The Dream by Shahrez Anjum

 

I wake to the sound of my last alarm. I turn over slightly to grab my phone. It is 9 A.M, I know I need to get up. However, the soft pillow massaging the back of my head and the warm blankets enveloping my body keep me constricted in a cozy cushiony confine. My linens coax me into staying in bed, so I relent and let my eyelids sink as I drift back into the comforting darkness.

 

My eyes are flooded with bright white lights,

My vision begins to make sense of the shapes and definitions-

I am in an arena.

The seats decline in the vast area like an upside-down plateau,

The floor below is polished and waxed and as big as a ballroom,

Crowds of people are moving out of the structure,

But I remain seated staring at the empty seats,

The ground is far from where I sit,

Someone sits next to me-

My friend.

He motions to me to exit the premises,

I accompany my friend out of the arena,

We enter the streets of a small town that I still call home,

As we walk down the street that leads to our neighborhood,

It begins to drizzle and the sky becomes dark grey,

The four-lane street that is bordered by wooden fences begins to change,

 

For now, it is a narrow one-way road,

Its ground becoming, rough and torn and worn,

Torrential rain upon us in great load,

The sound of thunder, like a battle horn,

We grip an umbrella very tightly,

It does little to shield us from downpour,

Still, we hide under it desperately,

Avoiding speeding cars whose engines roar,

 

The road that wishes to swallow us whole,

We barely escape its narrow clutches,

The rain becomes less harsh but still frequent,

The dark grey sky now becomes a light grey,

My friend and I part ways and he goes home,

The neighborhood is not as it once was,

The streets are the same, the ground is unchanged,

Even the houses inside look the same,

But it is not as I remember it,

Along the periphery are mansions,

Houses that are much taller and larger,

Four stories high and covered in oak trees,

Gilded lampposts adorn their entrances,

As if I was in the home of Gatsby,

Yet it is peaceful and still inviting,

 

I am in an assembly line,

Along with me, others are being shuffled towards a functionary,

The functionary reports our schedules, but I can’t find my schedule in my pocket-

It must be online.

I pull out my phone to search for it but have difficulty finding it,

In desperation, I dodge the functionary and head through a familiar hallway,

I try to find my schedule but it escapes me,

I tell myself I can’t wake up without my schedule,

A man approaches me and asks me what I am doing,

I try for an answer but the words never come out,

I am confused, stressed, and longing for a way out-

 

I wake to the sound of silence. I turn over slightly to grab my phone. It is 10 A.M. Bright light shines from my windows. I breathe a sigh of relief. It is summer, I don’t need my schedule, I am free. I know I need to get up, I am late. I have to meet with my friend. In a hurry, I quickly and effortlessly break free of the once constricting confines of linens and drift forward into the comforting light.