It happens most when I’m almost about to wake. The store front and the children playing skip-rope in puddles, and even the sky begin to slip through my fingers. I always find myself in cities I nearly remember. I always find myself in cities. They are places where I have lost things in dreams. I lost a shoe, a looking glass, a memory or two. There is one city that always makes me weep. It is my city but not my city. The main street I know so well no longer ends and the shops are always three stories below ground.
I know in my dreams I once fell in love but I’ve forgotten the shape of his face, the perfection of his jaw line, the exact color of his eyes, and so I know that I might never actually find him again. I used to believe that falling in love in dreams was more heartbreaking than when awake. How many people do we lose in dreams on average? Could they fill a city up?
Sometimes I wake up and I can’t remember where I am. The ceiling seems farther away than it should be. Everything is farther away than it should be. The walls are whiter. They remind me of a woman I once saw leaping off of a bridge and her dress was so white that the sunlight reflected made her look like a shooting star. I lift up my hands and the shadows I make seem wrong somehow. They move even when my hands are still. Maybe I move too much or maybe I could stay in on one place for one thousand years and I’d still wake up uncertain.
I like to shake away my dreams as soon as I can. They slip from my skin in the shower or when I’m brushing them out from my hair. While I’m sipping coffee, I’ll almost remember the way that a glass of raspberry lemonade tasted under some dream sun. It was sweet and it was cold and it made me think of waves.
Once someone told me, that in their dreams, cities were always being consumed by flames, lost under floods, stolen away from them by some catastrophe. They told me that they wanted nothing more than to dream the same city twice. To see it alive and pulsing just one more time. I thought of how it would feel to lose my cities. Would I lose them in flames that looked like emeralds bursting? Or would I lose them in quiet and silence and the way that you can forget about a childhood friend until you only feel that you used to someone but not who they used to be?
It happens most when I’m almost about to wake. The lemonade stand and the boy with the willow tree tattoo and even the ocean begin to slip through my fingers. I always find myself in cities I nearly remember. They are places where I have lost things in dreams. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll find these things when I finally wake up. It’ll be years later and in unexpected places. Mostly, I guess, I’ll just end up losing them again. Though, it’ll always be in different way. It’ll always be in some other city.