Wednesday 20 October 2010

Dream Within A Dream . . .

We set ourselves a little project the other week. We had to take a poem or the lyrics of a song, and convert it into a short story.

I'm no poet, and poetry doesn't hold much interest for me, BUT I do like Edgar Allan Poe. His poems are usually dark and sad (probably why I like them) and his most famous piece was `the Raven`, which inspired The Crow series, films, books and comics. I considered shoosing this, but then I decided against it. Instead, I chose`A Dream Within A Dream`.

A Dream Within A Dream
Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

There was nothing I could have done. Everyone had told me. She had got it in her mind that this was what she wanted to do, and there wasn’t anyone out there who could have done a single thing to change it.

My love was like that. Stubborn. She had the kind of mind that when it was set, it was set in concrete. There was no dislodging it or dissuading it. It was made and it was final.

No one could have prevented what happened.

As I walked along the shores I pondered the question. My bare feet sunk deep into the wet sand every time they trod. I used to like the feeling. We both had spent hours laughing at the feel of the sand as it pushed between our toes. Now it was just me, and the sand was nothing but irritating.

I had often found inspiration as I walked along these shores. Those inspirations soon found themselves turning to words as I created stories of fiction. Sometimes I even cut our walks short so that I could go home and write. My love never complained. She supported me. She understood when I needed to shut myself away, when I needed to be alone for hours on end, hours that often turned to days.

She had always accepted this, and I loved her all the more for it. But did I ever tell her? I was sure that I had, on many occasions, but now I wonder whether it had been enough. I didn’t pay her as much attention as she needed, and I didn’t realise this until it was too late. The moment I walked into that room I knew. I knew what she had done and what had happened.

My world crumbled the instant my eyes fell upon the sight of her. She had been lying there a while, with me completely unaware as I worked in the other room. I had no idea. She had given me no clues, had shown no indication that this was what she intended to do. But then even if she had, would I have picked up on them? I was so consumed in my world of fiction that everything else was just a blur in my mind. She could have been screaming for help at the top of her voice, but I heard not a whisper of her torment.

On the surf tormented shores, I crouched. I watched the surf as it rolled in over the sands, reaching just in front of me before being swept back. I inhaled the saltiness in the air and listened to the hiss of the sand as the surf washed over it.

I had counted just six tablets from a bottle originally containing twenty that day, and my heart leapt with dismay as I realised where the other fourteen had gone. She had swallowed them. One tablet was enough to ensure you experienced a restful, uninterrupted nights sleep. Fourteen ensured you never woke. My love had wanted a restful peace that she never wanted to wake from. She wanted to live forever in her dream.

She was dead.

Reaching down, my fingers submerged themselves beneath the sand, each grain giving way to my presence. Curling my hand, I cupped a handful and lifted it from the shores, but no matter how tight I held them, I couldn’t stop the grains from falling through. It reminded me of how I had let my love slip through my fingers with such ease. She could have been helped, she could still be alive, but the trickling sands continued to scream of my incompetence and my failure towards her.

As I watched the last of the grains fall back to the sands I couldn’t help but weep.

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