Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Hexagon



It’s been a while. I haven’t come this way for many months. My old world of dreams and adventures, love and fear, solutions and victories was destroyed by my own will a long time ago. There was only one survivor of that fantasy place. Someone I fully intended to erase from my dreams along with everything and everyone else in that wonderful, vivid yet outgrown realm of my childhood, adolescence and most of my adult life.

But when the moment came and the world was ripped apart, ready to be rebuilt from the void and vacuum of what had been, I saw her and all my willpower and resolve melted in a heartbeat. I took her out of there with me. Not the real person but the original dream. The one that came from the roots and flowers of my initial love and lust. The gorgeous one. The one that has been there since I first met her real life counterpart. 

I know she made it out, I saw her as I woke up, the dream world fading away and reality intruding like sharpened sticks into my eyes. 

But I haven’t seen her since. 

Now, months later I am in a room with many doors. It’s a new place I haven’t seen before. It smells of Greek tavernas in August. It is wonderful and bright. There are flowers and expensive carved chairs. The room is many sided. I stand there and look around. It’s hexagonal. Weird. I know without being told (after all, this is my dream) that the room is not connected “really” to anywhere. It’s an interim. A linking point. A place where someone could step out of their own dream space and come here. A place to talk. A place to make love. A place to be with someone that you can’t see in your own world.

I stand there for a few moments. The room is incredibly peaceful. I can feel the warmth and tranquility soothing my cynical soul, my eyelids momentarily flutter withe sleepiness. I shake my head to erase the lethargy. Then I look around the room again.

There are six doors  to this room. The one I came out of, a red door opposite mine and four others. A hexagon. Something similar to the room I created in my first kids’ book. Well, all dream states have to spring from some well of the imagination, I guess.

As I’m standing there, I hear a key turning and the red door opens inwards. She comes through it. I haven’t dreamed of her in 3 months but as usual she makes my heart stutter, my breath pause in my throat and my stomach fill with butterflies. She glances at me, her face unreadable then turns and closes the door behind her. Then she turns to face me. She’s as beautiful as I remember her. Everything about her pulls at my soul. I look at her for a moment, savouring the vision then I clear my throat “It’s good to…”

Before I can finish she takes two or three steps towards me and slaps me hard across the face. My head jerks back and I turn to look at her. “What…?” but before I can continue she take my face in both hands and kisses me deeply. When she pulls away I am utterly confused. She smiles, half angry, then says. “You’re not the only one who’s hurting”. 

I am lost for words and just stare at her, the kiss lingering and my cheek stinging. She kisses me again and then steps back. 

“I love you…” I manage to say.

She smiles again and her brown eyes shine. “I love you too”.

As I stare, confused beyond belief, I am distracted by a sound. The doorway to my left. It’s disconnecting from the room. When it goes, it can never be put back. I just know this. After all, it’s my dream. The doorway fades and in its place is smooth brickwork, no different to the rest of the wall. Then another detaches, falling into the oblivion of the dream nether. Finally there are only two left. Mine and hers. When hers goes mine will be alone, destined to disappear the moment I return to the waking world. One corridor is not enough to support this place. Unity and karma dictate there must be at least two.

I sigh and look at her. I don’t want her to see me cry so say quickly, “I guess it’s time to go. I’ll never stop loving you. Have a beautiful life”.

She shakes her head and smiles “You still don’t get it do you? This isn’t your dream, it’s mine”.

I step towards her, my emotions rolling like a tsunami inside me and she puts her arms around me, kissing me again and then she steps back and through her door. It closes behind her and the key turns in the lock. 

But the doorway doesn’t fade away.

I smile, finally understanding, and turn back to my own doorway. As I step through my eyes open in reality and I’m in bed, the air conditioning humming and the cicadas noisily chirruping outside. The sun has come up and the day is already warm.

I lay there for a while and then make my way into today.

Nights later, I dreamed my way back to the room once again. She wasn't there but her doorway was. On the table was a small envelope. A beautiful cream vellum, and in exquisite handwriting on the front it read “Cannot be opened until after August 2029”.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Big Yet Wonderful Lie




Today I went to the bus stop in Plakias, Crete, Greece to say goodbye to a friend who was going to Belgium on the 3.15 coach to Rethymno.

Fuck me, hold the front page!!!

This guy is friends with loads of folk in Plakias, including my dad. He’s 90% of the time in a good mood, likes a beer (and a carafe of raki) and could be politely be described as a “happy go lucky” type of bloke.

He loves Plakias about as much as anyone I know, and over the last 7 years has apparently missed close to 20 flights through deciding very late in the day, “Ahh, fuck it!” and staying put instead of going home.

Last night him, me and three others went out for din dins at a very good local taverna and he was teased about how he’d probably be back within a couple of days. 

His plan was to head off to Brussels to hook up with a mutual Plakian friend and celebrate that guy’s birthday on the 12th August. Despite being ribbed about his DNA-level inability to leave Plakias behind, and that Heraklion airport now has a revolving door in the arrivals lounge named after him, he insisted that he HAD to go back to sort out giving up his apartment and then sorting his life out.

Today came and at 3pm four of us accompanied him to the bus stop, as always a little sad that a pal was leaving, possibly until next summer.

However…

The owner of our favourite bar had, that very morning, teased us with the intel that arriving ON the 3.15pm bus there would be a glorious surprise for us. Attempts to elicit exactly who it was fell flat (and were met by much smug chuckling into his beard) so we attempted to guess who it was.

“Maybe it’s HIM?”
“No, not his style to be so secretive!”
“What about HIM then?”
“Hmmm….nope. He’d have told me”.
“What if it’s HER and HIM, that’s feasible!”
“Yeah, that would be brilliant”.

Etc.

As the bus arrived at 3.15-ish this afternoon, we waited and waited as people piled off and no one we recognised was grabbing their luggage. Then the woman we were with shrieked and ran over to the back doors of the coach. Being waved out the doorway was a sign with her name on and the legend “YOU SUCK!!!”

The guy from Belgium whose birthday was in 2 days…had secretly travelled to Plakias to surprise everyone. As people were hugging and cries of “MOTHERFUCKER!!! could be heard the guy who was meant to be leaving ‘fessed up to having spent the last couple of weeks fibbing his arse off to protect this elaborate plan of military-esque proportions. He said he was now relieved that he didn’t have to keep telling such elaborate porkies and the last few days had been hard as people were asking him what he’d be doing in Belgium and later London, and he had to keep his lies consistent to maintain the charade.

We all then took a trip over to our favourite bar and had a drink while laughing at the elaborate hoax and reminding each other of the elaborate lies the bloke who was meant to be leaving had told.

This was a very intricate, meticulously planned and altogether wonderful thing.

In a desire to a). Celebrate his birthday with good friends in Plakias and b). Give everyone a great surprise, my friend had created a plan that required secrecy (only 4 people apparently knew the truth) and everyone playing along with it.

For the last 13 days I haven’t had a drink of alcohol at all. I’ve been on bottled water when I go out to socialise and this teetotal lifestyle has cleared my head of a LOT of the paranoid clutter that has lined my cerebellum for years. 

What I saw today, in the sobriety of a mind unfettered by paranoia, anxiety and hangover… was that no one I was with today regarded themselves as the centre of attention. 

Not the guy who came by unexpectedly. Nor the bloke who lied about leaving. Definitely not the bar owner who had teased us about a surprise guest. And certainly not the mutual friend who was in on it but kept his mouth shut anyway.

Everyone was blown away by what happened and as I left the bar at 4pm to go home, I could hear the laughing and joking behind me for at least two minutes as I walked up the street.

This was (and for the next four days, will be) a joyous event designed to make everybody feel great.

Ego wasn’t present in anyone’s mind during this. It was simply done because all those involved wanted to make their friends feel good.


Today was a good day.