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February 16, 2011

I open my eyes. His concerned expression startles me for a moment, then I realise I must have been crying again.
“Are you ok?” he asks, his quiet voice already soothing me. I nod and wipe the tears that have rolled over my temples and settled in my ears. He presses his lips to my forehead. “you sure?” he pulls back and looks me in the eyes as new tears bud from them. The residual grief left behind by my dream merges with the guilt I feel at having woken him this way yet again.

Recollections of my dream flicker through my mind like stills from a film. Images of blood, pain and torture, genocide and execution. I had been walking through a dying world cast in sepia tones filled with nothing but dust and rubble, and I was powerless to help. There was blue sky on the horizon, I tried to run towards it, but it was always out of reach. 

“How long has it been this time?” I ask

“About a month I think” he says, pretending not to know exactly when it was that I last woke us both, shuddering with convulsive tears. And trying not to remember when my last attack of night terrors had the neighbours calling the police at 3 am, thinking I was being murdered or attacked .

“Oh,” I say, my voice almost under control, but not quite ” It’s getting better then” I smile weakly at him. Kindly, he laughs a little.

“Do you want to tell me about it?” he asks, I shake my head. No. No I don’t want to fill his head with the  images of horror from mine.

“Then do you want to hear about a dream I had?” 

“Sure” I say, after all he always seemed to have good dreams. His arm slips under my neck and he pulls me closer to him, his chin over my head. I rest my forehead against his chest and close my eyes.

“Sometimes in my dreams I can fly” he begins “do you ever fly in your dreams?”

“Not really” I reply “I used to have dreams where I tried to fly, but I would push off and then just sort of float a bit, then bump along the ground. Sometimes I would start to float away but then I would get scared and end up falling and getting stuck in a tree or on top of a house or something” 

“Well in this dream I found  that I could fly as fast and as high and as far as I wanted. I could run across rooftops and over mountains if I chose to, I didn’t even have to stay on Earth, I could fly to other planets if I wanted. The place in the dream wasn’t really like Earth though, things were different. Nothing was the normal shape or colour. The buildings and trees and all of the landscapes were alive, animated and bursting with vivid, vibrant colours. Hills were bright pink, grass was electric blue, trees were golden and waterfalls were purple, and I found I could change them to any colour I liked. All of the houses and offices and towers were made of  neon. They all leaned the wrong way and the windows weren’t square, or any regular shape at all.” He paused for a moment, his hand stroking over my stomach  and down to my hip. My skin tingled slightly and I move against his hand.

“That sounds wonderful” I sigh and stretch “To be able to go anywhere, do anything you like. I wish my dreams were all like that”

“Yes it does sound great doesn’t it? But this world wasn’t right. The people down on the ground, the flowers, the art and the music, all of the things which are usually colourful were in grayscale, or muted, pale and dull.  Also, I wasn’t the only one who could fly, so I was quite unremarkable in that respect. The others who were like me simply flew around changing the shapes and colours of things.  The grey people constructed the buildings, planted the trees, grew the flowers and food crops. They were the ones that made things. The flyers didn’t have to do any of that, they just did as they pleased, but  they never really spoke to each other. They all looked sad, and simply passed by each other without acknowledgement. I didn’t like being around them so I went looking for some of the grey people. I flew into a play park. There everyone was smiling and laughing and having fun together. Children ran and played and the adults held hands, or hugged and kissed each other as they watched over them.”

“So you went to spend time with them?” I asked

“Well I tried to, the problem was I couldn’t land. I couldn’t get any lower than the tree tops, so I just had to sit up there and watch them. Then I noticed something else, the people flying above were casting their shadows onto the ground, and the grey people were dodging them. They made it into a sort of game. When they weren’t in the shade from a building or a tree or something, they were running from them and laughing as they dodged them. Then I found out why they did it. Whenever a grey person came into contact with a flyers shadow, they became one of them. They filled with colour and floated up above the trees, leaving behind all those that they loved. Then I saw you” He paused and looked at me his expression unfathomable.

“I was in your dream? Was I a flyer or a grey person?”

” Yes you were there, you were a grey person. You were standing on top of a building that had just been finished, you were looking down over the edge of the rooftop and waving to someone who you knew below, though I don’t know who that was. Suddenly you slipped and started to fall, you were screaming. I flew towards you as fast as I could. But then I stopped myself. I wanted to catch you, but I knew that if I did you would fill with colour and start to fly. I didn’t know what to do, should I save you from falling but subject you to an emotionless life without love, passion or experience, or should I let you fall?”

“What did you do?”

 “I watched”

“You just watched me fall?” I ask, unfairly incredulous even though I knew this was not a reality.

“Well I knew that this was beyond my control, that I couldn’t help without causing you grief and pain” He pulls me closer to him. “And I’m glad that I didn’t, because as you fell you started to grow wings. They were small and didn’t work very well but they were enough to stop you from hitting the ground too hard. After, even though you were injured, you got up and walked back into the building, back up to the roof and jumped off again”

“I did?”

“Yes, you did it a few times, and every time you did it your wings grew larger and stronger until eventually you learned to land safely” 

“What happened next?” I ask

“I don’t know, that was when I woke up”

“Perhaps I learned to use my wings to fly” I say, planting a kiss on his shoulder.

“Yes” He says softly “I strongly suspect you did”  He lifts my chin until I am looking him in the eyes, then kisses me on the mouth. His lips welcome and warm pressing gently onto mine, stirring me inside.

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