· ★ ·
9 June 2021
I dreamed I had a choice.
I’m sure it was a dream: I made the right choice.
I’m tired of making mistakes. Although, perhaps, I’ve never been really wrong. I just surrendered too early.
In the dream, I opened a door. The light of a new world illuminated me beyond its threshold. I knew I had chosen well because it was easy to proceed. At every step, I was sure the direction taken was the correct one.
My wonder was as light as the flight of swallows. I felt I was floating on a surface as impalpable as happiness, there, where happiness had a precise definition: it was me.
The best emotions accompanied me but remained hidden, like a background supporting my heart. I was myself, and the world granted me unconditional appreciation.
I have an indelible memory of that world. It was called Essence. Not just me and none excepted, everyone was the mirror of their own absolute and finite truth while refracting the infinite.
On Essence, there was no superfluous, only the essential.
· ★ ·
When I wake up, it’s as if I’m standing upright in the middle of a lawn. The sun is high and beating. But a large oak tree gives me shade, and a fresh breeze caresses me as if it wants to tickle me. Even if I feel it, I don’t notice it.
A wall covered with ivy is in front of me. It bars my way. On the wall, there are five doors.
For an unknown reason, I’m sure they are made of solid wood. They’re painted in pastel colors, except for one. Each one has a metal plaque engraved with unknown writing that I mysteriously understand.
I look at the shiny steel knobs. I know all the doors are open, yet I don’t approach as I don’t know which one to choose.
Who am I?
From the left, the first door is yellow. The inscription says: “Big dream, big hazard.” The second door is orange, and its inscription says: “Certainties repel essence.” The third door is green: “A new solution is an uncertainty.” The fourth is blue: “There is always another way.“
Then the last one. It’s the only one that has no color. It’s black of a blackness that seems to swallow the light around. It would look like a squared hole if it weren’t for the silver knob and the “Surrender” plaque, both suspended over an abyss.
Five doors. One choice.
The breeze urges me as if it wants to push me away. “It isss better,” it whispers to me. “Lisssten…” Yet, I got this far, and I’m not the type to run away from life’s defiance.
I’m used to facing them head-on and give up when someone shatters my illusions when the worst is already over. I’m the man of half-won challenges—the Incomplete.
I’m the one who believed in himself by defeating the most hostile predictions. The one who retracted his arm when he had the dream within reach. The same man who gave up then shrugged off the defeat and today sets a new horizon.
If only that wall got out of the way!
I exist a second time in the illusion, but I’m frozen in front of five doors. And I’m unable to choose.
Who would I like to be?
It’s been since I was 14 that my daydream has never changed. I surrounded myself with books since writing was escaping. Words were my refuge.
I wrote when they told me that I was ignorant, that I dreamed of the impossible. I didn’t stop when they tried to destroy me. I challenged them with death in my heart.
Then the wounds began to be too many, to not have time to heal anymore. So I destroyed myself. I bowed my head, turned away, and left.
I don’t even know how long it took, but I’m back. Now I must face a tough choice—the umpteenth.
· ★ ·
My dream is still alive. Mr. Dream stands there, in silence, in front of me, with that light-hearted air, between amused and sad. He’s refined, dresses well, and he’s staring at me, seated on the bench under the oak.
Aware that I cannot avoid choosing, I take a break. Anyway, I can’t make head or tail out of it. Stopping to stare at the doors, I approach the man.
“Please,” he tells me and invites me with a gesture to sit beside him.
Okay. Let’s chat with Mr. Dream. Fine, but do I have something to tell him? Or maybe I expect him to speak?
“We can also remain silent,” he tells me. I study him. He looks away in a relaxed manner. He extracts a pack of cigarettes, takes out one, and lights it. He’s watching the park, not me.
“You still smoke, do you understand?” I tell him.
Finally, he looks at me and smiles. “It’s a dream. It doesn’t harm you.”
“No, but I quit.“
“I understand.” He takes another puff of tobacco and blows the smoke up, tilting his head back. “So, you consider me the past.“
I think about it for a moment, frowning: that statement puzzles me. “I don’t consider anything. I wonder why you are still around.”
“You quit smoking, not dreaming.“
A gust of wind rises. Something seems to change in the air. I look at the wall. Nothing. Nothing has changed. It’s just my imagination or my fears.
“I thought I’d take it slower this time,” I comment. “Take things easy, let’s say.“
“Does it suit you?“
“If I had the answer to this question, I wouldn’t have stuck in front of these doors.” I point to the wall with my chin.
“Mmh.” Mr. Dream nods. “Do not forget who you are.“
I laugh. “What is it, a threat?“
Mr. Dream doesn’t laugh at all. He stares at me as if he’s tracking my insecurity to tear it apart. “Is that what you think, then?“
The question hits the mark. I half-open my mouth, uncertain, and close it again. There is really nothing that I can answer without making a fool of himself.
I inhale deeply and blow the air out with force. I rest my forearms on my knees and scan the wall. I must admit it: the only thing that seems reassuring to me is the ivy.
“It’s not a matter of knowing how to choose.“
What? I turn my head and observe the man. I recorded the sound of the sentence while I was inattentive, and I repeat it to myself. “Isn’t it?“
“What then?” I ask, ready to accept the answer.
“You must answer this question. I can’t.“
“The choice will be a natural consequence when you answer yourself,” concludes Mr. Dream, who stands up. He throws his cigarette on the ground and stamps it out with the leather sole of his elegant shoes.
“You smoke and are uncivil,” I comment.
“You know perfectly well that what I do doesn’t matter,” he replies. He lifts his hat as a sign of greeting and goes around the bench. “See you soon, Andrea.“
I let him go. I, too, get to my feet with a sigh and go back to the wall with a slow, circumspect step. The choice spoils my thoughts. My shoulders are heavy, and my legs are sore.
Maybe I somatize, and nothing is real, but I feel like a wet rag.
I can give up, I tell myself. It’s one of the choices. I raise my arms in front of me and let them fall back, giving me a double pat on the thighs. Giving up? You? I pursue my lips. You must be crazy! You would haunt yourself for the rest of your days.
Okay, but what is the solution to this puzzle? Which door will help me reach my Essence?
A crow swoops down on me like lightning. Before I can dodge it, it lands on my left shoulder, sticking its claws into my flesh. I cannot help crying in pain, and I try to chase it away with a backhand, but the bird pecks my hand.
“No!” he croaks.
I cannot describe my expression. I understand it’s a dream, but it seems to me that things border on the grotesque!
“I am a messenger. I’ll bring you the answer.“
I resign myself to the absurd, even because the crow is doing me a lot of harm. “Could you tighten a little less?” I beg him with a grimace. “Or do you want to make me cry for the pain?“
” Stay still, then.“
I freeze. Finally, the claws loosen their grip.
“Now spit the answer out,” I tell him sourly, gritting my teeth. “Which door is the correct one?“
“Any, if you believe it.“