A Dream Within A Dream
By Thai Peck
The theatre – more like a palace really – heavily ornate in gold-plated furnishings. The passage was wide and bright with mirrors reflecting all the lights of many huge crystal chandeliers.
The music was still ringing in her ears as she was walking along the corridor. Perhaps it was from Mendelssohn’s violin concerto or could it be Dvorak’s cello suite; whichever, she was too happy to care.
She was loved, adored and he was kind, handsome and he loved her! Her heart skipped with happiness as they made their way down a grand staircase. Her hand gently ran over the beautifully carved balustrade, a gleam in her eyes showed much admiration for the artistic labour of the past, she took a deep breath as though she wanted to inhale the spirit of this grandeur, her eyes glancing up at him, she smiled; a quiet gratitude. He watched her, a gentle smile beaming on his handsome face, it was such a pleasure witnessing her expression of appreciation, and he held her gently down the steps, as though she was the most precious thing on earth.
The foyer now looked like an art gallery. A bright red velvet-cushioned bench beckoned them to sit down and contemplate an enormous painting on the wall. The light rain was falling steadily outside. They waited, his hand holding hers, their eyes gazing at the same direction where so much information appeared slowly on the painting pleading the artist’s hidden story.
A stranger stopped by and parked himself by her side, pleasantly commented on the painting. An amusing reply from her: “Those human-beings in the painting are staring at us with wonderment too!” It took him a moment then the stranger gave out a hearty laugh while her lover squeezed her hand gently, looking at her with an approving smile full of love and admiration.
The stranger stood up, took a bow and walked away, she noticed that he was in full dinner suit attire while she and her lover were casually dressed: he, with a pale blue open-neck shirt and she wore a flowing reddish silk dress and a cardigan over her shoulders
They walked out of the theatre foyer; the evening light was softer but no less bright. She exclaimed: “It stops raining!” He smiled happily: “So it is!” A young pretty lady came to greet them: It was his sister who was looking cheerfully with tender friendliness toward her. All three walked together among the crowd.
It was late but there were still so many people around, outside in a sort of carnival atmosphere, everyone was cheerful and happy. She was walking holding on his arm feeling as light as a feather, she wore no jewellery, carried no handbag, no “iPhone”, no purse and she felt so free.
They stopped by a stall selling beautiful handcrafts and artwork including many beautiful silk scarves. How she loved touching the soft flowing silks gently against her cheeks, they were the most luxurious colours that she had never seen before. He offered to buy her one, or two or as many as she liked, but she wanted nothing, she needed nothing as long as he was by her side and while all she wanted was to feel his soft breathing on her neck.
His sister, however, bought one for herself; it looked so pretty on her, a mixture of pastel colours that looked just like a watercolour painting from somewhere… Watercolour…? Out of nowhere…? Why did she think of watercolour…?
(All of a sudden, the bright light dimmed and it became so dark as though someone slowly turning the switch off…)
“…What happened? Where was she?” She tried to peer into the darkness gathering her thought but her mind wandered far, so far…
She heard a voice calling but did not know where it came from. She did not know why someone called out: ‘grandma‘. Whose grandma??? Her own grandmother had died seemed like centuries ago!
How pale the light turned, perhaps night had fallen, her vision blurring. She tried to stare into the dark shadows catching sight of the man she loved but she could hardly see… Then all of a sudden! She sighed with relief as the white light regained its brightness. Through this blurred vision yet she could see it so clearly: There she stood with her lover by her side yet, for a moment where she thought she had lost him… Her heavy eyelids closed contentedly… A smile on her dry lips…
In a half-lighted room, the doctor whispered softly to the young woman standing by the hospital bed: “I think your Grandma has gone.”
The young man put a hand on her shoulder to comfort her; slowly the young woman leaned her head on his shoulder. It was a summer evening; the golden sunset was going down slowly outside the window, casting a brilliant glow about the small room, the young woman was wearing a flowing reddish silk dress and her young man in the pale blue summer shirt…
“…I stand amid the roar of a surf-tormented shore, and I hold within my hand. Grains of the golden sand – How few! Yet how they creep through my fingers to the deep. While I weep – while I weep! O God! Can I not grasp them with a tighter clasp? O God! Can I not save one from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”
Edgar Allan Poe
Author’s note: “From a vivid dream, this story (published 2015 WP) was created in loving memory of a beloved.”