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Where are the Dreams of My Youth?

by Edd Vick

The future visits me in the night.

I often wake disturbed by dreams of carriages that move without steeds, tiny actors who perform dramas in small boxes, metal ships that sail the skies. Doctors fail to curb these dreams, spiritual advisors condemn but do not curtail them. Engineers are the worst, they ask me to examine more closely these apparati, to endeavour to divine their inner workings.

What am I, I ask them. A working man?

It haunts me that it could be reality that I dream. Am I a man of my time and place dreaming of such wonders, or am I some denizen of this far future who in reveries thinks himself me? I remember, when I was in short pants, a dream where I thought myself a bear cub dreaming he was a boy. It seems more decent to dream retrograde, as men have always done.

I age, I grow weary of my constrained life. It would be wonderful to ride away in these marvelous conveyances and see foreign climes. I instruct my valet to waken me at a random time of his choosing every night. I wake, I put pen to paper and record my observations. Sometimes I am jolted awake before I am even completely asleep, sometimes I awake naturally and am vaguely amused to see my man approach.

And sometimes, I am awakened by one or another of my thirty alarm clocks. They are each set to a different time and I pick one at random to switch on after turning off the light.

Most mornings I wake in the middle of a dream. These dreams always feature ballrooms, fancy dress parties, cantering through manicured formal gardens. Everyone is cultured, conversing in their screenplay-perfect lines.

I shuffle through my third-story walkup, wondering whose dreams I have. When I was four I dreamed that I was a dolphin who dreamed he was a little boy, and spoke only in a bubbly made-up language for the rest of the day. It could be that I am an aristocrat dreaming of myself in this lousy existence. I just need to wake up in the right life.

And so I set my alarms, and dream away the nights, imagining other days in another guise, and wake again to this humdrum life of perpetual hunts and balls.

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