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Happiest Memory

July 15th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     The happiest memory in my life is not one I could ever share with anyone else.  Because it isn't a moment from within my real life but instead one from within a dream, a dream that occurred almost ten years ago.

     In that dream, I spent my childhood in a quiet, abandoned town alongside someone who I seemingly knew all my life.  We would race neck-to-neck as we leapt from rooftop to rooftop, laughing maniacally as we tried to one-up each other, reaching higher and higher into the skies before eventually just taking flight altogether.  I miss having someone who flew alongside me, who raced me to the top rather than just passively followed, who shared my dreams rather than just cheered me on from afar.  I miss the rivalry, the playfulness, the genuine laughter, the look of excitement and anticipation on each other's faces, the thrill of seeing how fast and how far we could go without holding back.  If it seemed we flew too high and one of us began to fall, we would catch each other and throw ourselves higher, until we finally made it above the clouds.  At the end of it all, we'd sit atop the remains of an old wooden post so high that we could watch the sun set, not against the land or water but against the sky itself, the ocean of clouds below reflecting its descent like a mirror facing up against the heavens.

     The sensation of flying is something that would recur throughout my dreams that followed.  It felt more natural to me than any movement on the ground.  It took effort instead not to float upward and drift away.  Usually in a dream, things are foggy, blurred, but here it was always clear, vivid, every one of my five senses fully sharpened and awake - the landscape I could see stretching into the horizon no matter how far and how fast I went, the rustling of leaves in the air around me, the feeling of weightlessness pushing me away from the Earth so long as I kept my mind clear and let myself go without holding back.

     When I wake now, I feel heavy, weighed down, pinned on my back, unable to move, as if I had fallen.  The vividness, the wind in my ears, the rush of adrenaline, all of it replaced with the dull, hazy colors, the constant humming in the walls, the emptiness.  A life I never had but which felt more real than any moment I've woken to.  A sense of freedom so great I have felt nothing but shackled ever since.  I can't help feeling that I have lost someone, forgotten a life I once had, a world I once belonged to.  Sometimes I turn around expecting to see the person I grew up with, only to become disoriented when there's no one there, when there never was.  At times now, the dream feels more real a memory than my own past.  Reality just seems a poor imitation of a memory I could never relive, a place I could never revisit, a time that doesn't even exist.  
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