Prose,  Written literature | Author's writings

Dreams never die

I never realized that darkness conveyed chaos until I opened my eyes before it. I found myself surrounded by freshly painted walls in white, on the left and right, plastic green chair, silk curtains, and all the doors were identical. What pierced my ears were the high-frequency voices of people and machines running out of sync. But I couldn’t stop thinking of the green color of the chairs. I always wondered what color was associated with restlessness, and green was certainly not. When I blinked twice, the shade would get darker, but again it was green. Am I a lunatic who can control change, or have change taken over the colors to distract me from what’s going on behind closed doors, my brain continually pulsates, and as I exhale, the music becomes louder. Music? Where does it come from, without words, without a sound? Those sounds take colors, and each one tells its own story. There’s an instrumental of my life in the background, I guess, but gramophone was nowhere close, though the needle crackling was getting louder. I never realized that I was in a waiting room specially designed for me, without any visual flaw, with perfect details and scents that describe every aspect of the people and places, stories, and experiences I went through. But everything else was wrong (at least I thought so at the moment of cognition). There are no answers to the size or extent to which my waiting room built itself, but what’s worse, not knowing how, or not knowing who or what took me there? The ceiling is glassful, steps are visible above me, somewhere in the dimension in which they programmed me for this waiting. Or what only looks like it to me. It seems like a pile of bricks that will collapse through the ceiling, directly on my chest, crushing my lungs. Oxygen comes slowly, in dusty thin layers; death by suffocation is strangely tempting- millions of atoms floating outside one’s body and merging with the atmosphere- ideally when compared to the alternative. But, maybe a little air comes as a gift, soothing hint of what’s watching me outside the waiting room, some miracle that tests me to see what my tolerance threshold is. Maybe science is wrong, and there is a God on the other side who hasn’t abandoned us. As I gaze up at the ceiling, trying to make sense of what’s going on there, I close my eyes and relax my body in a green chair. The giggling of people in the aisle wakes me up, extremely unbearable, they’re carrying papers and cups of hot coffee. Does coffee exist here? It smells so convincing. I’d like one, but on the other hand, I don’t sense people. There’s something seriously wrong with me. Maybe I’ve been put in waiting my whole life for a diagnosis of my unclear condition. “Silent darkness“- turns out to be an oxymoron- who would have thought it would have been welcome now, in the waiting room of all places, brighter than anything my eyes could see, louder than the chaos in my head. However, this is directed only to realize that I’m already inside. The darkness inside and outside is crying, whispering, begging, but not really, just in the realm of metaphor. I fall into dubious too much, but so does it, into me. I still don’t know what I’m waiting for, but I found myself here for a reason. And whenever I try to look at my watch and see how long has it been, the needles hit each other and break and suddenly, a disappointment – there are no watches here. They only show me what they want me to see.

Drowned in thought, I can feel the girl’s head on my shoulder, like a wounded puppy, sobbing, but in vain, unable to stifle a voice. I lift her head, but there’s no face and as creepy as it sounds, it’s completely normal to me. I took her hand, out of compassion, exhaustion or despair, I don’t know, a skinless arm, but still, a hand. I felt who she was. She must have turned to dust and ashes for me to feel how I had hurt her a long time ago. The blond boy on my left whispers: goodbye, and I love you, drawing with his fingers in the air. He laughs; I doubt his family tells jokes about these times we live in, but one never knows. I don’t know him. He’s the funniest boy at school, a clown of the class, while his mom and dad were telling him he’s not very funny- and I squeeze his hand, too. When he looked at me, I saw myself. Yes, the little self looking at me with the hope of realizing why I’m here. He gave me a balloon, walked in through the door, and only then did I notice that every lock had bloody fingerprints after someone opened it, and every next one is cleaner than before. Three years in the running, I voted for myself, most likely to be named poet of our city. Of course, I write songs in my head just in case I experience seeing another blank white screen. Another longing for the cursor to break free; another superb image, a sigh, a cry, another sigh: dreams never die, even when death bends your spine, even when nothingness whispers. The hallway now sounds like a war movie set: rapid-fire, breaking glass, feet hitting the floor, people screaming. I’m pretty sure I know who caused it: the agitator, the “lone wolf”- if you watch the news, you’ll know that there’s one in every institution, who can’t stand sitting in one place. And for a second, I think of jumping from my chair onto his back, fighting for a gun, take it from his hands, and protect people. I have always idolized heroes: a soldier stepping in front of a bullet to protect his friend, an officer carrying his soldier out of the water to shelter through the tangled jungle density, a loud explosion all around. My strategy would be to hit him only once, with my fist, and to ask him if he wants to kick several times into the wall, and then, with great food and wine, I would read him some of my greatest poems about humanity, to fill the void in his heart. He would turn into honey in front of my eyes, surrender itself to the authorities, and the institution would build a statue in my honor. But this isn’t a movie, nor am I a trained fighter. We aren’t in any jungle, nor are we starting a civil war, this is my waiting room, designed for me to believe everything they give me, only to test me, to see if I will be a hero or a coward. Then why am I feeling so cowardly, also it’s not reasonable for me to sit calm and observe the chaos? Upside down, eyes closed, my muscles tightened, willingly allowing my body to transform into a rag, bucket, shelf, anything inhumane would work, just like the boy in a book I once read, who could, with enough concentration, become a piece of furniture. I would give anything someone else to take my place after this hallucination, the whole nation. That this isn’t a war zone, just an ordinary waiting room where my body isn’t dumped in as many broken memories as I used to think of Aristotle’s “Poetics.”

I think I have calculated about two dozen explosions inside, five doors open (or abruptly closed) so far. Now I’m counting the echoes of steps outside, turned into delirium, rocking chair of this hiding place, the combat heel rocker on the hallway tiles, the grim metal echoes, as if produced on the speaker: one, two, three, four, five: this door doesn’t lock from inside. So how do I hide? Ever wanted to open your brain, peek under all those folds? Have someone give you a complete review of what’s inside: The Thalamus, asymmetrical structure that transmits sensory information to the brain; the amygdala, involved in memory, emotions, and fear (mine are surely overburdened). All of this is actually technical and quite boring, but if I could think of a scientific study and figure out a way to get a bullet through the brain in the most harmful way, who would fire it? And then I started to think if I was in the waiting room of a hospital, some private research institute, or perhaps this is a sanatorium for those like me? Have they designed all of this to make me go crazy, this way, already insane and my own? But the more I think and create the scenario, the more I notice that it comes to life and that this is already happening, with people in different bodies, that everything that’s ideally visually made comes from my subconscious. All wrong and incomprehensible already exists, it breathes, it swallows me, it overwhelms me. And it was never wrong, but cruelly realistic because this is my private waiting room. And when it’s my turn, I’ll know what’s behind my door.

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