One of the hardest things I have to do each day is wake up. In my deepest slumber, I dream of boundless spaces. Then I fill in the emptiness.
There is a field. A bed of green. Look — I am standing alone at the center of it all. The color is so intense against the blue hues of the open sky. I make the clouds appear. And then some trees. It looks better, heaps better. But still. Emptiness. I feel it and it breaks me. The beauty is not enough. At least, not yet.
Flowers fall from the unselfish heavens. It feels and looks like spring all of a sudden. Then mountains begin to position themselves not too far from where I am standing. They pop-up the same way they do in books. It is the most beautiful thing. Then water. At the center of a summit, the biggest of all, water cuts through and makes a big puddle of clear blue. I feel droplets of water on my face and my arms.
I lay in my grassy bed and indulge in the softness of the earth. I squint at the sun as if to say, “Well, there you are.” I’ve dreamt of making friends with the sun. And also, the sky. Those dreams in which I am friends with them, I ask them for mercy. They are the most powerful things and they know this. But people do not. So I tell them, “Spare us. Or at least, most of us. Me.” They taunt me with silence.
I stay quiet. They intimidate me. After all, I am still a child and one of their own.
I move sideways and stare at the waterfall. They remind me of my mother. Of all the people I know, she is the loneliest. Her heart is also empty. This is the part where I feel bad, like I always do when I think about her heart. I wish I could fill it with happy things too. Extra green fields, extra blue skies, and the best waterfalls in the universe. And for her sake, I will imagine things I’ve never tried before. Maybe real, actual people to settle in her heart. I’ve come to realize that maybe I am not enough. Her sadness is too deep.
I close my eyes and think of a pen and a piece of paper. I feel them materializing in my hands. If I could do this sort of thing in real life, I would not need anything more in my life. Whenever emptiness strikes, I could simply close my eyes and stop it from aching.
The sunlight hurts my back. It strikes like a big blow to the head. I lay on my back as fast as I can and confront her. She tells me, “You dream too much.” I cry in pain and I ask her, “What else is left for me to do?”
I don’t know if it disappointed her. But at that moment, she slowly faded into the horizon. Her friendlier, but sadder counterpart takes her place on top of the starless sky.
He smiles at me. But it is not a comforting smile. His face is so miserable; a smile merely looks like a bad effort to conceal. It makes me ache. I tell him this.
“But you see, this is all I’ve got left,” he says. I try to smile too. I wonder if it affected him the same way his affected me.
I see a big, round, ceiling light. It is open and its brightness hurts my eyes. Someone is moving and I turn to look. I rub my eyes and see — my mother. She is smiling at me, trying to wake me up. Then I feel it, the aching of my heart. It throbs. It burns. And I only remember falling.