On the Consistency of Dreams

The answer is tapioca-pudding-like.

A few nights ago I had a dream with Megan in it. Probably Inception-influenced, it wasn’t just that she was a character in my dream, but more that she was a visitor to the dream.  Megan’s been in other dreams of mine before, although I don’t remember her as being her, physically the same as the Megan I know in life.  In those cases, she was either in disguise or a stand-in.

(Have I told you about one of my theories regarding dreams?  It’s that when we’re sleeping our minds/souls/whatever exist in a single overarching dreamworld that either consists of a multitude of different places OR this dreamworld looks different to each person who enters it.

In this fantasy, everyone you see in your dreams is another actual dreamer.  Or, perhaps, everyone’s subconscious resides there all the time.  Either way, all the extras in dreams aren’t extras, they’re just in the middle of their own dream stories.)

In this dream, Megan looked like Megan.  Which doesn’t really mean anything, I know, but with other dreams where Megan’s appeared, I’ve woken to realize that the person I’d been treating as Megan was clearly not.

This dream didn’t have much going for it.  There was no immediate action, no threats, no running.  The architecture was amazing and strange as always – but not in an unrealistic sense a la Inception, more just as though I was in a foreign culture.  My dream cities tend to be a mix of U.S. and Polish in terms of urban landscape, which makes sense as those are the two places I’ve spent any length of time.

But Megan was there, and I wanted to show her around.  Around what?  Around my city.

I can do this because my dream city is pretty much always the same.

(I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a consistent dream landscape.  Why is it that in different dreams, with different plots, I encounter some of the same buildings and landscapes as before?  Why is my childhood neighborhood consistent in my dreams, even though it isn’t my actual neighborhood?  Why is the grade school the same?  The college?  The city?

My fascination is concurrent with the desire to fictionalize this world.  To bring it into a story or a novel and make something consistent and beautiful out of this dream detritus.  I began a long dream-story in high school, then continued it in college, but it fell away.  As you might imagine, it was too unfocused.  But whenever I wake from a dream – a dream that seems to take place in an alternate, fully-imagined, but hidden world – that desire to create a novel around the dream reappears.  It’s like wanting to create the oyster around the already beautiful and fully-formed pearl.)

In my dream city, there’s a district that’s pretty far from where I live – the distance is walkable, but takes an hour or so to get there.  It’s full of shops and cafes, but the cafes are what interest me.  Even in my dreams I want to find a place to drink coffee, sit down, and soak in the buzz of life around me.

It is always nighttime and it is never raining.  Often, the cafes are close to closing, and I have to spend time looking for one that’ll be staying open just a little while longer.  When I find it, the cafe is near empty, but the warm, polished wood of the walls and tables makes me feel more alone than lonely.

I wanted to share this with Megan.  Instead, I woke up.

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