In the cab earlier this evening, I almost dozed off. A few seconds went by, and before I fully went under, I looked at the city outside the glass window with my eyes wide open. Frantically, I pinched my wrist. None of it had been a dream. It was all real; I was still living this life. But then, I thought, why does it feel precisely like that—a dream? Why does my sleep sit an inch away from me? Why do I dream of the same day over and over again, as if I was getting a chance to do things again? I fear one day I will pinch myself, and it won’t hurt, that I will not be able to tell one from the other, that this world and this life will begin and end in me, and I will be alive continually, never stopping to get a rest. As soon as I hit the bed, I will wake up again, and not having a way to tell any of it apart, I will continue to live my best, for that is what I was taught to do from the beginning.
It may be curious to some, but it is exhausting in practice—to dream of your days, only with little variations, soft ripples of life: people who should not be there, buildings that should be long gone, coffee shops that never existed. All of it so odd but simultaneously so familiar, as if I had lived there forever, and I have, for when I dream, and if I find myself on a street I have walked before, I immediately recognise it. It seems like a trick of the light, like a kaleidoscope. There is so much I experience over and over again, so many people I say goodbye to. Then they show up again, sit with me, and talk to me. When I wake up, I feel betrayed. It is impossible to explain it to someone who has not had the joy and the loss of dreaming about a life that does not exist. When you are dreaming, and something happens that you know has no possibility of happening, that the people should not be there, that those tasks are already done, that the apartment is already cleaned, you do not know what to make of it, and so you give in and live again.
Often, I wake up exhausted from having lived already, but sometimes, I am unsure. I wake up in a cab and cannot tell things apart for a second. It fills me with awe and dread alike. Then, I continue living—as one must.