“I want to fall asleep, but I just cannot let myself dream.”
He said it softly and so close to the glass pane that his breath momentarily fogged a small circle on the window. And just like the dreams he would not allow, the little galaxy vanished before he saw its nebulous shape.
Five inches above, his eyes looked out the window. Below him was New York City and a skyline of gray and glass and snow covered branches and impatient taxi horns. There were a few speckles of green that dotted the sidewalks and in the very far distance against the white horizon, the promise of Central Park. The open. The wild within the tamed.
He looked out, his eyes burning with the cold that found its way through the glass, wishing he could just blink and find himself in a grove of tall trees, perhaps watching a chipmunk gather some nuts amid buried oak leaves and empty potato chip bags.
If only he could travel so easily. If only he could let himself wander from the room, beyond the walls and carpet and structured glass. The world out there was spiraling through the dream, and he wanted to be part of it, only he didn’t know how.
He looked out the window. He wished for something he could not name. He tried to claw at the feeling, he tried to turn it around and examine just what he wanted or how he could find it, but the shape was a gray cloud that morphed every time he tried to focus on it. There was nothing to hold onto, no word or action he could use to explain his irritation, his frustration with himself and his constant need for control.
“And why can’t you let yourself dream?” the thin voice of a woman finally responded.
He rolled his eyes towards the city, hating her voice and the question. Hating the legs that sat crossed and covered in sheer black pantyhose. The leather chair held her. It touched her legs and the back of her torso which was covered in a white collared shirt and a blazer above that.
It was a question he tried to avoid nearly every time it was brought up. He just didn’t have an answer, not an answer he wanted to reveal. What if he jumped into the cloudy stew of colors and shapes? What if he jumped and could never find his way out again?
He would be stuck in the world of twisting reason that leaps from moment to moment without sense and logic. He would be trapped within his own mind, unable to drag himself back from the deep waters of unconscious darkness. He had the vague memories of nightmares that squeezed the breath from him. Thick armed and tentacled men who tried to drag him to their chambers while he gasped tugging at their claws.
He couldn’t risk it, he might not be strong enough this time. He cleared his throat, preparing the simple answer she could understand.
‘It’s all chaotic and nothing makes sense. I just wish it could tell me something directly. Something I could use right away. What do I do with a flying mattress or an octopus that keeps trying to eat my hand?”
There was a heavy silence between them, as if the woman on the firm leather chair could not think of a good argument to counter. He looked to the horizon, finding the greenery of Central Park with his seeking eyes.
If only he could leave his small apartment or the doctor’s office two floors down. If only he could find his way to the lobby and out the front revolving door and onto the sidewalk. It was through the doors that the world awaited. The park was beyond the walls of his building, beyond the cage of his skin.
In the distance there was a bit of the wild within the tamed. That small part of him wanted to run towards the trees, to dive into the dark lake that waited impatiently for curious hands.
A small howl emerged from deep within him, but he stifled it with a little false cough.