like a curious pattern of puzzle pieces that you could not have possibly contrived yourself. In your dreams it is never that way. You can afford the luxury of brashness, of love without remorse, and it will be gone before you can recall, but even its memory soon grows dull, and boring.

When I touched his sleeve, he simply smiled at me, and I assumed that, as usual, he had nothing to say. I wanted to live for a moment inside his soul, for there is little time that we usually spend together. I had hoped to charm him with my talents and ask him the impossible questions, like ‘what are you to me, and I to you, and what do we become upon waking?’ and ‘to which side of this four-cornered universe do I really belong?’ but as he opened his mouth to speak, I found he had little knowledge of my innermost thoughts, for he was responding to another question that I had not even raised.

It was a trivial matter, and I could not understand its importance even in my sleep; in fact it annoyed me. He was supposed to know me, for I was him and he was me, and we were not real; he should have given me the word I so desperately wanted to hear so that I could have gone on believing this farce, this fancy that dream-people are so unlike their real counterparts. But he did not, and I could not, and I am left only to conclude that he is not me, and I am not him, and I could just as easily belong to the dreamscape as the real world, for there is little difference between them after all.


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