Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Dream of Life

It's all real.

The first kiss. The radial tear on the cheek of your consciousness. Scents of remembrance.

I check the scar near my tailbone. Still there.

When I was in high school, I had a dream. In the dream, there were a number of compelling images and concepts that were tantalizing, but the one that was most lasting was the experience of not being able to wake up.

I fought with this recurringly. Much like I fight with my editor over and over, within each sentence. But I eventually turned the experience into a story. I did so with the help of my high school English teacher.

It's interesting how as you wake up and get farther and farther away from a dream, even one so memorable and life changing as the one I had then and the one I had last night, or just minutes ago, the glossy, inspiring truth of it all sifts lightly away.

I reworked that story several times, adding plot details and moral dilemmas. My teacher, Mrs. Collup, challenged me to go farther and do more. The parts of the story added up in the end to make a very intense, powerful work. The part that I had captured from the dream was essential to the success of the story, and provided the suspense engine to drive the reader through the plot.

I had a dream mere minutes ago that spanned a lifetime. It dealt with my life; it dealt with my death. The message seemed to be "Live your life." Simple, yet complicated.

I awoke reluctantly, as if wanting more. As if all the answers I needed wrapped up in a colorful tale complete with intrigue and fanfare was not enough.

I'm a changed man. I feel different. After I awoke, I walked quietly through the darkened house, to the back door. I unlocked it and stepped outside. It was quiet, although I lightly sensed in the distance the sound of singing. There was an orange glow to the night. Not much rustling but a rat at 2:45 am. I stood and breathed it in; digested it. Felt the flourish of the nutrients in the air and in time.

What an amazing dream. Fear and loathing with balloons and applause from the back of a sedan.

I remember less and less as time creeps by, but my life is changed. This is a purposeful life. This is a good life. This is my only life. One life to live.

In the final part of the dream, I'm facing sure death, as the others in the car have assembled my treatment, but it isn't working. My doctor is there, as well as another woman and one of my best friends in the world. They're all sitting in the front bench seat of the sedan or taxi cab, I'm not sure which. Then I remember that I'm supposed to administer the medicine through my tracheotomy instead of my mouth. The percentages of chemicals that I need to keep living are reached, and the smoke that I'm breathing changes color from a dull gray to a festive green. Jon Miller of the San Francisco Giants and ESPN provides play-by-play, ending with "...and the ball game is over!" There are balloons and a stadium's worth of applause. Smiles abound.

Fade to black.


Tracey M. said...

Wow. Very deep and thought provoking. It sounds like you got a healthy dose of clarity. I have been searching for this clarity, myself. How does one get there?

Melpre said...

I love this piece. Love your writing, Michael. Hope Tahoe was a good time.

Mel said...

Somehow my name became Melpre- catchy, huh?