For some time now I have been having dreams from which it is hard for me to return. I can hardly look at my window in the morning, and the glimmering false light pouring out of it seems less and less real to me.
Night visions are not wonderful adventures that end in salvation. I wake up in panic and sweat, not knowing if the dream has ended. In dreams, my fate is merciless to me. And though during the day I am just one of a slew of accountants, flinching at the slamming of a neighbor’s door, in my dreams life hurls me to the Yukon, where I shiver again, but this time, from the roar of a giant grizzly. I freeze with terror and cease to realize where I am. But something else terrifies me — sometimes, in the morning, I struggle to remember who I am.
The dreams are so painful that it often seems to me that everything that happened during the night really happened to me. How can I tell the difference between reality and dream?
The other day I noticed a strange connection. Dreams are intertwined with reality in some unimaginable way. For example, recently I dreamed that I broke my arm. The next day, it hurt like hell. And yesterday some idiot accosted me in the street, trying to prove to me that he was Buddha. In a dream at night, he kept convincing me of this by rolling up his sleeve and showing me a mandala tattoo. This morning I ran into him again at an intersection. When he saw me from a distance, he shouted, “Well, you saw it!” and, just as in the dream, rolled up his sleeve, pointing to the drawing.
What was that? Am I moving into dreams? Or are they breaking into my life?
Anything could turn to horror in the blink of an eye. Death, as Borges wrote, is even more implausible than life.
I avoid the crossroads now, I’m afraid to meet this madman. In case he enters my dreams again.
I’ve never been in the army. But at night I dreamed that I was a lieutenant. In the morning I went outside and two passing soldiers saluted me. How did they know who I was?
Everything is so intertwined that now, when I see a man on the street, I cannot understand whether I met him in a dream or in reality.
More and more often these dreams haunt me during the day. They seem to spill out of my consciousness into the bustle of our streets. Their characters dissolve into the city and begin to live their own lives. With a sinking heart I think, are only the participants of my dreams wandering around our city? Maybe it’s full of characters from other people’s dreams. And we, their unwitting creators, can no longer cope with our own creations.
I scrutinize the passersby. Which of them came from someone else’s dream? Which of us came from someone else’s dream? I gaze into the mirror. Maybe I’m just someone else’s forgotten dream. Where is the owner of this dream…
If I find him, he’ll tell me how the nightmare ends. Maybe he lives in the next street. Maybe he’s the old beggar who asked me for alms with a wry grin. The sleeper asked the dreamer for a handout. And I gave it to him. To keep him alive. That he might dream of me again.
Alexander Jonathan Vidgop is a theatre director, author, and screenwriter. Alexander is the founder of the Am haZikaron Institute for Science and Heritage of the Jewish People. He is the recipient of the Zeiti Yerushalaim Prize and the medal “For contribution to the development of the national spiritual heritage of the Jewish People.” Alexander was born in Leningrad in 1955. In 1974, he was expelled from what is now the Saint-Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts “for behavior unworthy of of a Soviet student.” Having worked as a locksmith, loader, and White Sea sailor, he was drafted into the army and sent to serve in the Arctic Circle. Upon graduating from the Russian State Academy of Performing Arts in 1982, he was involved in 23 productions across the USSR, 12 of which were shut down. In 1989, he emigrated to Israel, where he worked as a director, editor, and researcher. His latest novel Testimony is forthcoming from the leading Russian Publishing House NLO. Alexander Jonathan Vidgop is the recent winner of the Meridian Editor’s Prize in Prose.
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