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A New City

July 12, 2010
File:20090524 Buildings along Chicago River line the south border  of the Near North Side and Streeterville and the north border of Chicago  Loop, Lakeshore East and Illinois Center.jpg

Photo Credit: mindfrieze

The city of my dreams was obscured by the gray clouds passing overhead. I stood at the end of one block waiting for friends I’d never met. We agreed to test our flight abilities. I knew I could hover over the buildings, but wanted to test our combined strengths. When they arrived the girls were much younger than I expected. A pudgy blond and two brunettes with matching shoes.

“Whatever you do, don’t lose faith,” I said. Strange words, but  they seemed appropriate when you’re trying to teach someone how to fly in a dream.

We locked hands and walked out into the middle of an intersection. The girl on my left was trembling. We began to run toward the incoming traffic. I watched as our feet lifted off the ground, pushing off car hoods and remained suspended somewhere between the ground and the rooftops.
The exhilaration separated us. As we floated on our backs I pointed to the sky and instructed them to go higher. We moved together so quickly the buildings disappeared and the world around us made a hissing sound. Something was interfering with the signal holding together the city.

Dream shift.

Walking through a different city I felt something change within me as I entered a quiet zone. I turned the corner and found an old friend waiting for me. She was much older now.

“I knew I would find you here,” I said, noticing the fine lines under her eyes. “Are the others waiting?”

“We’ll pick them up as we get closer,” she said.

As the walk progressed more people joined us, many of whom I hadn’t seen in years. Someone I knew when I was fifteen. School friends and people who have followed me through my dream life. When we reached the shore, I was told a room was reserved for the celebration. We went into a circular room and they surrounded me, big smiles everywhere. A girl came up to me and congratulated me on the new novel. She called it a bestseller. On the table behind her was a cake in the shape of the book.

File:2009 new novels in a Berlin bookshop.JPG

Photo Credit: Olaf Simmons

I squatted down and concentrated on my breathing. The novel wasn’t complete and this city felt eerie and real. Was I dead? I felt dead. This was no ordinary dream. It felt like a place with genuine properties. Vivid detail in the white chairs with blue cloth hanging over their backs. I took off my watch and waited.

Then a man brought me to my feet. I looked around, anxious I would never wake up again. The room was growing dim. “Lights,” I said. The room grew brighter. Someone was whispering about how I’d turned this city into a living, breathing entity. They clapped and the lights started flickering. Someone said,”Lights!” and the room was illuminated again. Things felt concrete, but unsettling.

Was I inside the world of my novel?

I woke up and strolled into the empty kitchen. A knock on the door startled me. When I opened it, familiar faces entered the house. They stared, waiting for me to say something.

“Were you there?” I asked, unable to contain myself. I was staring at the girl who’d congratulated me.

“Oh, you mean, the dream?” she smiled. “The room with the fading lights and book cake.”

“You were there,” I cried. “So were the rest of you. We were all inside the same dream?”

I didn’t wait for them to respond. I felt my chest tighten. Tears formed, but did not fall.

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