“We live as we dream–alone….”
― Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
My Friends Dream and I Just Sleep
I dream of winning the lottery and spending the rest of my life traveling the world, going to exotic locations. I will send postcards. A reliable, discrete research company supplies me with lists of names – some random, others carefully chosen as perfectly ordinary, lonely folks from forgotten towns. I go forth each day and buy local postcards full of beautiful sunsets, mountain ranges, masterpiece-filled museums, famous tourist landmarks, castles, palaces, or a tableau of local fishermen or washerwomen toiling under the tropical sun.
Sitting in the office corner of my expensive hotel suite, or possibly a table by the pool, or even an overstuffed booth in a smoky bar I write the postcards. Something carefully simple and familiar, a message that carries an implied sequence, like a bit of daily conversation between close friends.
“Hi, we ate fish with mangoes today, the sea here is like a turquoise table.”
“The skiing is rough this year, the snow thin and icy.”
“Pierre sends his love, he has been bedridden – I believe it was some bad clams.”
Then I sign the postcards with a scribble I have carefully practiced. It is obviously a name – but one of ambiguous nature. Is it Barton?, or Charles? or is it Deborah? or Denise?
The address and the salutation (Dearest Sue… Henry, old friend) are printed very carefully, though. I don’t want the card to be misdelivered; even though its recipient is someone I don’t know.
Sometimes the messages are a little more personal, something beyond, “Wish you were here.”
“I sill think of the look in your eyes the moment we parted every day of my life.”
“No beautiful sunset will replace the ache in my heart when we are apart.”
Maybe a hint of a physical relationship; a small treat for the postal workers, delivery men, or local snoops to read as the card passes by, uncovered for public knowledge.
“As I stretch out on the sun-drenched sand I can feel the warmth of your body as if still pressed against mine.”
I imagine the postcards being delivered – puzzled looks, tossing and turning, forgotten corners of memory relit and poured over, the consulting of an Atlas. My hope is that in a certain small percentage of recipients the card will root and grow – flower into a fully imagined memory… false, yes, but strong too. After all – there is the postcard; there is the evidence.
Maybe, with time, the exotic imagination will become truth, a cherished memory, a wonderful story for the Grandkids.