Dreamless sleep

A young man is asking the stars why he had stopped dreaming.

He wasn't sure whether he was awake, or still asleep. He was certain his eyes were open, but the confusing fact was that he did not see anything. Everything was pitch black, just like every time he would fall asleep. He could not yet rely on his sight, but the sound that the wind and his window made together, and the cold that he felt, clearly stated that he was no longer sleeping. 

He lay, motionless, until his eyes got used to the dark. The moonlight faintly lit up his room, making it barely visible. On a shelf beside the bed, there were a couple pictures and a few souvenirs. Reminders of his former life, now neglected, dusty and forgotten. 

He stood up, wanting to close the window, and although he had planned to go straight back to bed, his gaze lingered on the stars. He wondered. Were they human, even from such a distance, they could have seen in his eyes that something was troubling him. He spoke to them. They were the only suitable interlocutor; Always there, always ready to listen to what he had to say. They didn't ask excessive questions, and they did not judge.

Why have the dreams abandoned me? They used to be so frequent, so clear, more real than reality itself, often even more beautiful. Now, even the nightmares are gone. I see only nothingness whenever I close my eyes. He spoke quietly, in the same tone.  There was no sadness in his voice, only curiosity. It seemed like he was expecting an answer. He waited, calm and with patience, not letting his gaze shift down from the stars, repeating the same question over and over: Why are they no more?

After a while, it seemed like one of them spoke. He clearly heard the words: What is your life long dream? What it is you wish to accomplish in life? He remembered the voices of all the people who often used to ask him the same question when he was still a kid, but he could not remember his answer. 

Why is it that people refer to their wishes, demands, visions of their ideal futures - as dreams? Is a dream not something that isn't real, something that ends the moment we open our eyes?

Can't dreams be real too? Is it not that, which you think and fantasize about, that often comes to you in your dreams? he heard the same voice asking.

Something inside him changed. His eyes widened and his right hand started shaking, just like it often happens when a man realizes that he had done something terrible.

Had my eyes not seen that before? How did I not comprehend the connection between a wish and a dream? That must be why they have abandoned me... They must have left when I rejected all of my desires. 

He no longer saw the stars, but pictures of himself. The sky was a canvas which projected his memories. After all, he did not forget what he used to look like, he did not forget how happy he was, when his desires were only a single step from fulfillment. He looked up with amazement, as his former wishes and dreams flew by. He wondered for a while, looking at himself that was not him. And then, all of a sudden, the pictures changed. It was him again, but different - angry, furious, trying to hold on to dreams which the others so selfishly abducted. He saw a version of himself, with sorrow in his eyes, as he begged the ones that started disappearing on their own, vanishing bit by bit, to return to him. The him in the sky stretched out his hand, unsuccessfully trying to catch the pieces and put them back together.

It is my fault. I wanted and dreamed of the impossible, desired only the best of the best. I failed to see what was real, what had already stood in front of me... That for which I only needed to hold out my hand, and it would have been mine. And that is why, in the end, I was always left with nothing; lost dreams one by one, and with each, a portion of my strength and will.

I drove them away. I knew of the insatiable hunger of my desires, and so I stopped wanting altogether. I know now. I stopped dreaming because I dreamt of that which can never be, all the while believing it would come true. I knew that I could not allow myself to destroy another impossible dream. I had to stop dreaming.

He calmed down. What he saw did not surprise him. He understood that it was the only way to fight himself - to let go of his desires and dreams, and observe the world as it is, forced to adapt to it again and again. He did not find a better way. But now, his curiosity was satisfied, and he remembered why he had stopped dreaming. And that was all that mattered. 

He nodded, as a sign of gratitude towards the stars, and went back to his bed, returning to his dreamless sleep.

The End

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