I’ve walked this way many times before. Haven’t ever found you at the end of it. How do I then know that you are there? That, if I walked this road enough, I would find you someday?
I remember that day vividly. Like it was just yesterday – though it has been many sleepless nights since then. The same black and white meadow, the same path. The same unreal whisper of a world not complete. The same leaves whistling a windless song. The black, stoic in it’s all-knowing stands stark against the white, joyful in it’s disregard for knowledge. Me. Dressed in a cacophony of colours that shrink back to stand out. There is courage in cowardice too, they tell me. I’m puzzled, but I nod back. My feet move involuntarily on the tiles, my eyes take in everything. I sense a deja vu. Like, I’ve been here before, but can’t place it.
Something scurries across my tracks and I stop. It’s a tiny squirrel, almost like a black and white cartoon. Lost before I can find it. I notice something from the corner of my eye. Something amiss in the pure black and white-ness. A streak of red on the white tiles. Tracing out the path the squirrel took. I follow it gingerly, unsure of what I’ll find. I follow the red to the trunk of a tree, at the bottom of which lay a tiny bird. The red stopped here, but the bird has no traces of it. I consider going around the tree to see what the red leads to, but give up when I catch a closer look at the bird. It is a strange little thing, this bird. Black beak, white feathers, beady eyes. All normal. But it has the strangest claws. Almost, coloured. Somewhere between being and not being, he is caught in between worlds, probably wandering in from someone else’s. I softly hold him for a while, till he loses all colour and becomes a part of mine. Then I open my hands, blow a kiss and let him go.
I look back to my path, but it seems a long way off. I make my way back to it slowly, the bird having alerted me. Perhaps there were others that might have wandered here. I look for signs of company. Walking alone becomes tiring after awhile. I start noticing signs of encroachment. The leaves that seem to rustle to a hint of a wind. The path that loops to places I don’t recognise. I quicken my footsteps. I need to find the source before I get lost, or worse – wake up. I look under stones – it could be an insect. I look into mounds of earth – it could be a mole. I peep into windows – maybe it is another person? I hear a distant bell. My time is running out. I begin to run. I am struck by an urge to know. Suddenly, I trip and find myself catapulting through the air. As my eyes slowly focus to the world spinning, they see you upside down. Lying without a care in the world, grinning lopsidedly at the idiot who tripped into your dream. I begin to smile back, but by the time I finish, I’m facing the other way around. The next cycle, you aren’t there anymore, and before I can try and figure out where you could have possibly gone, I land.
And, I wake up.