Image by Christine Renney
He didn’t remember his dreams, couldn’t even be sure that he had any and this troubled him. It nagged at him, had done since childhood and it was an almost constant ache.
Not dreaming hadn’t hindered him and he didn’t feel bereft – how could he miss or lose something that he hadn’t ever had? Perhaps it was the not knowing that made him curious and he needed to experience what everyone else experienced.
He didn’t really believe he was the only one. He was convinced that there were others who didn’t dream or who had no recall of doing so. But of course, they didn’t talk, unlike the dreamers, they didn’t tell.
If ever he was asked about his dreams he simply said that they were uninteresting, and kind of ordinary. There wasn’t anything elaborate about them, he would say, nor anything fantastical. They were just little every day scenes, albeit jumbled and out of context and they were the kind of things that happen to all of us. And this, it seemed, was acceptable. It was enough. His dreams could be mundane and meaningless as he suspected most people’s were. That the big, bright Technicolor epics were few and far between.
If it often seemed to him that his life was an arrangement and had been pre-planned he didn’t mind. He had been lucky, he supposed, especially in the beginning. He had been nurtured and encouraged and, working hard, he had achieved all that had been expected of him, arriving at each point on the scale exactly as and when he should. And now, he was at the midway point and others were coming along behind him. But there were some still up ahead and they were functioning okay. Better than okay and this pleased him. He was happy about where he was headed and he still had aspirations and ambition and the not dreaming hadn’t held him back and he didn’t feel he was missing out on something. Yet it troubled him.
There had been a girl at school, Amy. He had fallen for her. She wasn’t the first but was the first to reciprocate. She had seemed interested in him, almost as much as he had been interested in her. Their relationship had been brief but he realised now that it had been a point on the scale and an important one at that. He had been excited by her, by the possibility of her. And he had talked with her in a way that he hadn’t ever been able to talk with anyone else.
One day Amy told him of her dream – it was one of those Technicolor epics and he couldn’t make sense of it. But that didn’t matter because she couldn’t either. But he had featured in her dream and this excited him, to be a part of it, part of the kaleidoscopic chaos in her head.
As she related her dream Amy moved close to him and they were almost touching when she asked about his dreams.
‘What about you?’ she asked. ‘What are your dreams like?’
‘I don’t dream’, he replied.
‘What?’ she stared at him, incredulous.
‘I don’t have dreams or at least I don’t remember them.’
She stepped back, pressing her hands against the space between them. Against the place where he no longer stood.