These events occurred somewhere in a place I've been. A place where time passes dreamily. A place where our heart's desires are fulfilled. Where every yearning heart is held and kept and lifted up in loving embrace. Please play safe and be kind to yourselves and to one-another.
Our community always felt like a small town. In truth, it is a semi-rural enclave on the outskirts of a large northern city. But it is one of those places that people don't seem to move away from. Or they do, but only for a while, and then they're back again. Our parents and grandparents came here and put down roots -- and boy, what roots! Most of the people in this story still live in the same houses, these grand old cozy big homes that once rang out with the shouts of their parents' voices as children. Grandma's cooking smells are still there, in the walls somewhere, if your nose is keen enough.
Anyway, a few years have passed -- not a lot -- and some of us have moved away. But the place just keeps drawing us back. Some to raise a family, some to heal. And I still see these people in the course of a day and often we have a moment to stop, perhaps to touch, and to look each other in the face and smile, remembering how we were.
Derek was standing in front of me. We were on some sort of mezzanine and there were huge motors or generators or something in the immense cavern beneath us pounding, pounding, and he was yelling. It was so noisy and he had to yell and he was yelling and yelling and not really looking at me and his yelling made no sense. Just yammer, yammer, yammer. Rhythmic, monotonous. Loud. I wanted it to stop, go back to normal and we were on a raft and the towering waves were coming closer, closer and getting taller and ready to crash and they crashed just on the corner of the rug there on the wooden floor and the crash had a prickly feeling in my head.
I sat part way up with a start, waking for an instant.
Derek was there, with me. It was dark and my whole body hurt and I could feel the fever burning me up and I held him closer, comforted, as I fell back to sleep, exhausted by the fever.
I was sitting at some sort of a TV screen and typing on a flat thing, like a teletype keyboard, without the teletype, and my heart was aflame with pain. Somehow Derek was on the other end of some wire. We'd become lost in the starfields. Our tiny golden bubbles -- of color, of yearning -- had missed one another. Calamity. Born in the wrong place. Wrong time. So terribly hard, that truth. Crushing pressure on the very bones of my soul. We couldn't touch. Could never touch. I longed to feel his touch, to be boys together with him, to touch him, hold him, love him, stroke him. But we had become separated in the time-current and spun apart, never to touch the other boy. I dreamt I was old and I had a family but they were all sort of flat, like the TV. Only Derek was real and eternally beyond reach. Just words on the TV. Aflame with hard, grinding longing, I was trapped in the world, the world pressing on me, crushing me. Too real. More than real.
There was a noise. Some light. Mom in the door. Whew, I woke! Relief! She strode over, very tall and regal in her robes of office, bearing the dream serpent. Lovingly, I felt it strike me in the throat, piercing me with its exquisitely sharp fangs, felt the familiar life slip away, felt all I ever was or ever had been, all I ever had, felt all I cared about fade, the memories fade, their place taken by another life. So familiar, so MINE, but at the same time, belonging to a self that felt so strange to me.