Places to remember

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Photo by Daniel Olah

I wanted to see it again. It felt entirely realistic. The footage shot within a building collapsing, intentionally wired so the walls caved in on itself. The bricks were going to be recycled into creative new materials, designed for art projects.

I had the sense that I was in the building as it fell. Virtual reality, 3D surround. It was technologically produced, a futuristic commercial, embedded like a chip to my senses. Well-lit macro spanning shots, the wall exploding in slow motion, then the slogan in my ear, "It couldn’t be more real if it were a dream."

The dream to make recycled art, I thought. How clever.

I watched one wall come down, from above, like a war torn town. Then a pile of bricks in the lobby; aged plaster walls and fadded paint. I watched until the wall I was in, the wall the camera was in, fell. Then I shut my eyes as the bricks caved in over me, over the camera and me. I heard myself scream. I saw only darkness. It felt like it were utterly real and that was the point. "It couldn’t be more real if it were a dream." I thought, shock value! But I wanted to see it again. I thought, solid dream-marketing, and shouldn’t this be illegal, and who would come up with such a thing!

~

We were heading to the baseball field to play a game of baseball.

~

I woke up happy.

I woke up searching for something I couldn’t fully recall. It was a dream I’d had before. Or reality. A place I had been to, in real life, then dreamed of and now thinly escaping. I settled on it being a dream and wandered back with my eyes closed. I had the sense that if I didn’t go to find it I would lose it again for a long time.

The place itself brought me joy. Recreating it in my mind gave me comfort. As if tied to that view were a well of my own happiness. The place itself. And then the joy of having found that place, and for having found what you were looking for.

It was a walk up Fifth Avenue, but it wasn’t Fifth Avenue. The road was wider at a curve and it rose slightly at an incline, so that when you reached the archway gate at the side of the road, you could see through and up ahead to the rest of the grand hill. There were tall buildings to either side, just like Fifth Avenue, but this one building stood out. It was more European with gold cherubs and fountian nude women carved into the top of the archway. The driveway rode up a few feet past the archway and into a grand courtyard. The building stood tall on a short hill but the archway seemed to be even taller. And from a certain angle, if you lined it all up correctly, the archway and the palace roof aligned itself directly in line with the moon in the sky. And it meant something. It meant something good and peaceful on earth, in that place, where I had walked to.

There was a woman, we traveled to meet each other there. We were young in the large expanse of a big city, but we felt aged and childlike in our understanding of each other.

We met under the arch, during the day. As we had planned, a mid afternoon break, mature with understanding, comfortable and unspoken. We were infinite in that way, in the way that finite things can be infinite, a sense of knowing nothing is forever and so accepting of each other, just as is. We were light with each other and I felt an effortless love. It was sunny, and we were in a city we had known, but it was the first time I’d been to that place, and yet a place I’d remembered.

~

There are lands that we’ve imagined, built when we dreamed them as ten-year old kids. I know of a place where we played baseball, a plateau in the hills. Where the outfield sloped away from the infield. So as a child, when I dreamed, the ball soared out over center field, as if the world were curved, warped in the flight of the ball. I went back. That plot of land returned to me. A place I’d forgotten I’d known. Once imagined. Returning to that place I was happy. That place returned to me and I felt happiness.

There’s a particular type of comfort in dreams, the release of happiness saved, power tied to the past, returned to you like the comforts of youth, bottled away in a memory reserve, quietly in a cell at the back of your brain. A joy the child self has placed for you there, aged to filter out only the good, returned to you, so that the adult — can remember.

I awoke, and found us sitting there.

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