Do I Still?
Dreams are other worlds that we holiday in during our subconscious, other times that we revisit long after the event, moments in history etched into the psyche. We voyeur through a portal to another time or place, sequential or parallel and dwell there unnoticed searching for the answers to things long forgotten. I learnt this in my childhood and experimented with it throughout my adulthood. I learnt that we are indeed the music makers, the dreamers of dreams.
So much time trapped in insomnia stricken nights; I needed to find a way to escape from the confines of my bedroom prison. Staring at artexed ceilings and woodchip coated walls, hoping that my mind would finally succumb to the sanctuary of sleep. My vision would start to break and I would see double as the muscles in my eyes tensed with the stress of sleep deprivation. I searched for remedies that would allow me onward on my journey to the next morning, and found it in the art of dream walking.
I close my eyes and breathe in the darkness, invite it to surround me, engulf me, allow the R.E.M to take me away. I clear my mind and slowly tune into the signals that we can only receive while we sleep. There are things that I see that I cannot understand and will never comprehend. There are people that I do not know and will never see again. There are places that do not exist, colours that are grey, faces featureless and nondescript.
Having escaped the limitations of my body and its restrictions in this world, the factual, the truth, the logical, I wander in a dimension bound only by the infinite. I drift through the clouds of thought that mass in a cluttered mind. I float high above myself as if through the ethereal, unfettered by human sequential reasoning.
Higher, higher, higher.
In this place, I can go wherever I choose, and I have chosen. I have chosen her mind, her dreams. I choose to wander on the periphery of her thoughts, slowly examining her memories, looking for the evidence, the clues to what happened all that time ago.
I find myself at the gate of her thoughts, hear her mind slowly processing the dayís incoming audio visuals, so I sit and reflect on her days experiences. I wonder if I should violate this space again and feel guilty about the restlessness it will inflict upon her. Without the composure required to control her dreams, my presence in her mind will send shockwaves through her system causing her brain to defend itself from the intruder.
The electro nerve pulses generated will attack me like the immune system attacks a virus, but my mind is stronger and I can defend myself against the wave of attacks; having long mastered the skill required to visit another person. Unfortunately, she will suffer because I have been there. It will cause her to have slight nightmares as her dreams are disrupted during my search through her memory banks. That is something I struggle with, my continuing ability to make her suffer.
I rest for a while and watch the images that she is currently generating, before I start the arduous task of taking her back to the time that I want her to remember. I work like a remote psychotherapist, influencing what she is thinking. I regress her back through images with which I am not familiar, nor interested. I slowly mix in thoughts of my own to help her find the moment for which we search. She recognises them, instantly responds and we start down the correct path to the memories of our time. Only this time I will see them from her perspective, understand them in only a way that she could.
I watch and watch.
There is something uneasy about watching the events your life through the memories of someone else. It doesnít compare with watching a video-recorded moment. Video is so exact, so emotionless. Memories have associations and baggage. You are not watching things as they happened only how the person thought they happened. That is the importance of experiencing their memories. You can tell so much about someoneís feelings for an event by how they have recorded it in their mind. You can tell how many times they have revisited the memory by the tell tale signs of revision and editing.
Luckily, the mind keeps all the changes, allowing you to slowly peel away the layers of embellishment built up over time and find the original memory. This in itself is a skill beyond simply putting yourself inside someone elseís mind.
I find myself nearing my goal. The thought patterns tread on familiar territory. I experience the joy of her experiencing the moments again. These were indeed happy times for her and that means sow much to me but it isnít the reason for my visit. I need to know more, I need to experience it for myself, albeit by borrowing her memories. I need to understand, to comprehend, to know completely what it was that I was feeling at that time. Why has it haunted me for so long? Why has it clouded my judgment on others, holding me back from searching for that feeling once again? In the end it all comes down to closure, I must have some, and I am close, so close.
I hear her voice.
She speaks softly to me, but it isnít a memory. The voice is real, real inside my head, my thoughts, my memories, my dreams. I see her face. I see her body. She walks through the mists of our minds, heading toward me, toward an unprecedented meeting on this plane of existence. Has my being here so many times allowed her to master the process? Have I unwittingly managed to pass on the knowledge required to walk the world of dreams? Has she always been able to do it? Has she been visiting me? Is that why I have been restless? Is that why I needed to make this journey of self-discovery? Did she invite me here, always been aware of me raiding her memories, our memories?
"It is time for you to leave." A voice says. "It is time for you to move on."
"But I need to know." I say.
"What do you need to know?"
"Do I still?"
"You know, youíve always known."
"Then why am I here?"
"Because I needed to know."
"Needed to know what?"
"Do you still?"
"Do you still?" I asked.
"Yes I do."
Do I still? I asked myself. "Yes I do."
I slept, peacefully.
The following is a poem that inspired the above story.
Do I StillÖ
You have been plaguing my dreams of late
Many turbulent nights spent hiding
Coldly haunting the edge of my nightmares
Creeping through my consciousness
Are you trying to contact me or do I summon?
It is a very long way to be looking back
With nothing to focus on
Mist disguising anything that showed meaning
Nothing that I understand now
Although I believed I understood.
Drip, drip, the cold tears long since dried up
Sweet wine, drunk in bitter circumstances
Forgotten smiles that meant so much
Lost in the search for absolution
Although we havenít spoken for such a long time
I hear the questions, the accusations, and the judgement
Do we seek judgement?
Is it the truth surrounded by the lies?
Was there ever any truth?
Vivid images, mind photographs
All standing so vague
What is it I need to know so much?
Do you now seek to exorcise me?
What precious thing am I still hopelessly searching for?
Flicking through mental albums
Each memory a forgotten picture
To what do I so solemnly grasp?
I promised myself that my mind would be free
Have you seen me?
Was I happy?
Did I look free?
Do I just wander alone in the minds of the sleepless?
Smile of distress, tears of joy,
Do you ever think about me?
Did I ever exist?
Is there something that we need to put to rest?
Do I still write you?
Do I still think about you?
Do I still...?