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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Chapter Sixty-Eight, in which Dreams have consequences

Yesterday morning your Bibliothecary had the pleasure of breaking fast with our darling Erato. Sadly misunderstood and eminently beddable, few women are as dear to us, or as fascinating. A keen ability to sense the pain she kept hidden behind her mask of beauty absolutely disarmed her at one of our earliest meetings, and we have been devoted confidantes ever since.

Even before reaching the restaurant, we sensed her elegiac mood. We gave her time to exude her charm and captivate her audience, and then demanded to know what troubled her.

"Dreams," she said quietly.

In an earlier time, Erato had participated in a fast and furious affair of the heart with someone we viewed as a rather common man, and who we shall refer to by the common name of Dennis. Dennis had a commitment, and Erato had many attachments, but somehow these two shared a sense that they were meant to be together. She cherished their bond in a manner completely different from any other we have witnessed. Then, by some tragic event--the only thing we know of that she keeps shrouded from us--they parted ways. Often we have wondered if Erato has not pursued so many other casual affairs in an effort to escape the suffering of separation from the one she is still convinced she was destined to love.

"The other night I dreamed we were reconciled." She woke that morning with such a feeling of fullness, of completion, of at-long-last. "It was," she said, "the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced."

So we returned to the original question: what troubled her now. Without any sense of embarrassment or irony, she revealed that a great melancholy had descended over her because she had woke every morning since unable to dream of Dennis again.

The waitress arrived at just that moment with our food, and we were allowed the time to think before responding, to try to make sense of what Erato had told us, or was trying to tell us. We should have known better than to say to a woman like her, "They're just dreams."

She asked us about the last time that we did something strenuous. Before the snow, we were riding a bicycle daily. She asked how we felt after a ride. We generally returned home sweaty, out of breath, tired, but exhilarated.

"That is exactly how I woke from my dream," she said. What she meant was, she had experienced the dream as real as any of our bicycle rides.

So we wonder: are dreams real? Is reality a dream? If the brain perceives and responds to something, how can we claim that it never really happened?


  1. What amazes me about dreams is that they can bring back someone you may have consciously forgotten in extremely visceral detail. In dreams, the dead come to tea, and old lovers remind you of their charms.

  2. How marvelous.

    There's something in that one that I feel compelled to steal. In fact, I am even now making off with it...