Conversation on a Dream

Lucien and Pascal are at lunch at a crowded outdoor café. The occasional sounds of traffic nearby and the murmur of other patrons’ conversations are part of the tableau of their reunion.

LUCIEN: “Every few days the dream comes.  Maybe twice, maybe three times a week.  I am staring out into a pristine, snowy landscape. Flat at first, but as I try to move forward, the landscape slopes up, the snow a rippling white as in a bowl of marshmallow cream. I cannot see the peak of this slope, and I know I will not achieve the summit, so I search for another way out.”

PASCAL: “So you are feeling trapped?”

LUCIEN: “Ehhh, perhaps, but not in a panicking way. But as I examine the scene in front of me, I notice a path across the slope, ditched into the snow, parallel to where I am, going upwards from left to right.  The start and the end are beyond my field of view, and I have no way to approach it, for between myself and the path is a deep valley. Still, I have not yet lost hope.”

PASCAL: “I see. You are disconnected from a path that begins from and leads to nowhere.”

LUCIEN: “Not for long.  I suddenly realize that two figures are slowly trudging their way up the path.  I believe they are on skis, although the distance makes perception as to how they are traveling difficult. They are so far away that nothing is distinguishable about their features, their style of clothes, nothing.  As I stare at them, and become aware of them, I feel myself moving across the landscape toward them, over the deep valley, moving fast.  As I approach, I am drawn to the second figure whose face is now clear to me.  It is me!”

PASCAL: “A predictable twist.”

LUCIEN: (scoffing) “As soon as I realize that, I now am the second figure.  I find I am not wearing skis at all, but hiking boots. My poles are simply walking sticks.  However, I have no idea who the person ahead of me is, who is also dressed the same way. I want to know.  I have been trying to catch up to them. I need to talk to them. But no matter how fast or hard I try, they remain ahead of me.  I call out, ‘Hello!  Wait!’ to no avail. I push myself harder, I now understand that they have the means to help me escape from this frozen land. I move faster, crying ‘Stop!’ They turn around, their face is masked but their eyes are burning with malice.  They rush toward me and push me. I lose my footing and now I am falling over the side, into the valley.  That’s when I wake up.”

PASCAL: “The second figure, can you tell what they are wearing?”

LUCIEN: “A ski jacket and pants, no doubt. I’m sure I would notice if they were wearing something different.  Black, I think. Is that important?”

PASCAL: “Perhaps the fact that you can’t remember that detail is what’s important.”

LUCIEN: “Why? What do you think it means?”

PASCAL: “I will tell you what I think. But you won’t like it.”

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