Naked and spectacular

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Melt [part II]

"Our lives are always interrupted by some thing or another," the man reminds her.  "It's as if we don't have any control."  She allows the words to settle on her, although she does not understand them.  "It doesn't matter anyway, where the information comes from.  We can be certain it is there.  That's what matters.  That certainty."

She feels like walking and so walks across to the other side of the room.  Not that there are any rooms in this world, just one big vast open space.  But she moves anyway, just for a change of environment and to exercise her legs slightly, they haven't been exercised in a few minutes and she instinctively knows they are becoming slightly cramped.

She does remember that in that dream world she was totally inactive for large portions of the day and she never even noticed that her body was crying out to her as a result.  She can't imagine now what would have distracted her so sufficiently that she was able to ignore the pleas of her body for so long.  But now it doesn't matter.  It was just a dream and already the memory of it is feeling far-fetched and distant from the reality of her existence.

It was an intense dream though.  She wants to think about it for a while as she walks through the endless landscape of crunchy fresh snow.  She remembers in the dream being unbearably cold.  But then she can't imagine a world any colder than the world she is walking through.  Maybe in the dream her clothing was insufficient.  She remembers being unbearably wet too, as though the rain was a curse.  She hated the rain in this dream.  No, she remembers, everyone in this strange world hated the rain.  They would all curse the rain and then the rain would make them wet and the wet would hang on them, their clothes would smell and they would feel much pain as a result.

The overwhelming message of the dream, she was beginning to deduct, was this tendency to ignore the body and persist in the face of pain.  The pain would hang all over her body like those wet clothes and she would never take them off.  In this world she loves getting her clothes wet and feeling that cold sting on her skin and then taking the clothes off and feeling the wind all over her naked body and running in that feeling and howling in that feeling and then entering the sauna and feeling the heat and then coming back out into the intense cold and continuing until nothing else mattered.

But right now she is walking and continuing to ponder this pervasive pain everywhere in the dream world.  There were other people in that dream world who also had wet clothes of pain hanging all over their bodies all the time.  They say that every person in your dream is really you and this is probably true but she remembers feeling very alienated from all the people in the dream, as if they were always just looking at her with detachment.  She would look at them too, with fascination but no love; the same detachment.

As she walks though the snow a person passes her, seemingly pondering some dream as she is.  They exchange no words but look deeply into each others' eyes.  Like her, this other person wears a purple scarf and walks slowly with her hands in her pockets and with her face mostly pointing up to the calm powerful sky, rather than watching where she is going.  They say many things with their eyes and feel the deep warmth of love and then quickly forget each other as they return to the bitter excitement of the unreality of their dreams.

In the dream world the people couldn't take off their clothes because they were the clothes.  She couldn't take off the shirt and exchange it for the shirt of another person because the shirt was hers and the other's shirt was his and this carried some sort of importance that she now finds curious.  She decides it must have something to do with the pain.  In that world, she considers, if I took off my shirt my pain would go away.  I would be free.  In the cold world of home she knows exactly how long she can run around naked in the snow before it is time to go into the sauna and warm up.  In the dream world there was the threat of death.

Another strange consideration is suddenly remembered.  In the dream everyone was always afraid of dying.  That's why they never took their clothes off.  Even though the clothes were heavy and wet and caused great pain and sometimes hypothermia, all the people were worried that if they took them off they would be too cold and die.  People did die in that world, she remembers, but they always resisted it, focusing on the pain rather than the transformation of death.

Pain.  There was a lot of pain in that world.  She had been obsessed with pain in the dream.  She loved to hate the pain and wrote stories about the pain and felt the intensity of the pain without actually listening to the pain and what it was saying.  She tries to imagine what was so special about the pain in that dream world but cannot.  Pain is simply not interesting to her and she can't imagine why she or anyone in that world would dedicate their lives to it.  It seems, she considers, that in that world we all needed a certain amount of pain and we would stand there and wait until we had it all.  It was like waiting for our pay at the end of the day.  We all knew how much pain we were owed and we weren't going to leave until we had it all.  And when we had all that pain grasped tightly in our hands we would put it in the safest pocket on the inside of our jacket and we would do up the zip and walk away from each other certain that we had all our pain, all the pain we deserved, and that no one would take it away from us.  There was a little bit of fear that someone would attack us and take our carefully folded wad of pain from our pocket for themselves, but this fear was just a little bonus for a hard day's work.  Nothing to be afraid of.

She shudders at the strangeness of this dream world and notices the feelings of this world fall off her body and soak into the earth.  She has finished reliving them and now she integrates the experience into herself with a laugh that tilts her head back with her face facing the sky.  She can't wait to tell him about this dream.  She always tells him her dreams and he always listens to her and not to the dream.  Last time he told her that he forgets her dreams instantly but never forgets her face as she tells them.  This is enough for her.  First she experiences the dream, then she returns and remembers, then she laughs, then she recalls the dream to him.  This fourth stage is when the dream becomes a story and after she has told the story she writes it in the book and closes the book for another day.  One day all the little children will open the book with curiosity and read all the dream stories, visualise all the dream worlds and marvel at their strangeness before closing the book and running to play.

"A world of pain," she announces because he is standing in front of her.  They both laugh at this because she is more dramatic than seems appropriate for the telling of the story.  Their bodies convulse with the hysterical laughter of what so far is only the title of her story.  "This world is serious," she pleads in a moment without laughter and he holds her hand to the heart in his chest and laughs a gentle restrained laugh.  The dream world feels so different that it's hard to tell it's story in her world of lightness and laughter.  There's an abstraction to it that she can't relate to anymore.  Even the sense she has just made of the world is fading away fast.  This would be another one of those dreams forgotten.  But she doesn't mind because when she looks at him she sees that he knows.  He can see her so clearly and he sees the fading dream and that her moment of reliving it is passing and that she doesn't mind.  Soon they will be completely present together.

"There it goes," he announces quietly as the final residue of dream leaves her body.  She looks at him as if discovering her love for him for the first time.  "I had so much to tell you about this world," she smiles into his eyes.  "Now I don't remember a thing."  "You'll have to sleep again tonight then," he responds.  "There are plenty of dreams around."  He pretends to pluck one from the sky and hold it in his hand like a trapped fly.  They both carefully stare at his closed hand and pull closer together as he slowly opens it and lets the imaginary dream float away again.

She stares at his empty hand a moment after the dream has gone and draws the gentle hand to her face where it rests in a tangible comfort and intimacy.  She feels the intensity of his presence all over her body and enjoys the overwhelming emptiness of no dream and no thought, just him and her standing together in the snow.  Their mutual body heat keeps them both warm for an eternal moment until again they are moving, silently and together, along the plain but not towards or away from anything.