This world is about to end.
This is a world that I have come to since childhood. I have never had a recurring dream but what I have had is this place. It is a recurring place. A place that I have come to countless times in my dreams. It has hills and streets. It contains parks and a train station. There’s an airport and a bus station. Sometimes events are familiar but I have never had the same experience twice. New places would occasionally appear but the feeling was always the same, I always knew they were part of this same weird, wonderful world.
I’ve had adventures here. I’ve walked corridors. Relived childhood experiences with a teenage and later an adult mindset. I’ve found hidden rooms and secret passages. I’ve run from unseen enemies and made friends here.
I’ve had dreams that seemed to go on for weeks and then I’d wake up and find that there were within just one night’s sleep.
I’ve had sex here. The night this world was to end was the last time. A recreation of one of my favourite scenarios in the changing room of what was, for some reason, my old High school.
This place and its many houses, corridors, places and hidden rooms has served a purpose that I do not understand. It has been here for so long. Sometimes I’d take a boat out across the ocean but the places on the other side of it were also a part of this huge, sprawling, scary yet wonderful dream world.
I faced my fears here. I recreated scenarios from my younger life and faced down the threats and situations with my adult mindset. The adventures here were beyond belief. Some had purpose, others just seemed to go on without narrative or purpose.
Ultimately this place helped me work out my “stuff” and it was somewhere that some part of me felt I needed to come to. A chance to put something, some intagible thing in its correct sequence within my life.
But ultimately all things come to an end. My adolescent incandescence has finally faded and the sun has gone down on that insecure, fragile and anxious part of my life.
I’ve been travelling since August of last years. I’ve been to London, Greece, Australia and now New Zealand. I’ve faced down my inner fears and most are either gone or are, for the first time, now in perspective. I’ve stopped biting my nails (well, nearly). I’ve stopped eating junk (no, really). I’ve lost the urge to drink alcohol just for the sake of it. My ego is now under control. My paranoia is fading and the beta blockers I took and relied upon to see me through each day without panic scraping its nails down the blackboard of my confidence, are no longer something I take.
I’m stronger now. I can walk on my own without talking to myself, saying things that I wish I’d said at the time, years or even decades ago. For the first time in my life I am relaxed and even approaching something that might be called happy.
The dream world I have found myself in without wanting to go there. The one I have lived, travelled, fucked and fought in is about to finish.
The dream is vivid. I am in a new room and the ocean from this dream world can be seen out of the windows. This room is a hybrid of my old High school canteen and a warehouse that could be from anywhere. The old school dining tables are there and the lights are down low. All the people from this aspect of this world, this particular place in this world, the ones that live and breathe in this one corner of it, they are all here. They stare out of the window as a storm comes from the horizon across the sea. It is black and full of rain. Lightning flashes in zig zags across it. It is a storm of oblivion. It is erasing everything in its path. Once it has swept across this world, this dream world of mine, there will be nothing left and a new world will be created. I know this without being told it, I just know.
I am here because I need to see it go. I need to witness the finish. I won’t dissapear. Once the storm reaches me I will simply wake up. The people in the room are resigned to their fate. They are accepting of it but still uneasy, after all no one wants to be erased, not even figments of someone else’s imagination.
I can feel the fear and tension as I walk through the room and down the stairs. A few people acknowledge me but most are staring out the windows, watching the storm. It is far away but moving impossibly fast. It is nearly upon us, in moments it will have reached this room.
I am sad that this world of mine, this glorious, unpredictable dream world will end but I know it’s the right thing to do. I need to move on. My issues are resolved. I am not a teenager, neither a child. I am able to face life without this world there to work out my issues when I sleep.
I stand and wait, knowing this is the last time I will ever be here. As I glance around for the last time, the storm now louder and very close, I look across the floor and I see her. The one person I knew would test my resolve and she wasn’t in that bus station. She wasn’t in the airport or even in the hotel with the hidden wing and the secret elevators. No, she’s here. I see her and instantly my willpower starts to melt. She looks scared and she knows this is the end.
Part of me knows that this isn’t her. It’s the dream her. It’s the version I see sometimes. The beautiful ghost that drifts across my vision and just sometimes we meet and talk. She’s here and I can’t just stand and watch her be taken into oblivion. The tsunami that is the storm to remove this world and all that’s in it, is nothing next to the emotions that are now churning inside me.
I know that the new world my dreams will create will have similar people and places to this one. They may even be virtually identical to the ones that are here. But I don’t want a clone of her. I don’t want a new dream or a redux. I don’t want to lose this version.
My resolve in the face of seeing my world be torn down and rebuilt anew, is nothing now. I shout her name and run down the steps to where she stands, people around her. Their attention is still on the storm, so very close now, the rain loud.
As I reach her she puts her arms around me, her face frightened. We rarely met in this world but she was always there somewhere. My emotions are overwhelming me. Her body is warm through her sweater and I gently sweep her hair from her eyes and look at her. She’s so frightened but she smiles.
“I can take you with me” I say and as the storm reaches the windows and the lightning flashes I raise my left arm. I know I shouldn’t but I want to. My failsafe ever since I was 7 and my grandfather bought me my first watch, is to clamp my right hand on my watch in any dream. When I did this I would instantly wake up. I have done it so many times. The storm breaks the windows and I feel the air pressure and the cold wet and worse the first tingle of the glass shards, the shock wave pushing forward. As it becomes deafening I slap my hand over my left wrist and the vision blurs. I am waking up.
As the vision completely fades away and I wake up in the early morning light of my bedroom I wonder if I did what I wanted to do. I knew she wasn’t going to be next to me when I woke (but I still hoped that somehow that might happen) but I wanted to take her from that world, not leave her there to be obliviated.
As I blink into the half light and my dreams finally slide away, I see her in front of me, fading. She is moving as if treading water, swimming gently as if being pulled along in a stream. She smiles and I know she made it. Wherever my new world is made, whatever it is used for, whenever I’m there, she will be there…somewhere.
I shouldn’t have done that. I should have moved on.
I smile and slowly get out of bed, the day looks glorious and full of promise. I can see the hills of Lower Hutt in Wellington.
It’s a good day to be alive.