The boy with his pocket full of dreams walked past a group of teenagers.
He saw a man watch them from behind a wall. He stood beside the gentleman and said, “She loves you. Beneath the nonchalance, she just wants your acceptance of who she’s become.”
As though he’d heard his own thoughts, the gentleman walked over to one of the teenage girls. Awkwardly, he told her that he’d watched one of her plays and thought it was brilliant, well-written and inspiring. The girl looked at her father, seemingly unaffected, but the smile was warm – the first smile she’d given him in months, since the day she’d told him she was not going to continue her studies to write stories instead.
The boy with dreams walked on, now into a tired-looking cafe where the tabletops were worn, the flowers were wilted and the seats unoccupied – just like the owner who stood behind the counter alone.
He sat in front of the man.
“Your dreams lie beyond the doors…” he whispered.
Looking up from his introspection, the owner suddenly put down his dishcloth to take a break. He moved slowly out toward the door, right into the path of an old friend from high school he hadn’t seen in more than 20 years. Together, they walked back into the cafe and as he made coffee for her, they sat and talked – the beginning of a conversation that would last a lifetime.
And the boy walked on.
He saw a bench and sat down, between a distraught man and an angry woman.
“Isn’t love a funny thing?” he pondered aloud. “We hurt the ones we love the most, when all it takes to cross the great divide is an outstretched hand.”
They sat there, the three of them in their own worlds for a long time, before the man hesitatingly stretched out his hand to hold the woman’s. Sliding out beneath the connection made, the boy continued his journey.
Reaching the street corner, the boy suddenly stood transfixed. Unseen, he watched the girl across road. The harlequin’s maiden. She was one of his favourite characters in his imaginations, one of those in this world he had no control over.
She was what made him want to make others’ dreams come true – the dreamer’s muse.
Dashing across the road, he walked alongside her as she struggled to carry her bag of groceries home.
“Hello Collette, loved anyone today?” But she didn’t hear him, her eyes glazed over with pain.
“Need a hug, a kiss or a dream?” the boy asked. Silence.
“Want someone to help you with the load you’re carrying?” the boy continued his monologue. This time, the girl began to tear.
“Oh no! Don’t cry! I’ll make it happen! Someone will come help you okay?” the boy continued, terrified of making his fair maiden sad.
“Oh god…” she whispered to herself, nearly choking on her cries. “Oh dear god, the pain is too great…”
The boy walked helpless beside her. He put an arm around her but she didn’t feel it. He wiped her tears but there were too many. What could he do? What could he say? And fearing her pain would become his too, he ran away with renewed fervence to make others’ dreams come true.
Daily, he’d peer into her kitchen and see her sitting alone at her table, a photograph clutched tight in her hands, as her pain tangibly pierced his heart through the window. This went on for months. Summer turned into autumn and autumn into winter.
And the boy walked on.
One especially cold winter’s night, he stood outside her window and watched as the girl huddled alone. The doorbell rang. A little shocked, the girl walked out of the kitchen. Running to see who it was, the boy reached her front door in time to catch her visitor. It was the owner of the cafe.
“Collette, the Mrs and I thought of you tonight and we were wondering if you’d like this turkey, pie and wine. You know, cos we don’t want you missing your dinner again. You’ve lost enough weight as it is.” the owner of the cafe said.
“Oh! Th-thanks.” Collette replied, not used to the sudden kindness.
“And we were wondering…” the owner continued, “if you’d like to join us for Christmas. It’s just dinner with us, you know… and if you’d like some company…”
“I’d… I’d like to. Thanks.” Collette replied, smiling.
The boy with his pocket full of dreams grinned.
The next night he peered into the window and saw that Collette wasn’t alone. She was with the story girl. As they talked, the boy saw Collette’s eyes brighten. The talking was releasing the sorrow she’d held on for too long. The more Collette shared her story, the more certain the story girl was about immortalising the pain of loss in her next play.
The boy grew busy over the holiday season, realizing dreams for others while his own was neglected. Only when the first flower broke through the frost did he finally get the chance to peer into Collette’s window again. But wait, Collette looked different, somehow.
The pain that had doggedly followed her footsteps was gone. Collette had even begun to hum to herself! Smiling, the boy watched her as she made breakfast and settled down at her table.
“You’re happy…” the boy whispered to no one.
“I’m happy.” Collette said to herself.
“Are you dreaming again?” he asked outside the window.
“I’m dreaming again,” replied Collette, as if she could hear him. “Touch one life, and you touch many others, even those whom you never thought you could reach.”
Then Collette looked up at the window and smiled at the boy of her dreams.
This was a story I wrote more than 2 years ago, in February 2008. I thought of sharing it here today as I rarely write stories on this blog, although it’s still what I love to do. I used to write at least three a week and harboured dreams of releasing a book eventually. I’m not nearly as good as everyone around me who writes but I like doing it, and I guess, that’s what matters…
Growing busier with production and script writing of a different genre, I neglected the stories and 2009 – 2010 saw me rarely writing any. I still want to write them. I feel as though one reason why life has so much drama… is because I am supposed to be a story-teller. If not to help someone, it’s to make them feel less alone.
The stories helped me too. They encouraged me to deal with life from a surreal point of view… and in doing that, I found myself equipped to face a life that is sometimes, very strange.
‘We owe it to each other to tell stories.’
– Neil Gaiman
Maybe the next few months will allow me some time to do what I’m passionate about. And I can share my pocket full of dreams with you.
If I’m bold enough to do so, that is.