I often only dream of the world I am in, but there are changes, little aberrations from what I know, a street placed in a slightly different way, a building that should not exist, a stream of water where there is none. It baffles me how these places have stayed the same over the years. That is to say, if I were to dream about the home I grew up in again, I would also dream of a canal-like stream about five hundred metres from it. There is no stream. But my mind remembers what it dreamt first.
There are countless buildings—their details saved from when they were first conjured, and streets—streets I know like the back of my hand but have never truly seen because they do not exist. But who is to tell me this world, this living, breathing world in my head, is not real? There are places I have never been to nor seen, but they do exist. I remember them. Quite regularly, when simply lost in thought, I remember things rather vividly, almost like how we recall a day from long ago. Then it occurs to me: this lucid memory is a lie. When I stress to think about where I saw the building or what the day was like, I realise it was a dream.
In moments like those, where I can almost picture something enough to draw it, I question everything I know to be real. The other day, I thought of a beautiful Prussian blue building, down to the last step on each staircase. I sat trying to remember when I first visited it, for it was as normal as recalling any other, but there was no memory. And it occurred to me that it has been in a dream all the times I’ve seen it. It does not exist. I have never been to it. I would not know where it was even if it existed in this world.
It is but rumination to even talk about it. These matters are far bigger than me for me to even begin solving them, but it compels me to ask: what is real?
Did this person whose life I dream of have a stream near his home growing up? Does he visit blue buildings or walk on streets leading to an old tenement where he lives? Does he dream of this flat, this desk, of writing these words? Does he faintly recall them, too? I would never know.
For now, the blue skies of early July demand me to go out for coffee.