There's A Man In My Dreams I Tell Lies To
There’s a man in my dreams I tell lies to. He doesn’t always have the same face or the same body. He never has the same name, that’s if he names himself at all. Sometimes he’s a woman. Sometimes I don’t see him at all, but when I tell the lie I know he can hear me.
Sometimes the lie is small and white, and sometimes it’s big and dark. Sometimes the lie is unintentional. That’s when I’m not in control of my dream and the words are not mine, but like the dialogue of a movie. Sometimes I know exactly what I am saying and why I am saying it. Sometimes I don’t realise I’ve been lying until after I’ve woken up and I don’t know it was him I was telling until I’m awake.
I fear. I fear he’s going to follow me, from my dreams into my life. To call me out in front of everyone and show me up as a fraud, as the liar he knows me to be.
But they aren’t even real lies, are they? Not when they are part of a dream.
That’s when the dawn brings realisations. The lies I’ve told aren’t important. They don’t reflect upon my actions or thoughts in the real world. They are meaningless, words spoken by a character I played on an ethereal stage. I once told the man I met George Harrison shortly before he died. I hadn’t, and I can’t remember what would have prompted me to tell him that falsehood as we shared coffee at a motorway services.
I told him I had been to Paris when he was my primary school headmistress and that I had sent the auntie I didn’t actually have flowers on her birthday. That was when he was a Japanese tourist at the zoo, photographing the monkeys.
So I wake up. Short of breath. Nervous. Because of the lie I’ve told and the fear the man has now followed me back, ready to expose my untruthfulness. The shower does the job of washing those thoughts off me, and the coffee and toast afterward complete the task.
But as I turn from locking my front door I see the youth standing on the other side of the road, looking across straight at me from under the hood of his sweatshirt. His face is pinched on the left hand side, like he has been poked in the eye or stunned by a blinding light.
You look like you’ve been crying, he calls over to me. Crying like your dog just died.
I had never had a dog, but last night there was a girl. She was blonde, white blonde like platinum, and she was on a dance floor. She did that thing where she danced on the spot, twisting her hips slowly to the groove, arms in the air above her head and clicking her fingers to the beat. It was her I told about my dog dying.
So I run, and I am panicked like when I first woke.
I pick up the pace as I pass where the cookery shop had been, where I queued behind him on Christmas Day at 6pm to buy a saucepan, and told him how in my spare time I coached a small but successful local football team. I was now running fast but he was faster and I could feel him at my back. As I slowed to turn into a narrow alleyway between two other places I recalled but didn’t exist in reality, his hand gripped my left shoulder and pulled, spinning me around on my heels and his fist struck me in the centre of my face.
I fell back and could feel the pinch at the top of my nose. Something dropped onto my lips and tasting it knew it not to be tears. I fumbled for the half a brick to my right, and with limited space to draw back I propelled it at him like a shot-put thrower from my shoulder, pushing my arm out straight to full length and pointing right at him.
It struck the youth square in the face and I hoped, for the second it took me to get to my feet as he stumbled back, that he was feeling the same sting in his nose as I was. But worse.
My hope had been more than fulfilled however. The man was now lying motionless on the ground, spread eagle where he had fallen back. His head tilted awkwardly upright and to the left, and secreted behind the hood of his sweatshirt that was now blackening with blood I saw it; the other half of the brick.
I dusted myself down and as naturally and as calmly as I could I walked back out of the alleyway the way I had entered and started to walk back towards the house.
I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t tell a soul. But you already know how this ends. You already know what happens. I can tell you all this above anyone else because, you see, there is a man in my dreams I tell lies to.