Ivan always dreams the same dream. Already in his late twenties, he dreams every night of residing in a different city, a different place where he could evade running errands here. So miserably paid now, he cannot even afford renting a flat on his own. But dream is a nice dose of anesthetizer. Few hours of sleep grant him power, a sort of mysterious power to grow numb to all pain brought about by reality. In his world of fantasy, he was a narcissistic poet so much engrossed in his masterpieces. Sitting under a white birch and relishing the breeze caressing his unshaved face, he repeated several times what had just been composed:
flying wasps, beetles and butterflies
bypass a moment of silence
and burst open
a rupture of drunken pleasure
It was after all a dream too artistic, too intoxicating. Despite the raucous noise of the alarm clock, he is still in his dream fantasizing a girl resting also nearby sipping a cup of red tea bought just few minutes ago. Lunch time is now over. He has to resume to his work but this nearly chimeric dream moves upon. She looked unfamiliarly familiar to him. They might have never met but déjà-vu told him she was more than an intimate friend to him. She might have never told, he was sure, him her name but he called her readily Alice – the Alice who also dreams of seeing the rabbit scurrying to and fro, and the Alice who insists her dream is not a dream.
‘Beware Alice, it’s hot,” Ivan pointed at her cup of tea, looking wary.
She nodded, and he was rest assured. He had never had the slightest courage to confirm whether she was really called Alice, for he feared, she would disappear in his own utopia. His sensibility soon convinced his curiosity, ‘Who cares if it’s a dream or reality so long I enjoy my time with her?’ His superior drags him back to the office. Ivan notices that a stout man, possibly in his fifties, is looking squarely at him. His tantrum, Ivan can sense, is about to trigger a new war.
‘See what rubbish you have created! Don’t wrongly think that you are an elite just because you are a graduate from overseas. To me, fresh graduates like you are all alike – decadent, delirious and derisory! When any of you finally know how useless you are, you blame nobody but the government, and go on with meaningless protests…’ Ivan understands well that he is going to make a harangue however boring and senseless to him. But Ivan has no intention to retort. Reality is always a poison to him, and even though he reads the toxic sign after the tempting “EAT ME” label on the same package of the cake, he has to eat it. But to him, it is no poison. It is an antidote, a solace. Did he drink it up, he would be able to embrace his Alice, enjoyed her smile as sparkling as the sun in early July of an occidental land and tried again the unique taste of sandwiches prepared by her. Without a second thought he drinks it and hears the chorus singing:
dream it boy, you are now in
your own dream, and see
her face as coy and her eyes as sweet
as London cakes and sweets!
[To Be Continued]
[First written on 1st and 3rd December, 2015; edited on 20th May, 2016]
[Photo taken by James on 31st March, 2015 at London]