As a child, I would have incredible, vivid dreams. There was the one where a house I’d never seen before caught fire, a recurring one where Darth Vader chased me around the dirt track near the hospital in my hometown, and lots of trains. Always trains.
During this whole thing I’ve been having dreams again. Or at least, I’ve been able to remember the majority of them again. I think I was in college the last time this was the case. No Sith Lords or burning buildings this time. No, I’ve been dreaming of Athens.
Back in March, the Athens of my dreams was covered in ice and snow. Everything was quiet and bright. Sometimes the dream would end with me feeling rather peaceful, like I’d taken a walk through the snow to see a friend and gotten some hot chocolate on the way. Other times the wind was howling and night had fallen. I’m not comfortable calling those nightmares but they weren’t pleasant dreams.
April was a bit more hectic in my mind. The snow was gone but the flowers hadn’t returned either. Legitimate nightmares were common. My adulthood dreams are all almost too practical, too real. The nights held visions of losing my job over and over, watching loved ones fall ill, my cats running away. The few good dreams I remember featured North Campus. Mostly the fountain, my walking paths, the hidden gardens.
May has been kinder but a bit melancholy so far. I keep having commercials for Athens playing in my head. Michael Stipe is singing “I’m Going to go Back There Some Day” over footage of a show at the 40 Watt, people eating at White Tiger, attending a football game… Or the one where our mayor says “It’s okay to come out now” while various creatures leave their holes, caves, and trees, embracing the warm sun and then each other. Thousands of unnamed students run through my head these nights, on their way to class as I watch from a library window. The Modern Skirts play in the background.
I don’t know if I believe that all dreams have meaning. I do feel like my brain is trying to work through things day by day. We, my brain and I, miss live music. We miss our friends and the electricity that Athens carries within its borders. It’s all here still but so far out of reach. If I had to guess, my subconscious is advertising my town to me in an effort to get me to enjoy it once again. But they are commercials on a tv in a living room I’m unfamiliar with that’s hiding somewhere in my brain. It’s an action I cannot possibly take, even if I were so idiotic to try. The people aren’t there. And the people are Athens. Athens still sleeps while I’m awake but it’s running wild in my dreams.