Prose

Eternal Summer (or HOPC)

One who has lived many years in a city, so soon as he goes to sleep,

Beholds another city full of good and evil, and his own city vanishes from his mind.

He does not say to himself, “This is a new city: I am a stranger here” ;

Nay, he thinks he has always lived in this city and was born and bred in it.

What wonder, then, if the soul does not remember her ancient abode and birth-place,

Since she is wrapt in the slumber of this world, like a star covered by clouds?—

Especially as she has trodden so many cities and the dust that darkens her vision is not yet swept away.

Rūmī 

SOMETHING’S broke, doc. Something’s broke. You gotta help me. It’s broke inside and I — I just can’t fix it. I had this dream, see? Well, it wasn’t a dream dream. Like I was asleep, sure, but it was real too, you know?

I seen this place, doc. This big ol’ school field. Biggest field you ever seen. And me? I’m standing by the edge of it watching these kids play in the field. They’re kicking around this old football and one of ’em, he sees me, and he’s waving across that big ol’ field.

“Come on!” he’s saying, “whatcha waiting for?”

And I look closer and it’s the guys, doc! It’s the guys! I ain’t seen them in years! So I run over to ’em and we play and we play and we play. We play until the sun’s low in the sky and it hurts my eyes just to look at it.

And then? Then we just sit there in that big ol’ field, catching our breaths, watching the sun set on another summer’s day. Summer ends way too soon, huh doc?

Now in the dream I start to feel thirsty, see? So I tell the guys I’ll be right back. The school’s right there — just up ahead — and I walk to the courtyard, all the way to the water fountain. The water tastes a little funny, yeah, but it’s alright. It’s pretty cold.

It’s all a bit spooky though, you know? School’s are always spooky at that hour. I mean, just think about it, doc! Think about all those empty classrooms, all those empty desks and chairs facing empty blackboards all night long. It’s spooky!

So I wanna get the heck out of there as fast as I can. I drink that water, doc, eyes closed, trying not to think of what’s in them empty classrooms. And then I feel cold, doc. All of a sudden, I feel cold. I look up and the sun’s setting and it’s almost set so I turn and I run back towards the field. But when I make it out of there, the field’s empty and the sun’s set and it’s all grey, doc. It’s all grey.

I wake up, then, and I’m covered in a cold sweat but it’s just a dream, right? So I turn over and I go back to sleep. In the morning I wake up and I remember and it’s spooky and all but it’s just a dream, right? So I head to the shower. But I can’t tell the hot water tap from the cold water tap. They’re both grey!

It’s been a week and it’s all grey now, doc. You and your desk and the light from that window and the city outside that window. It’s all grey now. It’s all grey. I don’t wanna live in the grey, doc. You gotta help me! You got a pill or something? I never been on any pills, doc, but I’d take ’em just to see the colours again.

Colour’s grand, doc, ain’t it? It’s like summer, doc. And this grey? Well, I been shivering in it for too long now.

You gotta help me, doc. You can fix it, can’t you? Fix what’s broke inside? I sure hope you can, doc, cause by god I’m sick—’n—tired of it. I ain’t crazy, doc. I ain’t. I been going to work and I been going to church and I been eating my vegetables. I even laid off the smokes, honest doc!

But it’s just so grey. I can’t take it anymore. I miss the colours, you know?

I miss not being broke inside.

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