In Vino Veritas (the pain of waking and the sweetness of slumber)
True to my prediciton, after Part I I woke up with a mammoth headache. One that shocked through my being and awoke me from my dream magic to the harsh reality of time. At first, there was yearning, a strong need to merely get back into bed and wish away the day until night would come again so that the dream could continue uninterrupted, undisturbed by the light of the real world where time ticks away and the memory of a good dream is soon stomped out by the need to move on, to stay in the present.
But that is not the way dreamland works, and in the long seconds it took my feet to hit the floor, the veracity of my intoxicating dream turned to dust. My morning cup of coffee smouldered with the steam of resentment and anger towards the killer of my delight. Time. I drank the whole brew, filing myself to the brink with contempt and self-loathing.
Why was I so stupid, I asked over and over again. I knew the throbbing of this headache too well and as dawn turned to daylight, the knowledge of what was next was enough for me to swear off the nectar of the gods themselves for good. I would be stronger in future, I would resist. I would not crumble and would not break. The fire of my fury burst through the haze of the remnants of that night, leaving only smoke and ashes.
Soon enough, the ashes settled and my days and nights were submerged into a dreary grey of nothingness. The only thing left to do was get water and a broom and sweep the mess up, throw out the rubbish and stand lonely in the middle of this clean room, only my beating heart there to reassure me that the dream was dreamt. A fresh start, a clean slate, no tell-tale signs of where I ended and he began.
And so I lived on, dreamless, secure in my decision that over was over, and sober senses kept me that way. Until one night, Lady Luck decided that grey really is not my colour and sent to me an unexpected invite, accompanied by, oh yes, an irresistible bottle of red wine.
So there I sat, across the table from the ruby red splendour and passion of temptation. And like any bottle of red wine, he had only become better over time. His eyes ablaze and his heart contorted into the solemnest of apologies, he explained himself, unaware that the flutter of my own flattery at this gesture had deafened my ears to understanding any cognitive thought pattern. Carefully, his healing hands grazed the bruises of our last encounter and I could feel the shift in the atmosphere. He does not know, I thought, could not know the effect that his touch awakens. I was more cunning this time, I mused, I would not get caught unaware this time. This time, I was in control and I convinced myself that I was wiser than before.
Naively, I lifted my gaze to look the object of my fear directly in the eye and just like that, time stopped again as if I opened the door to the past and found there the brightness of the sun shining directly back at me. I was blinded by the heat of passion and dumb-struck by the wonderment of finding my intellect intimidated by the mind of another. Glass after glass my infatuation with this dream man of mine grew more intently from some deep seated, unknown place within.
In that moment when the past and the present collided to wage their own private war between past mistakes and progress, the voice of the profound wisdom of the ages finally found it’s way into my mind through the careless whispers of my soul. This is your life, it said with the authority of knowledge and truth. This is your life. Nobody else’s. It is yours to live by the rules of your own making.
How strange, I thought, that I had not realised this before. Bemused, I set down my glass and pondered. What if I did not have to wake up with a headache again? What if this time there is some sanity connected to the reckless disregard I hold my heart in? I look up at him and as if to echo my revelation, he offers a middle ground on which to steady myself. A safe harbour from the uncharted and tumultuous waters we find ourselves treading. A touch of reality with which to create a new foundation, a place where my dreams can roam freely without fear of being burnt, but where they are still free to remain just that, fantastic fantasies of frivolity.
That night, when my head hit the pillow, it did not hit so hard, and for a while, before the black of night and bright of light, I enjoyed the sweetness of slumber, excited by the fact that good things come to those who wait, but peacefully content in the knowledge that when good things come with some sense of moderation, there is more good to be had time and again and again…