Many people are obsessed with dreams but nobody really knows why we dream. One current hypothesis is that dreams are the way the brain integrates memories, or cleans mind-junk from our neuronal connections. The brain doesn’t rest during sleep, but it is active, too active, in my opinion, as I tend to dream long, convoluted, and vivid stories that not always have a happy ending, and some times don’t even end.
The Dream Itself
The room looked old, and big, and ornate, with purple faded curtains and corners full of frippery and odd objects, lamps, tables, shelves full of books from floor to ceiling. The head of the bed was a cone from which the purple spill of fabric radiated out. A big bay window was behind the bed. How could the massive curtains and the tall, bright windows coexsist in the same exact spot on the wall without offsetting each other or the light that spilled happily into the room? The brain tries to make sense of such things but the truth is that neither the laws of logic nor the laws of physics apply in this wonderland of dreams into which we escape every night.
I was stressed and happy, happy and stressed. The cat escaped from the room over and over again with each turn of my head. I saw it escaping many times during the night, I never noticed how it came back only to escape again, but it could never leave completely from the dream scenario of my mind, so it kept getting away and reappearing in the same place without any logical process. The narrative is not coherent; I just know that things are but not how they come to be in the scenarios of my dreams. Such mysteries as I discover, in the morning, my mind wants to construct into consistent narratives, but if I am very honest, consistency is an after-construct, not the thing that happens as it happens in itself.
Sometime later, I am in my office, in a building huge and new, massive, with high ceilings everywhere, but sterile and unfinished as the psychiatric wards that you see in movies. It is full of natural light everywhere, which makes no sense because there are no windows anywhere. My office is in the same scale of futuristic grandeur and sterile emptiness as the rest of the building, but that doesn’t bother me.—I have no furniture, no curtains, no desk, only the high ceilings, the diffuse green-blue light, and a door.—What does bother me a little bit, is that it is connected to the office of some jackass from the company that I used to work for, and he does have furniture, and a nice big computer that he is working at, oblivious that the other office is my office and that I am standing at the door for full five seconds before I move on and go on to explore the rest of the building.
There are two cafeterias, ours and the one from the biological sciences division. Ours is empty, as if it has not started functioning yet. The one from the biological science division is full of people that smile and talk to each to each other in a friendly way. I know that it is not forbidden for personnel from other divisions to come to this cafeteria, but if you do so you are isolated, nobody talks to you or smiles at you. They are not hostile, in fact, they keep their happy bantering conversations without taking any notice of you. Much like many men did in my former company, I don’t seem to exist for them, my presence doesn’t register. It is funny how dreams can be so surreal one moment and hyperrealistic the next.
How did we arrive at the immaculate white laboratory that houses the veterinary clinic, and who is this young-old woman who conspires with me to spirit away a cat that is about to be euthanased? And why will I want to steal, of all things, two tiny hipodermic needles? Why this particular object? And what do I want them for once I acquire them? I don’t know, I just know that they are for the cat that keeps on escaping through all my monumentally long dream, that dips in and out of coherence but remains crisp, clear, full of colors and details, and people. We manage to get the cat—not my cat, another cat—in the carrier and then my accomplice reads its medical record.
“This cat is a biological bomb!,” she exclaims. “We have to return it to be euthanased.”
As she says it, loud enough to alert the whole lab, I know several things: that she is absolutely right, that this is not my cat, and that the woman sitting just beside me who is a legitimate member of the staff, has started to suspect that I don’t belong there. I start to think about a way to return the bio-bomb cat to its place without creating more suspicion or endangering the job of my co-conspirator, whom I now know, is also a legitimate member of the staff, when the dream vanishes and I awake.
My cat is in my bed, gently nudging my hand and meowing for his breakfast, and I will never know what happened to the other ones, the dream-cats, because dreamworlds once awaken from are forever out of reach.