None of it was real after all. I’d been dreaming for a whole year. A dream that had 365 sub-dreams, inception-style. I’d lived in this bubble that I guess everyone lives in until it pops and the world shows you that it’s a harsh place where being a gentleman is practically invitation for pain.
Everyday I dreamed that I was in love with a girl who loved me too. Everyday I dreamed that we would affirm our love for each other. Everyday I dreamed that I was accepted, loved, safe. I would have these long dreams about video calls that were never interrupted by poor data reception. I would dream that there was faith on my side. In those dreams I would ask myself, “am I dreaming?”. I would pinch myself to see whether it hurt; I would stroke my johnny to see whether it responded; because in dreams those sensations are supposed to wake you up. I felt the pleasure and the pain but I didn’t wake up. I was stuck- enjoying every “day” because i had no idea when the dream would end and plunge me into another one.
In this dream I lived in a far away country but the love of my life lived far, far away in a land where morning is night and night is afternoon. No matter how many times I slept, this part of the dream never faded. I had trained my body to obey those laws so that I could catch my love only when it was convenient for her. So that meant I would sleep late and wake up early. In those dreams my doctors said I was killing myself- that my heart had grown enlarged and my blood pressure was unusually high for a boy that was only 16 years old. They warned me she was killing me slowly. I laughed in their faces and told them they didn’t understand at all. They shook their heads in a knowing manner, an indulgent smile plastering their faces that seemed to say “oh don’t worry, he’ll figure it out soon enough”.
Monsters usually start out as nice guys. All it takes is one broken heart after another. I got tired of hearing people repeat those words. My love would never do that to me. Even if she did, I’m a forgiving human. I’m 16. I can recover. Just water off a duck’s back. These are the years to make mistakes. In those sub-dreams all my friends and their True Loves broke up and I was consoling them. Of course it couldn’t happen to me. I was happy. Truly happy. Until the day that Manchester United beat my team, Arsenal 8-1. That was the day that my Love called me aside and told me that she didn’t think we could continue. I asked myself if it was a dream. I pinched myself and it hurt but I didn’t wake up.
“Why?” I asked
“I don’t know myself. I’m confused”, she replied
“Do you want to think about this and get to me?” I asked
“no, I’m pretty sure. Look, it’s not like I found someone else or you did something wrong. I loved you and I still do love you” She told me, her face morphing from an angel to something darker.
“Tell me you’re joking” I said. The earth started to shift beneath me. I thought I was going to pass out but I noticed that the earth was tilting and tilting until the sky now lay beneath my feet and the ground above my head.
Things began to drop out of the ground. Cars fell from this topsy-turvy ground right through the sky but strangely I was still standing. Then the sky beneath my feet began to darken with clouds. My feet began to chill. I tried to run but the clouds glued my legs like cotton candy as she laughed that chilling nollywood witch laughter.
“Don’t you know we are all monsters? That there’s some darkness in everyone of us? That we must get rid of the light and embrace the darkness?” she asked.
She must have seen the terrified look on my face because she attenuated her laughter. “Oh my poor baby. My sweet baby who loves me so much. I don’t want you to be sad. I want you to be happy like I’m still yours.”
The lighting flashed and lit up her face. Now I could see that she had lost some teeth and the hair on her head wasn’t human at all but a horsetail glued to the centre of her scalp. The thunder boomed a loud boom that shook the ground-sky and it started raining sand. little bits of roots from the upside-down sky started falling on my head. I found that the lightning had warmed the cotton-candy clouds enough for my legs to move a little freely.
I started to run but she floated over my head like a ghost.
“embrace the darkness” she yelled. “Go break some hearts out there. You must at least break one. Come on, won’t you do it for me? then we can be monsters together forever? monsters united?”
“never!” I yelled. “I’m not a monster!”
“oh poor boy. You think you’re not a monster because you’re polite? because you answer when your mummy calls you? because you’re faithful and wouldn’t cheat on me even though you had a chance with my friend? NO, my dear boy. You’re a monster. We’re all monsters. In fact, let me show you”
I was still running, but I knew I wasn’t making any progress, because the cotton-candy clouds were too mushy, like a very viscous mud pool. She sped up and tried to grab my shoulder. I ducked, so she flew over, then she made a 180-degree turn. She lunged at my midsection and I had nowhere to run. She grabbed my shirt with finely manicured fingers and pulled. As she pulled, I became aware of a burning, bleeding sensation in my chest. I looked down and saw that she had ripped a layer of my flesh out. lying bare was the hole were my heart should have been.
“what? why are you surprised? didn’t you promise to give me your heart?”
“Not literally!” I screamed, wondering how I was still alive.
“oh really? I didn’t know. Anyway by now you should know you’re exactly like me and every other monster”
“what are you talking about?” I asked. I looked down and saw a black, slippery, cold liquid running down my chest, painting my entire body black. I I felt something scratching my scalp. I didn’t need to look up to know that I had grown a horsetail on my head.
“why did you do this to me?” I asked with the fading drops of my strength
“I can’t tell you why” she said. “I just had to do it”.
I was now sure that this was a dream and I needed to wake up fast. I watched for other cars falling through the sky and when the next one came, I grabbed hold of it. We plunged through the sky, picking up speed as we left earth’s atmosphere. The international space centre whizzed by.
And then I woke up. With a horsetail glued to my head and bloodstains on my shirt.