Chapter 1 - The Real World
I am not entirely sure when my dreams started to have a string of recurring people with ongoing roles. I am not even sure when my dreamland became more real than reality but it happened. The truth is I am in love with that girl. Every night I run into her somewhere in my dreams and if I am really lucky it is long before I wake up. It is always like the dream I have relayed to you; infuriating, changing, vivid, lovely, happy and perfect. I am not always a movie star…. Or was I a television star? And she doesn't always look the same but the minute I find her (often with the guy who played the director last night as a guide) I know it's her. Sometimes her face will change, much like her outfit did in this dream, but I always know it's her once I've found her. Some of the more irritating nights of dreaming are spent being confused and searching for her but not remembering that it is her I am searching for. I wander, looking the entire dream time and finally find her just to wake up. She always knows before I do that I am about to wake up. It is the reason everyone was so irritated with me last night. I had forgotten them in my dreaming again and had not made it until it was too late. As I woke her kiss remained etched in my brain as did her tears. I would need to find her quicker tonight. She deserved that much.
In this place, the "real" world, I work in insurance services. It is not my ideal work environment but I pay the bills, put fuel in my car, shop for groceries and have enough left over to manage a few fun things every week. My savings account is not filled to the brim but there is something in there. I have plans to go out with friends tonight for a little drunken karaoke and I have a third date set up for tomorrow with a girl I met at a friend’s house party. My life is not closeted and I am no your normal delusional maniac. I don’t lack friends or dates. I exist in the real world and I try to maintain and keep a life in this world. Truth be told, I am just as confused as you are about my other life but I have been seeing the same dream girl for two years. It seemed to be time to propose to her and we have been engaged for the last two months.
I used to wish that my dreams were the reality and this place was the dream. I know it isn't though. This world is too horribly consistent to ever be a dream. Every time I wake up I instantly know where I am, who I am, what bills are due and what I need to do that day. That never happens in a dream. Usually in a dream I spend most of it trying to remember where I am and what I need to do. I will be lucky if I have the movie/tv star world pop back up. I hate waking up from that world no matter how random and changing it is but even when I have all day to sleep I can't always manage a dream with her in it. Even a long nap does not guarantee that I will see her; even if I fall into dreamland. So every day I get up and go about my other life. I work, play, date and eat but not necessarily in that order. Welcome to my life.
Most of my days are as boring as anyone else's days. On the weekends I have some fun with friends, go on dates, see the latest blockbuster movie and indulge in the act of sleeping in. My weeknight fun usually consists of watching my favorite television shows and maybe a bowl of ice cream. Basically in my day to day life you and I are similar. I am not marked as different from you in any way in the real world. In my dreams is where I differ. Even if you have recurring characters in your dreams they are probably some weird nightmare where it replays. My dreams have people who show up every night. They know who I am, love me for who I am, understand that they are parts of my dream, and remember not only what happened the night before but also have a knowledge of my waking moments. You can’t tell me that this happens to you… and if you do tell me that, we both know it is just because you like to argue.
This day is not much different than any other Friday. My calls are new people calling with vaguely the same problems. The insurance company is moving too slowly on their insurance claim, we raised their rates, they have a new driver or car to add, or they are being dropped because they can’t remember to pay the bill no matter how many notices we send them. I chatter between calls and on my breaks with coworkers but overall I am bored. The job is mindless and terrible. One thing this job has taught me is that no matter what your insurance company claims they are not on your side, they aren’t your family, they make terrible neighbors and they are in it for the money. That brings up a sore point for me because more than half of my day is filled up with you yelling at me about your own mistakes. Don’t fool yourself by the pleasant sounding chatter coming from my mouth. If you say the wrong thing about something we insure that ups your risk realize that I am being recorded and I do have to find out more and possibly raise your rates. We aren’t friends that can shoot the breeze about the tree about to crash through your house. So watch your mouth and don’t give more details then I ask for. I am not saying that you should lie to your insurance company; you most definitely should answer all questions truthfully. Lying could end up getting you into some serious legal trouble. What I am saying is don’t start giving out extra information. If you are super proud of the latest giant lift you put on your truck share it with your friend not your insurance company representative. If I didn’t bring it up keep it to yourself. Anyway the day was filled with the usual crap and the only bright spot was knowing that at 5 PM my friends and I were headed to happy hour. I could almost taste it.
“So tell us about this chick you’re dating, Shawn. Is she hot?” Mike asked with his usual bluntness.
“You mean Sarah? Except for her hunchback, horrible teeth, insatiable appetite for human flesh, and terrible smell of decay; I would have to say yes.” I responded. And the guys laughed as the waitress set our beers down in front of us.
“You gonna bring her out to the lake with you next weekend?” Mike asked.
“It depends on if she can find a swimming suit that will accentuate her hump back or not.” I replied with a smirk. “I am planning too and so far she is planning on coming along. Are you bringing your wife or did you figure that it might be a good idea to ditch her again?”
“Hey! She told me I could go without her when she sprained her ankle. How was I supposed to know that actually meant that I couldn’t go without her unless I planned on committing hari-kiri when I got back.” He said with a slightly innocent but somehow evil look in his eye.
We all laughed and reached for our beers.