Dreams are tricky things. Things we can safely say no one really understands. Once our eyes shoot open, all is lost. We’re not left with much, other than sand in the corners of our eyes, and a few images projecting themselves in our mind’s eye one last time, with the flickering quality of a hand-crank film. But some mornings, you’re left with a whiff of a feeling left over from the world of Kafka. By the time your feet hit the carpet; it’s gone. Even if you try to hold on. Even if you know you’ve felt the feeling before, just last night, as you were existing in a land of your brain’s invention.
But the feeling has no name. Beyond sleep, it has no purpose. And it retreats back into the recesses of your mind. You can’t articulate what has scurried back into the unknown. You don’t think about it too much, because it’s hard to think about something you can’t know, something you can’t even name. And it’s nothing to you, really, because it’s been haunting your head since you were a child. Back then, you called it the dream-feeling. It never occurred to you that no one else mentioned it. You could be happy, mad, or sad, but no one ever really talked about being dream-feeling. Maybe you just figured that no one else could hold onto it either, so by the time you see someone else you couldn’t truthfully say you were overcome by the emotion that rarely exists to you outside of sleep.
I’m not sure how to describe it. It’s not an entirely good feeling. It’s not entirely bad, either. It’s sort of a cocktail of sentiment. Maybe it’s a little different for each dream. Maybe it’s the same. I think every time there’s a hint of loneliness, from being trapped in a dreamland in your head, swirling with infinite possibilities, limitless places and people and memories, with the caveat that none of them are real and you are entirely alone.
Dream-feeling feels like the impossible, but it feels like isolation, too.
I don’t remember most of my dreams. But the ones I do are always full of ghosts. I don’t believe in them, but it doesn’t stop them from haunting me on the insides of my eyelids. Maybe dream-feeling is a little like grief, or mortality. Seldom do I recognize my phantoms, but they might be the part of my dream-feeling that makes my skin prickle.
Dream feeling feels like the impossible, like isolation, like goosebumps. Like mortality. Like mystery. But only for a moment, and then it blows away, like dandelion seeds after you exhale. Like water through the cracks between your fingers.
But some days dream-feeling emerges when you’re not asleep. It blows into your conscious mind and grabs the wheel. You’ve long since had your coffee and forgotten about the exhaust of your dreams. But something drew this feeling out of hiding. It’s not a feeling that fits in the waking world. You feel like you could float through the wall. Like your friend’s words are really just echoes and fragments of your own. You can see your mortality, right there, in front of you. And you wonder if you’re awake like you supposed you were, or if the older you get, the more life starts to feel like a dream. Not a good one. Not a bad one. Just an infinite landscape of drifting, where seconds run into each other like watercolors. You can feel yourself moving through time, but smoother. Each tick of the clock runs together, and you wonder if you are trapped in your mind. You try to capture words for the feeling that accompanies it, and suddenly, it fades as quickly as it arrived.
Reality is restored. Safe and sound. And the dream-feeling scurries back into the dark. But not for long. It awaits with your ghosts for nightfall.