Monday, 26 September 2016

The Garden of Unreality – 13. Shadow of a Ghost

The Notary's Letter

After so many years, these memories came back to me while I was reading the print-outs of your blog. I do not own a computer myself, but my daughter-in-law, who is what they call a lurker, sent them to me by regular mail as she realized your story regards the house where I lived as a law student. She’s not aware of my ‘downstairs adventure’, though, and we’d better leave it that way. I’ve always kept it close to my chest.

This dream has stayed with me over the years. I’ve tried to write it down several times in the past but, each time, the result I deemed unsatisfactory. Its substance always knew how to trick me into fruitless digressions. The above rendition is as good as it gets.

Did you ever try to picture a dream in writing? In the preamble the words already fail you. Everything seems equally important and nothing is what it seems. On describing a flight of geese, what flows from the tip of your quill may be an image of floundering fish.
Details, more details and tangled webs of sidetracks, they make you decide the only way forward in telling must be by a main road, cutting corners, filling in blanks, but there lies your problem. A dream is a dream. It’s not a story. It’s not rational, and by rationalizing you’ll effectively brutalize it beyond recognition.

Ironically, it is this distorted narrative, a mere shadow of a ghost, which lingers in your memory and if, after half a lifetime, it resurfaces it does so in a different setting. You have changed, your values have changed and the old pictures are painted in different colours with a different brush as they are revived in your mind’s eye in a different light.

Even so, I was quite appalled at reading the letters of this poor boy. His story seems to mirror my dream to perfection, the similarities between them being too close for comfort indeed. To me, it appears little short of a miracle that two people, decades apart from each other, would share parts of the same dream, and yet, he and I did, no doubt about it.
How can it be that two young children live through, be it in reverse, the exact scenes I saw in a dream fourty-odd years ago, and in that selfsame garden!

The whole case has been nagging me for days now and I can’t see my way to a satisfactory answer. That is what stirred me to write to you.
I hope you’ll excuse me, but I had to share this with somebody, anybody, bar relatives and neighbours, of course.

This morning, I was reading the story for the umpteenth time, and it occurred to me the boy could have spared himself and his family a lot of pain and sorrow, if only he had figured it out. But OK, he was barely nine years old.
He’s living in a dream, he tells. In dreams, anything is possible. There are no restrictions of space and time. As he wishes so badly to break the spell, why not dream it up? Perhaps, eventually, he did, or his little sister did, for in my dream they were reunited and went back inside together.
Did they, actually, return to their own world by then, or might the images of my dream lie still into their future? Who can tell?

Here this story ends.
To start reading at the beginning,
go to Part I, "The Promise",
and read your way up
as per the Blog Archive.

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