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Night And Day
Oliver Moor


I wake up. It has all been a dream.

Again.

I lie back against my pillow. The dream has been of an intensity that thrills me, and yet its boundless serenity had left me with a deep peace. I know, however, that underlying that peace lies a frustration so huge and desperate it can never be fulfilled. I long to enter the world of my dream. I want so much to be part of it and for it to be a dream no longer. I cannot bear it to present itself to me, night after night, month after month, year after year, filling me with a yearning I can scarcely bear any longer. I cannot tolerate my dream, and yet I wish it to continue.

I weep for its loss every morning, and pray for its return every night. My dream tempts me, teases me, enchants and enslaves. It gives me a sense of hope, and a sense of meaning. It is order when all around is chaos. It is a constant companion and friend. It is joy.

But my dream is killing me. Its promise can never be fulfilled. It is a beacon in the darkness, yet when I wake the darkness is still present and the dream is gone, leaving me only with a memory, a faint reminder of what can never be real.

I stare at the stars above my bed. The dream has flickered and died.

The stars are distant and gloomy. There is a mist in the room.

I lie for a few moments longer, then arise. I must prepare myself for the day ahead. Soon I will open my door and confront – what?

I have no idea.

The floor is cold and the room is dark. I shuffle forward, my feet numb. I take a deep breath and steel myself. I reach for the door to my bedroom.

I open the door.

This morning I open my door to find myself in an operating theatre.
My parents are in the operating theatre. My father is on the table: his chest has been opened up. His body is an empty husk. It has been emptied of its organs and resembles the hull of a boat.

He is wide awake. My mother stands by the table.

My father looks at me and frowns. My mother is crying. Tears run down her face and form a great pool at her feet. Her tears cover the floor of the operating theatre.

“Good morning,” I say. The doctor is wading around in the pool of tears.
“Why are you here?” says the doctor. “Don’t you have a train to catch?”
I had forgotten the train. But I hear it through the door of the operating theatre. I open the door and run out.

The train is leaving. I hear the noise of the wheels spinning against the tracks. Then I hear the voice of the guard: all aboard for destinations to Crewe, York, and Derby. I have an urgent appointment in Derby. The train is pulling away from the platform.

I run to the nearest door. It does not open. I try the next. It does not open.
The train is leaving. I run faster and faster, frantically trying each door in turn. None of the doors will open. There are passengers on the train. Some of them look at me and wave. Others are laughing at me. I recognise a friend from school.

“Paul! Paul!” I shout. “Open the train door!”

Paul looks at me. Then he looks away. I have missed the train.

My mother and father are on the platform. I look up at them.

“You have let us down, Francis” my father says. “Your mother is very upset. Why can you never do anything right?” I start to cry. We leave the station. There is bright sunshine outside and we get into our car.

This morning our car is a Lotus Esprit. It is red and gleams in the bright sunshine. We crowd into the car. My sisters and brothers are there too. My parents sit in the two seats. We stand behind the seats, holding on to the headrests. Our legs press against the engine. I hear the engine start and my father is driving us now, very fast, to school. The school is on the corner of Graham Hill Bend. We are at Paddock Hill. My father changes up through the gears. We drive under the bridge, then round the hairpin at Druids and plunge downhill very fast. The school building is on the left and I see it flash past.

“Dad! We’ve passed it! We’ve passed it!” my brother cries.
“Fourteen more laps!” he shouts.

The next lap he stops outside the school gates. I get out. The others are not there any more. I go through the gates. The school is empty. I walk through the doors of the school and go up the stairs. The classroom doors are all shut. I see a light on in one of them through the glass of the door. There is a classroom full of people. They are pointing at me.

“You are late,” says the teacher. The teacher is wearing a red coat and is very young. I have seen her before. She is the little girl in the red coat.

“Why are you here?” I say. “You must run. There are Nazis.”

The girl looks terrified. We run together out of the school and out into the street. The world is grey and there is no colour except for the girl’s coat. I hear the sound of dogs barking. They sound close and very fierce. I look over my shoulder and see the dogs. They are far away but I know they will catch me. The girl looks at me. Then she turns and runs back towards the dogs.
“No!” I shout. “Come with me! Melissa!”

I am still running. The girl has disappeared from my sight. The dogs are following me. I hear them barking. They are calling me. “Francis! Francis!” they bark. “Francis!”

I cannot escape the dogs. I am exhausted. They are closing in.

There is a tunnel ahead and I race into it. The walls of the tunnel accelerate past me. The walls are black, but the floor is red and there is a white light ahead.

Then there is a door in front of me. The dogs are barking still. One comes and licks my hand and I stroke its fur. Its warmth fills me with sleep. It is as soft as a blanket. I open the door.

My room.

My day, as usual, has passed in a blink of an eye, yet has lasted for hours. I am shattered by the events of the day.

The floor is cold and the room is dark. I stand for a moment, then lie down.
There is a mist in the room. The stars are distant and gloomy.

I pray for the return of my dream. It does not let me down.

And as I sleep my dream returns to me and I see the office door open, and my colleagues there, busy as usual. My desk awaits me. I hang my jacket on its beautiful wooden peg as I have done in my dream every night for the last fifteen years. I pour myself a coffee, and sit down at my desk where there is a stack of my beloved paperwork awaiting. I smile and turn over the first sheet and start work.

The telephone on my desk rings once, twice. It is a joy to hear it ring, and I answer it with a glad heart.

“Inland Revenue?” I say. “How may I help you?”

But even as I await the answer I feel the fear. As I dream I know that my dream is not real. I know that I will awake to my chaotic, random life. I fear that I cannot take much more of it.

All I want is for my dream to become real. It does not seem much to ask.

I only want to live the dream.  

© Oliver Moor 2001


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