by Stephanie Geary
I smooth down the blankets which are covering me and bury my head deeper into my pillow. My body is weary, and I ache in all the places I can feel; the familiar pull of sleep is dragging me down and I consider where I want to go tonight. I wonder what I will see and who I will choose to become.
You see, I have what some would call a party trick or a gift of sorts.
I can choose what dreams I have before I go to sleep. It’s not a killer special power like invisibility or being able to fly but it is kind of cool being able to decide what I dream of whist I am in the land of nod. Some days I choose to be a famous actress and walk onto a glitzy stage to collect an award or I model the latest fashion on the catwalk. A few weeks ago, I rode a camel across the Sahara Desert before sunbathing under the hot scorching sun.
Every day I lay in my bed and focus on what I want to dream about, and I simply let myself fall asleep and welcome the new experience. I have walked amongst dinosaurs, visited historical places and drove a fast car around a figure of eight track. Each night I live out an exciting new adventure. Obviously, dreams are still tricky to keep on track and they can still get a bit random but I can at least choose the theme for my dream, even if it does lose its thread a little as it goes along.
Tonight, I have thought of something new I would like to do. Something which I would like to do more than anything else in the world.
So, I close my eyes and focus with all my might whilst my body and mind slowly slip into sleep. The darkness washes over me and I feel lighter, almost as though I am floating off the bed.
And then I see bright white light, blue sky and a long delicately placed wedding aisle set outside in a beautiful field of lavender; the aisle is decorated with strewn white roses and pretty tealights. Either side of the aisle are white wicker seats with dusty pink bows decorated on the back of each one. In the seats are guests, all talking and waiting.
They wait for me. I look down at myself and see that I am wearing a long white wedding gown, decorated with diamantes and lace. It hangs from me, leaving a trail behind. To my left is my Father; he looks at me proudly, speaking words to me, words that I can’t quite hear. It is almost like he is talking underwater. I look back towards the aisle and I see familiar people amongst the guest, the chairs have changed from wicker chairs to pews. My mother sits at the front, dabbing the corners of her eyes with a lacy handkerchief. A few seats behind her is my best friend, April. She is dressed in black as though she is attending a funeral, she too is dabbing at her eyes. I take another look down at my dress and see that it has changed slightly, the cut is different, and the sleeves are now long in length and not short. I try to see my legs but it is as though I am floating.
I look back up towards the front of the aisle and then I see him. Robert. The one and only guy I have ever loved. He is looking back at me, smiling. His dimple in his right cheek is evident now and I feel myself smiling back. His hand reaches out and he beckons me forward. I look to my left for my Dad, but he is no longer with me. I search for him amongst the people in the congregation and see him sitting beside my mother, his head down in his hands as though is grieving. Robert still has his hand outstretched, so I walk forward towards him, taking each step slowly and memorising each second. As I walk, Robert creeps ever further away without taking a step. Its as though I am walking on a travellator going in the wrong direction. I start to run as I am eager to get to Robert before I wake up. I know this is a dream and I know that this moment cannot last forever. I jump forward, launching myself at him, and Robert catches me in his arms. He looks down at me and he stares deeply into my eyes and mouths words at me, which again I cannot hear. But I know by the look in his eyes that he is saying he loves me. Suddenly I look around and we are at our reception, we are dancing to our favourite song and he holds me to him. Robert kisses me on the top of the head and I hold him to me, praying that I won’t wake up soon. We spin around the room, everything and everyone becoming non-existent. He whispers, ‘Goodbye’ into my ear and then I notice that I am dancing on my own. The room is in darkness and I am suddenly sitting in a wheelchair, my legs numb. I scream but no words come out…
…I wake suddenly and see that the sun is starting to stream in though the window. I can hear whispered words outside my door and I let the silent tears course down my cheeks. I lie waiting for someone to come in. As though she has read my mind, my mother walks in and smiles sadly when she sees that I am awake. She crosses the room and touches my hand lightly. My mother, the strong person in our family unit is struggling to speak. Her mouth moves but she appears to be finding it difficult to put a sentence together.
‘I have sad news, sweetheart. I am so sorry that I have to tell you this, but Robert’s Dad spoke to me in the corridor…they are talking about turning off his machine tomorrow…’
I close my eyes, I hear her words, but they don’t penetrate. All at once I see the events of yesterday play in rapid succession through my mind. Me and Robert in his car on the way to a concert. The other car as it collided with us. The vision of Robert half thrown out of the front screen window, staring blankly but twitching violently as his body struggles to deal with the impact. I remember the pain in my legs and the fear as I watch Robert dying in front of me. The fire crew cutting me free. The blue flashing lights. The doctors talking to my parents about my damaged spine and legs.
Everything comes back to me and I squeeze my eyes shut, willing myself to fall back asleep so I can dream of us together again. I don’t want to live in a world where Robert isn’t here. All I have now is my pointless ability which will allow me to see him whenever I want….
…but what good is a dream if it isn’t real?