The Dream Catcher

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short piece about dreams.

Submitted: July 21, 2008

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Submitted: July 21, 2008



The lulling sensation of the train eases her eyelids to a restful close. With every jut and oddly comforting screech of the Bakerloo tube, Aisling’s consciousness drifts away, the engulfing fog deteriorating her vision and clouding her mind. Her head softly bangs the vandalized window behind her as the tugging movement of the train leads her not only into the dark tunnel ahead but also into the dark crevices of the mind.
When the mist clears she is in a room, blindingly bright, sterilizing white and spacious. She assumes it is heaven until a slow, steady bleep of a heart monitor begins to faintly beat in Aisling’s ears. She turns, the room coming more into focus, and sees a mess of a little girl, tears streaming down her pale but lovely face, huddling over what is left of a fragile, worn old woman lying in a bed. The little girl whimpers, crying over and over again “I’m sorry…”, Aisling blinks and the small girl is all of 17 now, but still the same broken expression upon her pained, tired face. When she speaks, her voice is older, matured, stronger. “Mother… I’m so sorry.” She weeps, “It’s all my fault…” She clings to the old woman’s gnarled hand, not daring to let go.
Aisling steps forward, her feet leading the way, but her mind reluctant to intrude on such a heart wrenching scene. She stands behind the daughter, her hand outreached, a ghostly tap upon her shoulder. The girl takes no notice as she continues to pour out her soul to her dying mother. Aisling taps harder, this time insistent on being noticed, the teenager turns and gazes up at Aisling with glassy eyes, sad and filled with anguish. And all at once, Aisling knows what to do, she feels the daughter’s pain, the mother’s longing and confusion. “Tell her why…she never understood why.” Aisling whispers, giving the girl’s shoulder a squeeze. The girl takes in Aisling’s words slowly, as if hearing them from far away, and then nods assuredly. She turns back to the pale old lady now not a young girl of 17 but her current age of 35, and yet still the same girl hidden beneath the time worn face, and with a soft spoken clarity, she begins.
“I should never have run off, it broke your heart, I know it did… but I still ran all the same, and I never came back” She chokes on her tears, and takes a rattling breath; her mother never moves from the serene coma. “I thought I was in love, but I guess I didn’t know what love was…yet all that time it was staring me right in the face… you gave me love… all those years, of caring, looking after me and Jess, giving and never wanting anything back…”. “I’m so sorry” she repeats, leaning over to kiss her mother’s cheek one final time. A small sigh escapes the old woman’s lips, she smiles a sad smile, never once opening her eyes, and with that she is gone.
The scene fades, and Aisling finds herself in a lush green back garden, with a quaint shed and picket fence. She sees the daughter, happy, joyful, sitting on a blanket spread over the green blades. Her two cherub faced toddlers happily giggle, blowing dandelions into the air, and play with their mother’s hair. The dark circles that had haunted the daughter’s face before are gone, and her face is alive again.
Aisling feels the pulling sensation again, yanking at her from within. Her eyes flutter open madly, drinking in her surroundings. The darkness whizzes past her through the windows and the garish, torn poster promoting some fizzy drink stares back at her. The lights flicker above as she looks around the compartment, her neck slightly stiff. She spots the woman seven seats down, her head nods, but her expression is peaceful. Aisling smiles to herself and soon finds herself under the train’s lethargic spell again; reeling down into the unknown.
This time when her vision becomes clear, she sees a man sitting, surrounded by bleakness. His appearance is ragged, scruffy, and frayed, his beard scraggly, his clothes tattered; but above all he looks tired, tired of his life, tired of the world. His eyes show want, in all of its malicious glory. He wants food, he wants warm clothes, he wants a roof over his head, he wants, he wants, he wants. The desired objects fly past Aisling in a flurry of emotion. It’s almost too much too bear. And then she feels something else buried beneath all of that want, emerging slowly but surely, disappointment. He stops blaming the world around him for what he is, he ends the denial, it’s his own fault, he himself is the sole reason for him being in this depressing situation, a bum, a low life, a beggar. She feels his disappointment with him, shares his frustration, his regrets.
Flashbacks of an empty childhood pass quickly before the vagabond and Aisling, of negligent parents, a life on the dole, a lack of love and support. And just like before, the answer comes to Aisling in a sudden burst of brilliance. She moves towards the hollow man, sits down next to him on the cold, unforgiving pavement and holds his hand. She instills confidence within him, tells him what could be, what he could be if he just tried. She tells him it’s not too late, it’s never too late. And most importantly she tells him that she believes in him. The bum never looks at Aisling as she says all of these warm things, but when she finishes, he returns her gaze, eyes brimming with gratitude. The man stands up, posture no longer hunched, hair no longer a mess, clothes no longer shabby. And without a word he takes Aisling’s hand, plants a chaste kiss, and walks off into the fading walls of a dream.
Again, Aisling wakes with a jolt, both head and heart clear, the sudden roar of the train greets her. She glances casually to her left and sees the man dozing; no longer just a pile of newspaper and rags that gazes should avert, but a man with aspirations. Want no longer burdens his brow, for he has goals now, real dreams, and all that had been needed were words, words of encouragement. The train slows, the screech pierces the sleepy ears of various passengers and the doors open with a weary hush. Shuffles, grumbles and sighs. A few of the passengers exit with a polite haste, including Aisling’s forgiven daughter and optimistic hobo, their faces wearing pensive smiles. Aisling smiles too, her job done. She stands, stretches, and moves on to the next compartment with an unspoken grace, ready to catch more dreams.

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