• The Expresso Cat

Double-Edged Dreams

I had a dream.

Unlike Martin Luther’s however, mine never stops.

Are you a dreamer too?

Have you ever tiptoed on the thin line that separates fantasy from reality, creating conversations that never happened, victories that never came to be, fixing relationships that were doomed from the start, building bonds that ended with the dream, and speaking to people who you have yet to meet? Have you ever preferred the way you are within the boundaries of your controlled imagination? Does it hurt when you have to leave these made-up worlds and the people that you have met, as you return to the disappointing and familiar monotony of reality? Can you ever be the same again after you live a thousand different lives within 10 minutes in real-time?

I don’t know why I am made the way I am. Such vivid visions, such gripping dreams; capable of holding me captive in their beauty - forever. Yet I will always have to return to reality.

I started having them when I was small. They initially began as creative little daydreams and night visits to real locations with familiar people, but they were never as addictive as they are now. When these dreams ended, I would brush them off as the nocturnal activities of an overactive imagination. As life happened, reality became tough. So in order to survive, I did what any dreamer would do. I cut the anchor line and let myself float into the void of my imagination, in a world that held more promise than a life I could not control. Eventually, the worlds within my imagination got bigger. The people became more diverse and had evolving personalities, as I slowly lost control of the narrative to my unpredictable subconscious.

I have attended the funerals of so many loved ones and friends in these dreams that I lost count of the number of times I have grieved. I have fallen in love with so fictional soul mates, only to lose all of them every time. I have attended countless imaginary concerts, karaoke showdowns, jam sessions, and paid singing gigs, which only solidified my fascination for the mystical bond between music and the human soul. I have fought in wars, been captured as a POW, escaped, and have returned to free the captives of my mind’s terrorist cells. I have got superpowers and lost them too. I have learned the value of true friendship through gripping moments of camaraderie and bonding with friends that I used to call my family, only to return to reality in a world where they never felt the same. I joined the fictional worlds of Hogwarts, Narnia, and the Marvel Universe to aid my heroes on their journey, only to wake up and realize that I slept with the TV on again.

Some days, I try to keep myself distracted during the day. I’d write an article, sing a music cover, read a few books or study my Bible, all to avoid the beckoning arms of my uncontrollable imagination. I suppose it is quite ironic that the very gift that has enabled me to create websites, write fiction, new songs, and poetry, is the same gift that ensnares me in these fictional worlds for hours on end. There were some good dreams, however, like this one vivid dream I once had at night, which placed me in a Californian beach-facing penthouse where I composed an entirely new song, from the lyrics to the melody and instrumentals, all in my sleep. It was a powerful moment. There were two Asian gentlemen who played the piano and guitar as I orchestrated the progression of the song. I woke up with such joy that day, as my mind gleamed with pride at the piece I had just composed.

But then, there are the bad days. All it takes is one boring or frustrating moment at work for my mind to launch me into a daydream that puts me in the driver’s seat of a car that is destined to crash. So fragile and volatile is the mind of an imaginative daydreamer, that a single word can ensue in the loss of a loved one, a single action can take away someone I have only just learned to love and a single choice decides whether I am the protagonist or antagonist of my own narrative.

Yet, I will go back. I suppose I will never learn. Maybe a part of me hopes that I never will?

These Worlds, with all their potential, feels like the call of a sea siren on some days, and a volley of spears being thrown at me on the other days. But I will still go back.

To dream or not to dream, that is the question? For reality is dawning soon, and I haven’t learnt my lesson. As the sun comes down on one world at the end of its reign I smile with a tear in my eye knowing that I shan't see it again But it is not the end of my adventures and avid exploration, For there are more places to see beyond my wildest imagination. No maps can guide my journey and no compass can direct me, On this path of twists and mayhem, where I’d need my wits about me. Further and further, down the yellow brick road I go, Until I reach a house painted pink, where the grass isn't mowed. The gates are rusty, and the windows are broken, I hope I can fight what’s inside, when I kick the door open. Holding up my shield, with my sword raised up high, I entered and saw two versions of me - one free, the other tied, It took me a while to understand this paradox, Like a good puzzle, it helps to see the full picture on the box, For years at a time, I thought I was a captive, A slave to my dreams, just a passenger playing passive, Until a Light came along one fine day, Bringing hope in His trail like an ice-cream souffle, I had strings, but now I'm free There are no strings on me