The Dream
(From The Golden Ass)

But I could in no wise sleep for the great fear which was in my heart, until it was about midnight, and then I began to slumber. But, alas! behold suddenly the chamber doors broke open, and locks, bolts, and posts fell down, that you would verily have thought that some thieves had presently come to have spoiled and robbed us. And my bed whereon I lay, being a truckle-bed, fashioned in the form of a cradle, and one of the feet broken and rotten, by violence was turned upside down, and I likewise was overwhelmed and covered lying in the same. And while I lay on the ground covered in this sort, I peeped under the bed to see what would happen. And behold there entered in two old women, the one bearing a burning torch, and the other a sponge and a naked sword; and so in this habit they stood about, Socrates being fast asleep.

Then she which bare the sword said unto the other, “Behold, sister Panthia, this is my dear and sweetheart, this is he who little regarding my love, doth not only defame me with reproachful words, but also intendeth to run away.” Which said, she pointed toward me that lay under the bed, and showed me to Panthia. “This is he,” quoth she, “which is his counselor, and persuadeth him to forsake me, and now being at the point of death, he lieth prostrate on the ground covered with his bed, and hath seen all our doings, and hopeth to escape scot-free from my hands; but I will cause that he shall repent himself too late, nay rather forthwith, of his former intemperate language, and his present curiosity.” Which words when I heard, I fell into a cold sweat, and my heart trembled with fear, insomuch that the bed over me did likewise rattle and shake. Then spake Panthia unto Meroe and said, “Sister, let us by and by tear him in pieces.” Then Meroe answered, “Nay, rather let him live, and bury the corpse of this poor wretch in some hold of the earth”; and therewithal she turned up the head of Socrates on the other side, and thrust her sword up to the hilt into the left part of his neck, and received the blood that gushed out, into a pot, that no drop thereof fell beside: which things I saw with mine own eyes; and as I think to the intent that she might alter nothing that pertained to sacrifice, which she accustomed to make, she thrust her hand down into the internals of his body, and searching about at length brought forth the heart of my miserable companion, Socrates, who having his throat cut in such sort, yield out a dreadful cry and gave up the ghost. Then Panthia stopped the wide wound of his throat with the sponge, and said, “O sponge, sprung and made of the sea, beware that thou pass not by running river.”

When this was ended, they went their ways, and the doors closed fast, the posts stood in their old places, and the locks and bolts were shut again. But I that lay upon the ground like one without soul, naked and cold, like to one that were more than half dead, yet reviving myself, and appointed as I thought for the gallows, began to say, “Alas! what shall become of me to-morrow, when my companion shall be found murdered here in the chamber? To whom shall I seem to tell any similitude of truth, whenas I shall tell the truth indeed? They will say, ‘If thou wert unable to resist the violence of the women, yet shouldst thou have cried for help: wouldst thou suffer the man to be slain before thy face and say nothing? Or why did they not slay thee likewise? Why did they spare thee that stood by and saw them commit that horrible fact? Wherefore although thou hast escaped their hands, yet thou shalt not escape ours.”’ While I pondered these things with myself, the night passed on, and so I resolved to take my horse before day, and go forward on my journey.

Howbeit the ways were unknown to me: and thereupon I took up my packet, unlocked and unbarred the doors, but those good and faithful doors, which in the night did open of their own accord, could then scantly be opened with their keys. And when I was out I cried, “O sirrah hostler, where art thou? Open the stable-door, for I will ride away by and by.” They hostler lying behind the stable-door upon a pallet and half asleep, “What (quoth he), do you not know that the ways be very dangerous? what mean you to rise at this time of night? If you, perhaps guilty of some heinous crime, be weary of your life, yet think you not that we are such sots that we will die for you.” Then said I, “It is wellnigh day, and moreover, what can thieves take from him that hath nothing? Dost thou not know, fool as thou art, if thou be naked, if ten giants should assail thee, they could not spoil or rob thee?” Whereunto the drowsy hostler, half asleep and turning on the other side, answered, “What know I whether you have murdered your companion whom you brought in yesternight or no, and now seek the means to escape away?” O Lord, at that time, I remember, the earth seemed to open, and methought I saw at hellgate the dog Cerberus ready to devour me; and then I verily believed that Meroe did not spare my throat moved with pity, but rather cruelly pardoned me to bring me to the gallows.

Wherefore I returned to my chamber, and there devised with myself in what sort I should finish my life. And therewithal I pulled out a piece of rope wherewith the bed was corded, and tied one end thereof about a rafter by the window, and with the other end I made a sliding knot, and stood upon my bed, and so put my neck into it, and when I leaped from the bed thinking verily to strangle myself and so die, behold the rope, being old and rotten, burst in the middle, and I fell down tumbling upon Socrates that lay under: and even at that same very time the hostler came in crying with a loud voice and said, “Where are you that made such haste at midnight, and now lies wallowing abed?” Whereupon (I know not whether it was by my fall, or by the great cry of the hostler) Socrates as waking out of a sleep, did rise up first and said, “It is not without cause that strangers do speak evil of all such hostlers, for this caitiff in his coming in, and with his crying out, I think under a color to steal away something, has waked me out of a sound sleep.” Then I rose up, joyful with a merry countenance, saying, “Behold, good hostler, my friend, my companion and my brother whom thou didst falsely affirm to be slain by me this night.” And therewithal I embraced my friend Socrates and kissed him, and took him by the hand and said, “Why tarry we? Why lose we the pleasure of this fair morning? let us go,” and so I took up my packet, and paid the charges of the house and departed.

And we had not gone a mile out of the town but it was broad day, and then I diligently looked upon Socrates’ throat to see if I could espy the place where Meroe thrust in her sword; but when I could not perceive any such thing, I thought with myself, What a madman am I, that being overcome with wine yesternight have dreamed such terrible things! behold, I see Socrates is sound, safe and in health. Where is his wound? where is the sponge? where is his great and new cut? And then I spake to him and said, “Verily it is not without occasion that physicians of experience do affirm, that such as fill their gorges abundantly with meat and drink shall dream of dire and horrible sights: for I myself, not tempering my appetite yesternight from pots of wine, did seem to see this night strange and cruel visions, that even yet I think myself sprinkled and wet with human blood.” Whereunto Socrates laughing made answer, “Nay, verily, I myself dreamed this night that my throat was cut, and that I felt the pain of the wound, and that my heart was pulled out of my belly, and the remembrance thereof makes me now to fear, for my knees do so tremble that I can scarce go any further; and therefore I would fain eat somewhat to strengthen and revive my spirits.” Then said I, “Behold here thy breakfast”; and therewithal I opened my scrip that hanged upon my shoulder, and gave him bread and cheese, and we sat down under a great plane tree, and I ate part with him. And while I beheld him eating greedily, I perceived that he waxed meager and pale, and that his lively color faded away, insomuch that being in great fear, and remembering those terrible furies of whom I lately dreamed, the first morsel of bread that I put in my mouth (which was but very small) did so stick in my jaws, that I could neither swallow it down, nor yet yield it up, and moreover the small time of our being together increased my fear: and what is he that seeing his companion die in the highway before his face, would not greatly lament and be sorry? But when that Socrates had eaten sufficiently, he waxed very thirsty, for indeed he had well-nigh devoured all a whole cheese: and behold evil fortune! There was behind the plane tree a pleasant running water as clear as crystal, and I said unto him, “Come hither, Socrates, to this water and drink thy full.” And then he rose and came to the river, and kneeled down upon the side of the bank to drink; but he had scarce touched the water with his lips, whenas behold the wound of his throat opened wide, and the sponge suddenly fell into the water, and after issued out a little remnant of blood, and his body being then without life, had fallen into the river, had I not caught him by the leg and so pulled him up. And after that I had lamented a good space the death of my wretched companion, I buried him in the sands there by the river.

Poem by John Donne.

Dear love, for nothing less than thee
WouldI have broke this happy dream;
It was a theme
For reason, much too strong for fantasy.
Therefore thou waked'st me wisely; yet
My dream thou brokest not, but continued'st it.
Thou art so true that thoughts of thee suffice
To make dreams truths, and fables histories;
Enter these arms, for since thou thought'st it best,
Not to dream all my dream, let's act the rest.

As lightning, or a taper's light,
Thine eyes, and not thy noise waked me;
Yet I thought thee
--For thou lovest truth-- an angel, at first sight;
But when I saw thou saw'st my heart,
And knew'st my thoughts beyond an angel's art,
When thou knew'st what I dreamt, when thou knew'st when
Excess of joy would wake me, and camest then,
I must confess, it could not choose but be
Profane, to think thee any thing but thee.

Coming and staying show'd thee, thee
But rising makes me doubt, tha now
Thou are not thou.
That love is weak where fear's as strong as he;
'Tis not all spirit, pure and brave,
If misture it of fear, shame, honour have;
Perchance as torches, which must ready be,
Men light and put out, so thou deal'st with me;
Thou camest to kindle, go'st to come; then I
Will dream that hope again, but else would die.

Song from the musical Fiddler on the Roof. In The Dream, Tevye "wakes up" screaming from a supposed dream he had in which various apparitions, including Tevye's grandmother and the deceased wife of Lazar Wolfe come back from beyond the grave to warn them that their oldest daughter, also named Tzeitel, should not follow the arranged marriage to the butcher, but instead to marry a poor tailor, or be subject to a curse. The made-up dream is Tevye's way of telling his wife that he had consented to let his daughter marry for love instead of by tradition.

A Television Show broadcast in Australia during the 2000 Olympics hosted by Roy and HG.

"The Dream" was an irreverent look at the day's competition at the games, and was well known for its mascot, Fatso the big-arsed wombat. Regular segments of the show included comical selections of bloopers such as athletes injuring themselves whilst competing, the Italian weightlifter dubbed "The mullet", "Kegs" the rotund judoka, and who could forget the "battered sav", "flat bag", "hello boys" and "crazy date" manouvres seen so often in the gymnastics events?

Also poked fun at such absurdities as the outfits worn by the Australians at both the opening and closing ceremonies, the New Zealand medal tally, Misty Hyman and the official games mascots dubbed "Sid, Olly and dickhead".


Roy and HG have successfully negotiated to host "The Dream" again at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt lake city.

There's a dream he doesn't tell anyone about because it's silly and it's just a dream. Then he decides to tell Kevin because it's not something he could ever share with a woman. Nothing sexual. It's that he can't have conversations about the nature of time and space with women. Eventually they want to talk about relationships or books and their eyes start wandering to people walking by and the next thing you know they're outside planting herbs. Canning fruit for a long cold winter almanacs predict perfectly but no computer model ever synthesizes.

Whatever force allows women to predict weather through groundhogs and woodchucks can't be beat by all the teraflops NOAA has at its disposal. Women are not made of the same thing that makes him dream of wormholes and eleven-dimensional superstrings that in the submicroscopic realm are like light shining through the perforations in spacetime itself. And the light on the other side is God or whatever you want to call the force that creates. The force that "brings forth". That's what happened to him. Brian was not born. He was brought forth.

What's the sense, anyway? How many people have sat in the mahogany-hued light of a neighborhood bar and pondered life's meaning over a couple shots of amber colored alcohol? Maybe all of them. You can't avoid puberty if you live long enough, and sooner or later you wind up in a bar wondering what life is about and the answer is it's all about how drinking makes you wonder about it.

Outside it's sleeting. New Jersey Christmastime. No fluffy Bing Crosby snowfall for Middletown in December. From the sky comes almost frozen, attention-deficit rain that changed its snowstorm plans on the way down. Instead of White Christmas they're getting a layer of miscreant adolescent ice that encases their cars and makes a trip to the mailbox a quest that necessitates crampons. It's a season that cries out for something crooned by troubled souls. A duet between Karen Carpenter and Kurt Cobain. Lyrics by Virginia Woolf.

He says it to Kevin -- what's it about -- and Kevin thinks it's cliche'. Passes him off with a hand wave and signal to Glenn to refill their glasses. In Briody's Glenn doesn't refill, he gives you a new glass every time so that eventually you're sitting behind enough glassware to stock the Sears housewares department. It's how Glenn can keep count after you've lost the ability.

Kevin taps the glass again to get the Glenn's attention and Brian goes on because he's sure the K-man hasn't got it.

"What I mean is, look - time is huge. I mean, fucking huge. And you carve out this little infinitesimal piece of it, and take this tiny grain-of-sand planet and throw it into so much space the light beams from the big bang haven't even reached the other side yet. And then you're sitting here for this less than an eye blink living your life. You have all this joy and pain and then you die. I mean, what's the point? If we weren't here it wouldn't make any difference. You know?"

"You want another Macallan? I really think you should try the Springbank. You haven't lived until you've tried the Campbelltown. Live a little."

"You're not listening," he tells Kevin, then decides it doesn't matter. "There are stars forming in the Triangulum and nothing we do here changes that. We couldn't stop it or start it or change their color."

Kevin tells Glenn to make the drinks double, and Glenn goes heavy on the pour. Winks at Kevin. Says, "But I won't be held responsible when he gets worse."

He figures they think he's going for the classic entertainment value of a staid conversation in a bar at midnight, but Brian's trying to communicate. Maybe he should have gone out with a woman instead of Kevin. By now he'd be halfway to getting laid. Instead, he's halfway to wishing he'd stayed home and watched Bonanza reruns. All those Cartwrights: dead. Well, they were actors but they're dead anyway.

Two hundred years from now, will anyone remember "Bonanza"? He says it out loud.

"No," Kevin says. "Did it ever occur to you how boring it is to be an existentialist? If life is meaningless, have a drink. Be happy. That's all you got, brother." He lifts his glass, and Brian does the same. Through the ice the distorted light from the red and blue Budweiser sign seems like a message from another universe. Maybe someone was trying to contact him from parallel dimension and they did it by imposing tiny irregularities in the timing of flashing lights on Christmas trees. He downs half the scotch in a gulp. If we're drinking, be a good drunk. That's Existentialism.

"No, that's Buddhism," Kevin says. Across the mirror behind the bar there's a green garland of fake pine entwined with twinkling lights. The blinking could contain an encoded message from the dead Bonanza dimension and Brian wonders if this is how epileptics are driven to seizures. It's uncontrolled reverie. Washes over you like the seventh wave at Sandy Hook and the next thing you know you're tumbling, unable to get your feet under you. Maybe you could get lost in a daydream and never come back. Could that be what death was?

"I had a dream last night," Brian says, getting to the crux of why he didn't answer Laurie's call and chose to spend a Jesuit night with Kevin instead of bobbing and weaving past Laurie's innuendo while she preened and threw back her shoulders and leaned over so he could follow his gaze into her cleavage after a few drinks. Instead, self-imposed celibacy. Get drunk, talk God, get into a fight. Those damn Jesuits purified the essence of what it meant to be male without women. They got into discussions. They got trashed. They got executed because they scared the reigning powers.

Tonight he was into that. Terrify the powers-that-be. If he wound up as dead as Lorne Greene, so be it. Wouldn't matter a hundred years from now, anyway.

"Is that what you think?" Kevin says. "That spending time with your old pal is no different than hanging with the fucking clergy?"

Brian hadn't realized his thoughts had been coming out. Had Kevin been reading his mind? Or had he been mumbling?

"I had a dream," Brian says.

"Yeah. For the last hour you had a dream. You and Martin King. How'd you like that Springbank, by the way? We're talking twenty-five a shot, so don't like it too much. Glenn'll give us a break though. Won't ya, buddy? For the home team?"

Glenn cashes out the last night owl and pours two more. The guy puts on his parka and hat and after he's gone Kevin suggests Glenn join them.

Glenn says, "Don't mind if I do. Puts a tumbler on the bar, finishes off the Springbank and tells them these three are on him. He leans on the bar, they clink glasses and Merry Christmas each other a drink.

"Ever think it would turn out like this?" Brian says, grasping at his train of thought like the rope tied to a mountain climber who's gone over the edge. It's gone. There'll be hell to pay. Someone's just died or maybe they just lost a rope. Hard to say.

Kevin says, "What? That'd we'd graduate high school and go on to be drunken derelicts mooching drinks off the star quarterback of the Jersey Shore Conference? Yes. Absolutely. It's what I wished for as a kid."

"I thought I'd be a rock star," Glenn says. "But then I realized a career in beverage distribution would be more rewarding."

"What about you?" Kevin says. "It's the time of the evening to rehash old loves and unfulfilled dreams. As an official failed priest I offer you my condolences on a miserable life -- Merry Christmas. The mystery of creation is that it all sucks. This is actually Hell, my boys. The good news is it doesn't get worse than this."

"So, really. The story. What ever happened with that? It doesn't go beyond the three of us," Glenn says to Kevin.

"The inside story? They're all latent perverts."

Brian elbows him. "And you are an actual pervert. So, you're saying a club of God-fearing pervert wannabes wouldn't have you."

Kevin gets misty-eyed as is wont to happen when three friends get drunk together. "Truth? Truth. What is truth?"

"A biblical quote," Brian says, remembering the rock opera. Christ to Pilate. Whoever wrote it was brilliant, and the man who said it, even more so. If anything, Jesus was brilliant. "Damn, Jesus. Some serious sonofabitch."

"To Jesus Christ, happy birthday," Glenn says, finishing his drink. He saunters to the front door and locks it. Turns off the outside lights, then goes back to the bar and opens a bottle he pulled from a drawer. "Was saving this. Dunno what for. Must have been for you sorry fucks." Pulls out three more glasses and pours two fingers into each one. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," Brian and Kevin say, toasting him and themselves.

"Tell me your dream," Kevin says to Brian.

"First the story of you breaking with the Jesuits."

Kevin sucks in a breath as if hit by a blast of cold air. Takes a drink. Wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, and then his eyes. "They're good men," he says. "They honestly believe what they do. They walk their walk. They're soldiers."

And now a tear rolls from his eye.

"Aww, Kevvie," Glenn says. "Nuff said."

"...and I'm not," Kevin says.

Brian puts his hand between his friend's shoulder blades because it's what he feels like doing. He pats his shoulder, touches his cheek thinking at first it was a little too much affection, and then, what the fuck. Hugs the guy. Kisses him on the forehead.

"You're a good man, Kevin. Been a good friend to me and Glenn. Solid. Always there."

"Stupid, eh?" Kevin says, wiping tears from his eyes with a cocktail napkin. "What a fucking jerk I am. So cliche', getting drunk and bawling."

Brian and Glenn exchange a glance that says that anything was okay just then. Maybe it was good, a little emotional purging. They'd feel stupid in the morning. For a few days it would be like they'd slept together. They wouldn't look each other in the eye until they'd each had the chance to let it die out, reraise the shields. Go back to life as normal. Wandering through New Jersey, completely insulated, trying not to stare at the tiny pebbles pushing from underneath a woman's top when she takes off her jacket -- thank God Glenn kept it a little cool. Trying to make conversation interesting they'd repeated for the thousandth time.

Yes, I grew up here. Yes, I once worked for NASA. Rockets. Space shuttle. Never was an astronaut. It was different then. Before you were born, probably. My apartment is right over there.

Wondering if she'll be different when she's undressed, and they're all different. And all the same.

So am I, Brian thinks. I am the same and I'm not.

"What about you?" Kevin asks Glenn.

"Happy right where I am," he says. "What else do I need? Business keeps itself going. I got you bastards to brighten my Christmas with your morose bullshit. Coffee time, yet? I'm calling you guys cabs."

Brian waves off the coffee.

"The dream," Kevin says. "I showed you mine."

Brian says, "I'm exactly what I wanted to be. Problem is, when you're a kid and decide you want to be a rocket scientist you don't realize what a crummy job it is."

"The rest of us did," Glenn says.

"You shouldn't pick your life's work until you've tried a bunch of things, is what I'm trying to say," Brian says.

"So we're all a bunch of miserable fucks," Kevin says. "Onto the dream before Glenn kicks us out on our asses in the snow."

"The dream, yes." Brian says, launching himself into pontification. Gather the thoughts flittering around like bees. Herding cats. Herding mosquitoes. Herding sharks. If they were women he'd start decorating his ideas. He'd start trying to figure out how groundhogs predicted the weather.

But they're guys so he'll bemoan Dan Blocker's death out loud, expect sympathy, and say what comes into his head.

"You've got men, and you've got women," Brian says. And they tell him he's brilliant. Glenn pours a little more from his private stash.

He continues. "You've got up and down. Positive and negative poles of magnets. Positive and negative terminals of batteries. Venus and Mars. Heaven and earth. Fire and water."

"Cristal and Thunderbird," says Glenn.

"Hall and Oates," says Kevin, and then he and Glenn bank a few more shots off Brian.

"You mean Budweiser versus Sierra Nevada."

"Boy George and Morrissey"

Glenn says, "Kev, did anyone ever tell you the eighties were not only dead and gone but that everybody who survived is pretty goddamned happy about it?"

Kevin ignores him. Says to Brian, "Brilliant thesis. You're going for a patent on this one I hope. It's the new Baby on Board sign."

"Case in point," says Glenn, wiping down the bar with a wet dishrag.

Brian says, "Why are we so different? Why make things in pairs of opposites? Well, because when everything is the same, everything disappears. Take outer space. Lots of emptiness in all directions. Emptiness doesn't mean anything. The only things with meaning in space are the stars and planets and black holes, because they're different. Hot burning stars, dense matter in the middle of cold nothingness. You can't experience a homogeneous universe."

"But you can experience a homosexual universe," Kevin says. "And let me tell you, it can really suck."

Brian hugs him again. "If I was gay, I'd marry you," he says. Then to Glenn, "You didn't hear that."

"I'd marry him anyway. But Gracey won't let me," he says. Smiled with teeth.

Gets one out of Kevin who reminds them they don't live in a world that wants to see him married. Kevin says, "When they were handing out lives nobody else wanted to be me so I'm the slob who wound up getting the job."

"Well, that's the point. Your theory of the universe being one of endless miserable suction," Brian says. "I think you're probably wrong. Because what hit me in my dream is that, get the logic of it, we're so tiny. We're here for such a short time. Look at us from a star's point of view. During the lifetime of a star the earth forms from rock, dinosaurs rise and go extinct. The human race rises and falls. And it's all gone by the time you're old enough to drive."

"You're losing me, big boy. And it's getting late." Glenn picks up the phone, Kevin nods, and Glenn calls for a cab.

Kevin says, "Oh, I get it. Look at it from Ben Afleck's point of view. You can't act but you're pretty. Your whole life comes and goes in a bubble of a false sense of talent and nobody tells you you suck because they like looking at you and so the fact you act like you're in the high school talent show is meaningless. And you die believing you're good and eventually, a hundred years from now, the French name a bridge after you. You mean something like that, right?"

"What I'm saying is it's all for us," Brian says, and he lets the two of them sit in the silence of the idea for a few seconds before he says, "Imagine the big wooden roller coaster at Great America. It takes years to design and build. And you ride it, for what? Ninety seconds at most? The thing is there for years in someone's mind. Gets built over the course of years. You ride it for a minute, and leave. And it goes on for years and years after you leave. The whole thing is about the experience."

"So you're saying life is a roller coaster you ride and puke?" Kevin says. "I can buy that."

"No, what I'm saying is it's this. Right here. All of it was built for us to be here together. For this one brief experience. There can't be any other reason. It doesn't make sense, otherwise."

"That is one fucked up dream," Glenn says. The yellow light of the sign mounted on the roof of a car moves into view through the bar's front window. Glenn says, "Eventually in this dream Jennifer Aniston gives you a blow job, right?"

Brian sighs. Now he feels misty eyed and he slides off his barstool. Grabs his coat and hat from the rack and pulls out his wallet. Glenn holds up a palm like Brian knew he would. Got to remember to buy a gift for him. Knows he'll forget.

He puts his wallet back. Kevin follows him toward the door, and Glenn turns off the lights behind the bar. "I'll clean up in the morning," he says, unlocking the door for them.

The three guys hug each other in pairs, each taking slightly longer than would have been appropriate in a crowded room. Brian and Glenn pat each other on the back the way guys have to after a hug to let each other know it's not serious. Nothing serious. Just life.

"The whole cast of Friends, actually," Brian says, as he opens the door. "One by one."

"Now that's a dream," Glenn says. "You need a shrink to tell you what that means."

"I'll be sure to find one tomorrow."

Glenn turns off the lights and locks the door behind them. They venture forward into the cold dark night trailing tiny white puffs of breath vapor.

Opening my eyes, red numbers glow in my face. They're supposed to mean something, yet I am unable to get their meaning. I try to collect my thoughts, make a coherent picture of the world, but all I can do is focus on the cold, yellow ceiling. Try to sit up, try to break the focus. Halfway up now, yet I find it impossible to gather strenght enough to finish. It feels like minutes passes, as I sit half-erect, staring straight up. In the end, my will succumbs, and I fall backwards into the soft waters of the mattress.

In the dream, I am trapped. Yellow brick walls grow up around me, high, and above them, the sky, dark with clouds. Yet it is a way out. Trying to find a grip, trying to climb up, there's none.

I awake as the alarm clock rings. Once again, the yellow ceiling stares down at me, and it takes a few moments for me to realize I'm in my room, awake. Sunlight comes from the window, yet it cannot dispel the sterility and coldness of the room. It's a reflection of my life. Cold and sterile, meaningless. Skipping breakfast, I go straight for school.

My focus is slipping. The teachers droning sounds like porridge slowly running from a ladle into a platter, and I find myself in the brick prison again, with no way out. Wait. There's a pickaxe here. I smash it into a wall. Hit after hit, crumbles fall out, a hole opens up, and I look through. It's no longer as dark, the clouds dispersing. Joy and hope fills me, and these feelings are kept as the class ends, and I groggily step into the school cafe. I order myself some coffee, and sit down at an empty table. As in my dream, the sky is now partially clouded. It seems like it might rain later. No matter, I've got my umbrella. A girl asks me if the chair by my table is occupied. I answer her, no, just take it. To my surprise, she sits down here, asking me for my name. We end up talking for some time, before she finishes her drink and has to leave for her next class. Me, I have to do the same.

The next day, we meet again, at the same spot. I seem to interest her, and in the end we agree to meet after school. The remaining classes are, unsurprisingly, slow, but finally, I get to leave, get to meet my girl. We meet at a pizza place, have a snack together. The pizza is really good, yet it isn't what is on my mind.

The last few days, the dream has recurred. It always seems to start off the same place as I left it last time, and every time I manage to pry out another brick, and see more of the sky, clearer and clearer. I've met my girl every day. She gives me hope. She gives me joy. And today I asked her out on a real date. I got a yes. As I walk home, I notice the strange sky. On one side, the sky is cloudfree, and the sun shines down on me. On my left, however, the sky is dark, and it seems to be raining in the distance.

The opening is almost big enough now. Strange how that dream seems to be the only one I've had since I met her. Well, it is much better than my previous nightmares, so I do not care. As for the date, it went well, and so did many more. We are now officially a couple. My life seems to have taken a complete turn since that day. Life is, for once, good, I think to myself as I undress and go to bed. She comes as well, snuggling up close to me, and in my arms she falls asleep.

I find myself in the dream. Salvation is near. The sky is so amazingly blue, the sun shines from somewhere behind me, and in the distance I see my girl. Another strike, dislodging a last brick. I've made it! The wall is crumbling, falling down! Freedom, at last!

Too late I realize the wall is falling inwards...

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