I dreamt in the middle of another dream, that I was suddenly awake. All around me was stale air and in front of me, a stony road built itself. I assumed I must walk on it, see it to the end. What could that end be? – I murmured to nobody. Because nobody was there except me.
The scenery was constantly changing, from being deserted to being overpopulated till finally there stood in front of me a massive arena. It resembled the roman colosseum, with people living in small rooms where there should be stands. The electricity of a sea of people, jostling about their daily lives, drew me in. Upon entering I knew one thing for sure – this is where I wanted to be. I could see people rushing past me. It was the most synchronized chaos that I had seen. A market filled with little shops and big shops, vendors selling little fish and big fish, big vendors selling potatoes and small vendors selling more potatoes, a shopkeeper running after a little girl who had a thief’s sparkle in her eyes as she ran past me, causing my clothes to flutter in the wind. I was so out of place with my indecisiveness, so out of place with my jaw unhinged at the circus I somehow became a part of. And yet you couldn’t find me if you didn’t try very hard.
I roamed about, taking it all in, wandering this city in a stadium. I saw the grounds and it resembled a battlefield, the likes of which you read about in Asterix and Obelisk. And again, I was in the middle of it, no spear touching me, no animals trampling me. War all around me, but I couldn’t see which side was winning. I could only see soldiers with heavy armour and arrows sticking out of the parts of their bodies they decided to not protect. But if everyone was falling then who stood? It seemed to me that every man would kill and then get killed till it created a pattern of soldiers who died, their last actions being that which most would condemn, till finally there would stand only one, because there was no one left to kill him. And then he would go back home, to his wife and children, and tell them how heroic he was that day, when he knew it was sheer mathematics.
The battlefield morphed quickly into a stage and large groups of people gathered in front of that stage, listening intently to what the man with the mic had to say. I couldn’t grasp what he was saying because it was too loud, but I felt reassured by the cheering and the applause. There were no signs of battle on the grounds. It never happened.
I strolled back into the stands, where people had built homes out of single rooms and double rooms, and the wealthy had their own balcony. After a while I realized I was in the uppermost corridor, rooms to the left and right. A cursory glance into these rooms could tell you more about the people than you could find out if you lived with them. Although in reality it only gives you glimpses of their lives which you then make the focus of the story you form in your head. You see a woman sweeping her house, her hand brushing her perspiring forehead and you think she’s tired and must be at it the entire day. Cleaning up all the mess her family leaves behind regularly. You can see her sad life unfold before your eyes. You think she probably has children and a husband who doesn’t help out much. But she could just be the maid, happy to do the job because it pays.
I reached a staircase and saw for the first time in my entire time here, a girl. I mean really saw her. She was the only shape that was fully formed and wasn’t blurry. Naturally I walked up to her. She must have heard my footsteps, loud as everything was, because she looked up suddenly, teary eyed. Underneath her dark circles and scars I could tell she could not have been older than 19. I sat down beside her, concerned and she told me that she was running away. Who from? She told me but I couldn’t hear her properly. Why? The scars on her face and neck answered the question I was just about to ask. Why have you stopped then? She said she was resting and she lost sight of her follower a while back. But he could be here any minute. And no sooner had I thought that, did we hear thundering footsteps accompanied by an enraged voice that blew over every other sound. She looked at me panic-stricken and I knew I was in this with her. We got up and ran as fast as we could, down those steps till we reached the ground. It was a maze of people and we had to get past them, angry voices still within earshot. No matter how fast or slow I ran, I was always two steps behind her and our chaser could never catch up to us. Battling the thick crowd, pushing and shoving our elbows into unknown faces, we finally made it to the entrance of the city where she stopped and turned around. I stopped and turned around too and I could see many people but I didn’t know which one we were running away from. I told her this and she said, “trust me he’s coming. And if we don’t get out, he’l be here and he’l kill us.” She then took a last look at her home and walked out. I took a last look at the city I wanted to live in and followed her.
The cobbled road was still there like I knew it would be. This time I led the way back home, and she walked beside me.
Most dreams paint a world that we are afraid of or that we yearn to live in. Sometimes the two are the same thing. And there comes a point when you realize your utopia is really your nightmare and the need to save someone from this nightmare that you created becomes very important to you.
I think it was me I saved in that dream.