Whatever it is that he’d been dreaming about? It was gone. Gone, and he couldn’t get it back, no matter how hard he tried. No matter how hard he reached, stretched, extended his grasp, those dreams weren’t coming back. It’s not like he needed them, but sometimes, a man liked to get a good look at his subconscious, see what it had to say to him. So far? It hadn’t said shit.
That was the story of his life, though. A whole lot of conversations, formed by a long-stretched silence, going nowhere special and saying nothing in particular. At the end of every day, it was like he was holding little vowels without sounds behind them, sad little stories about a deer and a man, as Rasputina had said it.
That didn’t sit well with him, either. It didn’t please him, to know that he’d lived his life saying nothing, doing nothing, going nowhere. Had he had his druthers, his life would’ve been full of talks that looked like birds of paradise, every color you could imagine. Any colour you like. Wasn’t that the name of some Pink Floyd album? Damn good album, in his book.
And so he lived his life a day at a time without knowing what it is that he wanted to say. Didn’t know what anyone wanted to say, if you wanted to know the truth of it. He could never quite formulate what all of those pointless conversations were supposed to mean.
It was like a mathematical problem, with a whole boatload of numbers, but no signs. He didn’t know where to subtract, where to add, where to divide, nor what to multiply. Was there supposed to be a parenthesis in there somewhere? What did they call that shit? Order of operation, that’s it. It was some huge collaboration of letters that didn’t change the equation they added up to.
That was what his dreams were like. At the end of the night, the start of the morning, whatever the hell you wanted to call it, he had nothing to show for himself. No notes, hurriedly jotted down in the middle of the night, no snatches of something he barely remembered. He would just sit up in his bed, fuzzy headed, with nothing there in his mind, no magically charming dust motes of dreams.
Not a damned thing.
It was enough to drive a grown man mad. Even as a child, he’d had nothing. No aspirations because he had no dreams. When every other little kid in the second grade was dreaming of being an astronaut, a firefighter, a what-the-fuck-ever, he’d sat in class, round-eyed and dumb, without a thing that came to mind of what he wanted to be when he grew up.
He never understood why all of those things came so easily to the other children. They’d been so sure of themselves, happy little magpies that had always instantly had an answer to blurt out. They’d been there with their crayons, their construction paper, glue and glitter, ready to slap down some haphazard drawing of their fathers, their mothers. They had all of these drawings at their chubby little fingertips, ready to be scribbled out, ignoring the neat lines they were told to stay in.
And there he’d been, staring at that hideously tan piece of paper – he always had, always would hate that color – without a clue as to what to put on it. There was nothing that came to mind. He’d spent all of his childhood that way, too; fond, but not in love, if you will, with the idea that one day he had to grow up and be something. He’d have to fit into some little cubicle, some little mold. It was just like in his youth, in his class; he had to stay in the lines when he colored, you know?
So very confining, life is. When you’re young, there’s all these rules to stick to. You think that when you get older, you won’t have to worry about them all that much, either. The rules will be a thing of the past, but they’re not. There’s still an ass-load of things that are expected of you, and the first, foremost, be-all, end- all thing? You have got to know what you want to be, when you grow up.
It had taken a decade and change for him to realize just what it was he wanted to be, when he grew up: a dreamer.