No Sleep, No Dream (excerpt from “Slumber Citizens” – re-envisioned)

“The world is too much with us,” Symantha says while carelessly daydreaming, and then weeps.

“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like
a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things,” Julian repeats from memory. “It’s not the world that’s too much with us…”

“But our dreams?” Symantha completes.

It is now early spring, and Symantha is not moved by the freshness of flowers in the air. What is the source of energy for most is for her a struggle in her lungs and an assault upon her sensitive skin. They lounge outside on separate hammocks, sipping on cool lemonade that is meant to refresh. Julian takes out handkerchief from his pocket and reaches over to hand it to her. She dabs the moisture under her eyes.

“I’m out of tune,” she mumbles, blowing into the handkerchief.

“The world tells a young person on the precipice – follow your dreams! Like a child would, only you’re no longer a child.” He watches as she tucks the handkerchief away in her sweater pocket. She will toss it in the laundry along with the dozen other handkerchiefs, hand them back to him so he can carry one in his pocket for her – just in case.

“Imagine the repeat of one dream, and one dream only,” Julian offers not only in hopes of cheering her spirit, but also in hopes that by simply saying his wish aloud it will make it possible and real. “It would make life much easier.” He flips through his dream journal and looks at all the empty pages, at all those dreams he had forgotten, compared to the few remembered. “If I had but one dream repeat, over and over again, eventually I would always remember it by the sheer act of repetition. And I wouldn’t need to keep a dream journal at all.” Random pages of writing haphazardly appear here and there among the blank ones – dreams that were remembered, and then forgotten again. “And if I always remember that one dream upon waking, then I can always count on the return of me,” he says, patting that heart part of his chest lightly with one hand.

“Don’t you think you’re taking yourself way too seriously,” she says coyly, now that her tears have dried. “I couldn’t live on just one dream,” she says as she watches him place the journal back between his legs, as if afraid she will take away his only source of memories.

As the sun slowly sets late in the evening and it’s time for bed, they do not go to bed. They stay up until the early dawn hours – he reading, she watching the classic movie channel, witnessing people living out impossible dreams within a matter of hours.

For two and a half hours they make love and still do not fall asleep.

Symantha whispers in his ear, “Now that we haven’t slept, there are no dreams to remember.”

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