Dreams by Mark McConville

Dreams.

It rings true in your head. That day when thunder stole your composure. Your heart jolted for peace and reason on that day too, when she ransacked the apartment of wine and mementos she bought you. From then you’ve run marathon after marathon in your mind, settling in bed under a ceiling covered in her features. Her eyes are a beautiful reminder of what you had, her hourglass body fragile but compelling to look at and to touch. Her voice is still embedded in your head like a catchy rock song which has substance and lyrical qualities.

Dream after dream, nightmare after nightmare, all interlock to create misery. You’ve even carried a necklace in your pocket, a shining piece of jewellery she must have left by mistake, or she could have left it as a token to say come and get me when your head is fixed. Trying to fix your head has been a quest as you wish to dissect it of disturbing thoughts.

Keepsakes command safety. And you’ve kept the necklace in good condition. You’d love it to be a magic bottle so you could rub it and make a wish or two. These wishes could be pivotal. Imagine the possibilities, the grandness of it all. If you were in such a position, what would you wish for? A week in paradise, for your girl to come back with a red rose in her hand as a gesture of undying love. Or could you be tactical and wish for the intrusive thoughts to dissipate and be banished forever?

Unfortunately, the magic bottle doesn’t exist. It’s a myth. You must work for your week in paradise. You must fight tooth and nail for her hand to caress your bristly beard. Outside your imaginative but unstable mind, there is a tap running and the whole apartment stinks of stale alcohol and unwashed clothes. The place looks unhealthy like your reflection, the dust particles form a bond with the sunken couch.

You’re caught up in a miserable chronicle that no one would want to write. You’re festering like a fruit bowl laced in small insects. All the flies circle it like little commanders killing what they see fit. You’re lost and need to dig yourself out, click yourself out of that marathon. This isn’t a long-winded run to the promised-land.

You snap out of it. Your eyes are back in motion. The Television set is stuck on the discovery channel. The dreams are in the back of your mind, waiting to be pushed to the front later again. Time is of the essence, dreams are only fabrications, and this is real life.

You stand and shake your head at the room. The flowery paper is peeling and all of the candles have burnt out. The smell is putrid, rotting to the core, and all you can do is spray the last of the air freshener. You’re clothed, thankfully, but you’ve sat around in them for what seems like weeks. This isn’t a timeless costume, or a clean slate, you’re wearing a dirty checked shirt and sweatpants. She’d be furious, as your hair is bushy and the unkempt beard is brown from all the beer you’ve consumed. And you want to go back into that cocoon called your head, but you’re wide eyed and awake. Those dreams are toxic anyway.

You cut yourself shaving, blood trickles down your aging face. A face with lines, wrinkles and fear ridden eyes. The years have been chaotic. Carrying on has been difficult, but you deserve to see the future. You place a clean shirt over your chest, and a tie around your neck, and take a sigh of relief that you’re still young enough to live and old enough to care.

The door is closed, and the outside is frightening. People are shifting blood cells, hearts and bones, and you don’t know if you’re ready to hear different voices. You also want dignity to wrap you up. You unlock the door and look at yourself in the mirror. You’re the better man.

You’re outside a café on a safe street. One with fast-food chains and Instagram madness. The roads are fierce; the wind picks up the pace, but you’re in a good place. The dreams nip at you, and you’re resisting them. This day has significance. It is critical. You check your vital signs, you’re alive and ready.

The café looks busy. The baristas are like racing rats trying to overcome the tide of people. She’s one of them. She’s changed the colour of her hair. The beauty is astounding, resounding. It’s time to break the habit.

You open the heavy door and seek an empty seat.  She’s serves a customer. The light swirls around her in your eyes. It’s nearly closing time, and she’s cleaning the tables across from you. There’s another man watching her, observing her every move. He’s handsome, more handsome and assured than you. You worry, your hands are sweaty, and the dreams are barging in. No priceless thoughts, but negative ones.

And the hammer blow. The man and the girl of your past kiss. That kiss like the roar of a lion, like rats eating the inside of your organs. You’re empty.

You leave the café and look back at them. They’re in love, there is no doubting the fizz of lust. You wish to crack the glass with your fist, but you abstain.

They get into his expensive car and drive off. You hold the necklace in your hands. Your shoulders fall and your eyes gaze.

The dream has consumed you once more.

Mark McConville