It was the night. I aimed for the tube, going back home after having met someone, somewhere (unfortunately I can’t remember who, nor where. It was an important part of the story that won’t ever be recovered).
In Madrid’s subway stations (supposing it was Madrid, which I’m not sure) there are no counter clerks anymore, but this particular entrance (this entrance of my dream) had two old-fashioned booths: they were at ground level, placed before the flight of stairs that lead to the platforms; upstairs, not down, like some stations in the Kiev underground. To one of the booths there was no queue, so I headed that one; but above its window there hung an absurd LED-lamp, switched off, like a motorcycle’s tail light, under which the clerck was frowning at me in an unfriendly way, as if to say: “if you come over here, I’ll switch on the red LEDs”. I thought, then, that if I disobeyed those eyes’ silent order, I’d end up waiting longer; same as it usually happens to me at the cashiers in the supermarkets, where I always head for the shortest queue, which turns out being the slowest. Therefore, I chose the other booth, which was busier, but without the suspicious LED-pilot and with a friendlier-looking clerk.
After queuing for a short while, I was sold a ticket that rather resembled a cinema’s than a subway’s: it was not the usual elongated piece of cardboard, but consisted of two detachable paper halves. Indeed, past the booths and before the turnstiles, there was a ticket collector like in the cinemas; more precisely, a “collectress”: a young woman, who, upon seeing me, smiled as if she knew me, and said: “hurry up, don’t you miss the train entering right now”.
Caught up as I was in the hush of the metropolis, swept along by the passengers, I barely had time to nod her thankyou, and, unfamiliar with those particular turnstiles, I didn’t even manage to validate my ticket, both whose halves, untorn in my hand, I stared at in puzzlement while being dragged up the stairs by the human stream.
But then, I did something quite unusual. It was unusual not in the usual way for dreams to deploy unusual events, but, rather, from the point of view of my personality, because it was something I had never done before, something not fitting neither the real nor the oneiric Pablo (much that I’ve been decades trying to teach to myself how to be more carefree): I stopped short in the middle of the stairs and asked to myself: “well, what’s this hurry about getting back home so fast? Why do I need to run after this train, when all I want to do now is to spend a while talking with that lady? To hell with haste and time!” And, unexpectedly, I turned round, walked down the steps counter-current, and addressed the young woman, who, having noticed my move, was staring at me with the same smile as before.
What happened now (as I could later realize), that villain of my Oneiric self plagiarized –albeit slightly tweaked– from The tamarind seed (a lovely British film that my Awaken self had been watching the night before): upon getting close by her (whom I still couldn’t identify, despite her countenance being very familiar to me), we hugged each other without saying a word, as if we had been waiting for this moment long ago; we kissed each other too, and then, arm in arm, we exited the station and walked away, most naturally, forgetting about the subway, her job and my return to home, chatting like good old friends; though, at the same time, I couldn’t stop wondering: “who is she, actually? Where do I know her from?”
I had to find out!
I had to, even though at the risk of not seeing her again, because my only way was to get out of the dream –temporarily, if possible– in order to search for the answer in the archives of my true memory (that one belonging to my Awaken self). So, willfully, I managed to halfway awake; and, while semi-consciously struggling to find the trail of that face, I semi-consciously tried my best to keep myself inside the dream, thus stretching a bridge–so to say–between sleep and wakefulness in order to return, once the task was done, to my mysterious lover and not to lose her forever. But, alas!, both goals were antagonistic: the closer I got to the memory I tried to search, the more awaken I needed to be, and therefore the less chances for returning to the safe harbour of the dream, to that bliss beside my mysterious friend; a bliss which, even if only a dreamed one, was always much better than the bitter reality of my real life.
Well, the outcome was inevitable: when I finally managed to remember who she was, where I had seen her before (funny: she turned out to be the checker in a supermarket near my house), there was no way back: the dream had faded away and I was irremissibly awaken.
I am, indeed, awaken. However… who knows..? Maybe if I drop by the supermarket now, and if I talk to her… maybe she will also recognise me as her friend in the dream, and thus we might continue our conversation while walking away together, arm in arm, towards the twilight.