Thursday, May 7, 2009

"reality and dreams" not by muriel spark

"reality is but a dream" thought albert, in the words of his favourite author had he but known. he gazed out the window at his smooth green lawn, surrounded by a tasteful hedge well trimmed by himself, and wondered whether he should fill in the side border with some of those new double daffodils? well, that could wait. he had work to do. and thus his midmorning coffee break must come to a tranquil end and contemplations of infinity wait for another day.

gently he reached for the next book on the top of the pile by his typewriter. it was a book of short stories, he saw, not his usual fare, but a quick study to those in the know. he skimmed through the table of contents, noting titles such as "life is but a dream" (aha, he thought, off to a good start my lad!), "boxes forever" and "ladies dinner bell". this last grabbed his interest and he turned to page 243.

"jessica turned to her boon companion of many years, lady mabel, and inquired as to whether it was yet time to dine. 'indeed', replied my lady, who had been dressed this half hour, and led the way in. in their small but sumptuous dining apartment sat the makings of a splendid meal. many covered dishes gave forth the redolent steam of hours in the kitchen, where Cook and her helpers laboured only to please.

jessica was feeling a little off colour and merely contented herself with a small helping of her favourite cauliflower cheese. lady mabel, au contraire, had a hearty appetite, and was soon tucking into piles of beans al fresco and salade a la normande, a particular speciality of the house. nicely dressed, it could serve an entire family, but lady mabel did her best to polish it off. soon it was time for pudding, and what a pudding it was! a mile high cascade of chocolate met their astounded eyes, and even jessica recovered her appetite sufficiently to partake."

albert skimmed ahead to the end of the story, noting the predictable developments, ending in the happy installation of an authentic dinner bell (no doubt brought back from india by some ancestor of m'lady) and jessica's eternal gratitude at never having to wonder again when dinner might be. "well," he thought, "this one will do" and made a few notes about the stilted yet imaginative use of period language, etc.

all this hard work had brought out the best in him and he allowed himself to add a few notes to his own work in progress, a sensitive novel-to-be about various subjects dear to a boy's heart. a few bittersweet memories floated by, and he noted down the best of them.

and at last it was time for his very own dinner, bell or otherwise, and a quiet evening at home. which soon passed, and he found himself yawning for bed. bed awaited, where he arranged himself comfortably in his favourite blue and white pyjamas and prepared for the soothing hand of sleep to overtake him.

soon, he was deep in a dream. gentle snores emitted from his fine large nose but they he did not hear, for he was wandering the streets of his very own town, designed by himself, where he had passed many a happy hour. for yes, albert was a master dreamer. or so he thought and verily hoped, based on a book he had come across at the tender age of 20, and lived his life by ever since.

he found himself on an empty street. soon, he encountered a neighbor and had a conversation. many merry words ensued, but as always they would fade by morning, much as he hoped to retain them and use them as the basis for his masterpiece, planned to arrive about five years after "life of a boy". one precious image survived, and he eagerly seized it, setting it down in his flowing handwriting in the handy blue covered dream notebook by his bedside. he pondered it long and deeply ere returning to sleep, with those favourite words of his again echoing in his mind. "a dream is but reality," his sleepy mind averred, and he was just awake enough to notate it as he drifted off.

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