J o s h ’ s D r e a m
< a m e t a p h o r .>
He was dreaming. He was a clown and he was sleeping and dreaming. He had been dreaming for a very short time and then he woke up and he saw he was a clown. He remembered it all, his job, his salary, his pet flying elephant, and his own personal red sky that he kept in a glass jar in a dusty cupboard upstairs.
He walked out of his tent. There was a miniature F1 track in front of him in which colourful palm-sized cars whizzed by. The sky was a mosaic of black and white, and the ground alternately turned from green grass to black water and back. Someone was calling his name, he thought. He turned to look.
Thud. The hard cold floor did not greet him warmly. Josh took a moment to drift back to reality. He staggered up, blinded by the darkness all around. A passing police car threw shafts of red and blue light across his dark room. He looked at his bed, at the messy covers which hung by the side where he had fallen off the bed. His forehead ached where he had hit the ground.
Josh had been dreaming. Josh had been dreaming that he was a clown, and in his dream the clown was dreaming too, although he could not remember what he was dreaming of as a clown in his dream. And then the clown woke up, in his dream. And then,… Josh tried to focus on the dream as the graphic details began to fade from his mind. No use. He went and got himself a glass of water.
Strange, he was a clown and he was dreaming inside a dream. The dream had seemed so real. All through the dream he was the clown and no one else. Not Josh. Just the clown. So real, so real. He never even knew he was dreaming. As if it were a second life. Like a sort of life within life. So real. A world whose every part, every being, every element was just different facets of his own imagination. He was the clown, and he was the tent too, for he created it by imagining it, and he was the race-track, and the cars, for all of them were born of his thoughts. The whole dream was composed of the same substance — his thoughts. What if he never woke up from it, Josh thought. Then he would be a clown all his life. A clown with a piece of red sky kept in a glass jar upstairs. Upstairs, and in a tent. Josh smiled to himself and drank the rest of the water down. The dream was even more real because he, as a clown, was sleeping and dreaming in it. A second dream. Dream within dream. And then he woke up from whatever his dream was to see that he was a clown. And then he woke up again to see that he was Josh. And then he woke up, again… oh no that hasn’t happened yet, thought Josh. That doesn’t need to happen. This is reality, he reassured himself. He felt his forehead where a tiny lump now throbbed. This is hard reality. No more waking up.
But Josh could still feel the dream tugging at his thoughts. Oh come on, get out of my mind, he thought. It’s just a stupid dream. I wish I’d seen Esther in it, though. It’s still a week before I see her again. Anyways, it was a stupid dream. Josh dreaming that he was a clown dreaming. Ha, stupid.
But the nagging thought wouldn’t go. Josh tried to focus on what exactly was annoying him, and he stared into space for minutes trying to get the thing off his head, trying to grasp what exactly the thing was, for it was not the dream that was occupying his mind any more, but something associated…
And then it happened. The Voice. Deep inside him, quiet but not feeble. So quiet, it was silent. It was the voice of the origin of thought, and it was formed of thought. And it sort of came up this infinitely deep well inside him, and spoke to his thoughts: and then he woke up, again.
What? He thought. He woke up again? Man, that’s over. I’ve woken up two times already, as the clown and as me, and I have work tomorrow, and there’s no more waking up left to do, because I ain’t dreaming. Wait, when I was dreaming, I was the clown, and when the clown was dreaming, he was… oh I forgot. Anyway, so the only way any waking up can still be left is if someone else is dreaming themselves as me, right? The only way is if this, he held his arms open and gestured to his dark room, if this is another dream. Then I gotta wake up again and discover I’m someone else. Ha, how can that happen? How can I wake up again, anyway? I’m not sleeping, am I? How can I wake?
Man, this is shit, he concluded and drained half a glass of water. He decided that as he was awake anyway, and with these weird spiralling thoughts in his head, he might as well do something worthwhile to get his mind off them. He booted his computer and started on some work he had left for the next morning.
A few months later, only two weeks after he had been married to Esther, Josh was involved in a road accident and was killed on the spot. There were a few police cars around when they took his body out of the wreck. A small crowd had gathered to witness the bloody mess that was being maneuvered out of the damaged car. Amidst the murmur of the people and the flashing of beacons and the wailing of sirens, Josh came to know how he could wake again and discover that he had been someone else dreaming.
And then he woke up, again.