Only in My Dreams

I am an avid dreamer and not all of it is when I am sleeping. My creative mind never seems to stop running and this does have a tendency to disrupt my rest patterns. Often, though I have very intense and colorful dreams and remember them long enough to share them with Ron. He is always impressed, claiming he never remembers a dream.

Last night, I had a great dream that would make a fantastic short story. I would write it up as one, but perhaps I have read it somewhere before and it lodged in my subconscious. Plagiarism is such a nasty word. It was almost like watching a movie; I was not part of the scene like I usually am, but rather a spectator or a specter.

The scene opens with a young man, senior in high school, biding his time through his last year waiting for the college applications to bear fruit with an acceptance letter. He is only visible from the back, so I am not privy to his facial features. His chestnut wavy hair just hits the collar of his pull-over shirt. His father enters the room, a big man. His face seems to be out of the scene too. I did not think to adjust the screen to fit him in. He approaches his son who is seated at the desk and wordlessly hands him a thick wad of paper.

I am guessing that with the hesitation in the son’s reaching for the bundle that there was a questioning look towards his father. Father states that this was just delivered for him. As the young man takes the object in his father’s hand, I can see that it is an airline folder, one of the envelopes that they put your airline ticket in at the airport. It is thicker though and holds more than this just one ticket. Other papers are hanging out. Young man holds it without movement, so he must be staring at it perplexed. He does not start opening until a minute or so has passed. Since I his face is not visible to me, I assume there is a look of confusion and wonder, but not expectation and excitement.

Finally, he opens this travel wallet and takes out a letter. I read it over his shoulder.

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have won a trip to France. Enclosed please find your airline ticket, transfers, and hotel reservation. All of your expenses are paid in advance. Have a wonderful time.

Father is still quietly standing by the young man waiting to share some details of this mystery, to be fed some morsel of information. Young man with an incredulous tone enlightens his father as to what he has received. He is certain it is all a scam and starts to toss it in the trash bin by the side of his desk. Father lurches forward to stop this hasty action, as he questions the reaction. Young man assures his father that he has not entered any contests, let alone one where the prize was a trip to France, a place he has not thought of touring. Besides, the letter did not have any letterhead or signature to identify who the sender was. It was all a mystery, but had the stench of illegitimate. He did not have patience to deal with this nonsense. His nerves were frayed waiting for college acceptance letters, not slimy plots to make a fool of his intelligence. Sitting in the trash, the contents of the envelope fell in disarray surrounded by other discarded tidbits. The plane ticket seemed genuine to me as I stared into the trash, wanting to retrieve it for myself.

Time has no meaning in a dream, but without realizing I was dreaming, it did not seem strange to me that shortly after this sequence of events, father reappears and goes through the same scenario all over again. If this is another Ground Hog Day, it is more like a nightmare than a dream. Again, the young man opens what was handed to him. Everything is the same, except the country has changed. It is no longer France. The letter starts as before, but continues on to say

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have won a trip. Enclosed please find your airline ticket, transfers, and hotel reservation. All of your expenses are paid in advance. Have a wonderful time. Since you did not take advantage of your last winnings, we thought perhaps you would rather go to …

I missed the country when the young man crumbled the letter faster than I could read it over his shoulder. He was incredulous that someone would torture him with such a ruse, yet he never speculated who would do such a thing or why. Of course, these thoughts are running through my mind and I wand to solve the puzzle. No, thanks! I do not want to buy a vowel. Again, this set of tickets and vouchers find their way to the waste can. I am only a helpless observer and cannot be of any assistance in this manner.

Another period of time passes, but neither I nor the young man have left our posts. We are still in the same positions as before. There is no telling how much time has passes. Has it been hours, days, or months? There are no indicators.

Yet again, father enters the room with something in his hands. Once more he hands the young man a sheaf of paper with the same information that this has just been delivered for him. The young man lets out a vocalized sigh of desperation when he sees yet another airline folder. The tension is visibly building in his shoulders leading me to imagine the contorted looks on his face. As he slips the now expected letter from the packet to read, he unwillingly emits a chuckle. I have to bend farther and read faster before this letter is crumpled and tossed.

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have won a trip. Enclosed please find your airline ticket, transfers, and hotel reservation. All of your expenses are paid in advance. Our records show that the tickets and vouchers for the last two trips have not yet been redeemed. Since your satisfaction is important to us, we are changing your prize and sending you to England. Have a wonderful time.

With a bear-like roar of exacerbation, the young man tore the documents in two, and then continued on to shred the pieces until there was only confetti left to sprinkle into the trash. Father stood by looking in horror with a pained expression on his face. Yes, finally, his face was visible, but the emotion was evident, the features were not distinguishable otherwise. Shouting the order to just toss any further deliveries at his father, the father left the room. The young man’s shoulders were heaving up and down, but if he were crying, he was doing it silently. I was not privy to the emotive behaviors otherwise.

With a slight shift in scene, barely perceptible, and out of the young man’s hearing, but within mine, I could hear father talking. From what I could overhear, it must have been mother to whom he was speaking. After I heard his words, I woke up from the dream startled and confused.

With grave annoyance, father told mother “I don’t know what country this kid wants to visit, but we obviously are not going to get rid of him. I guess we had better resign ourselves to paying for his college tuition.”