The Dreamers

I suppose that there is only us, alone, with our thoughts thinking that we know or wish to know, even in these dreams as we hope; we say it is for us

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1. The Dreamers

It was a vintage looking sign-post complete with those faux 1950's filament bulbs that hung atop almost unevenly in this old cinematheque that I had frequented since being a child. I and my sister in those times came with our late mother, a photographer who I think was quite a junkie for these things.

Now the sign as I read, queer it was, said. 'to screen any 1970's film at random from 8-12 at night' There weren't many people and it was fairly easy to get the best seat, in my opinion, with the clearest view on the furthest rows right back near the operator but not too close. A few audience maybe ten or fifteen had been there on the front row, squinting at "The man who feel to Earth" a 1976 British Science-Fiction film, Now this was intriguing, I remembered back then as a teen, the first time I watched this film with a still young David Bowie. Funny how his character Thomas Newton reflected my current predicament. I chuckled half-amused as the movie went on.

It was always this, which of was much like other rainy day alone, that would make me think of my sister, Hannah,a nurse in Haiti, of whom had it not been a year of her absence, I wouldn't remember so fondly. Although aside from the usual twice-a-week phone calls,I would. Other than that, it was unlike how it used to be; She and I, just as our mother, shared the some love for the Humanities, but above other arts it was the films that we took to heart. The classics and the indies, more preferably as we would, on the Saturdays, watch on this nearby cinematheque in downtown Soho, a few blocks from the apartment she used to occupy with me.

It somehow seemed quite distant how much things could change without having an inseparable piece of you. Everything seemed far bleaker; New York used to be so alive but the twinkling city lights, cobblestone streets and even the art scene in Soho that kept me up, now, only whispered of the city it used to be when Hnnah here.

Do you think that would have been what Thomas felt after he fell to earth? when he knew he would always be separated from his family; his wife and children back in their planet without water? It was kinda like Haiti too, with my sister and all...being there away from me.

Have you too,yourself, ever been far from someone dear and what would you do to have them close? , I just thought of it and maybe I couldn't do anything about my sisters' decision, she wasn't bound to being here, her mind was fixed on being a nurse after mothers' cancer. But I knew that she had dreamed to be a musician. All those instruments back home, still strewn about as she left it on a failed contract, lingered still in our basement, the future's not what we dreamed it to become I guess, neither Thomas nor us ever made it back to where we wanted to, didn't we?. We're all just living in the memories of our dreams...damned to be forever wanting . . and I'll always stay with my films.. I suppose in the end, it is just us after all, alone, with our thoughts, thinking that we know or wish to know, even now in this film as I watch it; that I say it is for us?

 

The cinematheque closed a quarter past twelve after three films,then outside once more I am greeted by the now emptying streets..

by the time I got home I received a letter sent by Hannah from the bellman on my way up, it read that she was coming home in a week on Friday for five days, but she wasn't staying in Soho, rather on a hotel room instead. I understood why..

I took a hot-shower after that,even with my bathrobe on and still damp onyx hair, I fell headfirst into the velvet duvet of my queen-sized bed, uncaring if the wetness pooled around the sheets, I stared into the whitewashed ceilings.

 

I thought of how I don't quite get it yet, how much we could go by and about in life oblivious to what was happening, and I mean at some point we did, the spark just didn't last or am I just speaking out of terms with how no one ever really liked the same things she and I did? I could do this slowly—this point where I"m egging to tell you about a very vague point in my life, as if it already wasn't anything vague at all. I could narrate to you a portion of what I am but that would be a different story, you see, I would, but by that time you'd shrunken me of my thoughts it wont be mine anymore, it could be someone elses' life or maybe it could be a scene in a movie that Id slip you in per chance for something Id dreamed to be, mine being dull and all.

 

You see after counting on the days, I woke ecstatic just this morning,when my sister called and she told me that I'd have to meet her at a cafe near the cinematheque 'Right. Now' being stressed,.. I fell about laughing, having to know where from here that her call was going... I got to her on the cafe where she was on one of the settee, It felt smug to me how I pinched her cheek with a twinkle and hugged her form just as how mother used to do with us way back. She was beginning to sport a gradual tanning complexion and her hair that used to be wild seemed a bit tamed; brushed back and in a ponytail now .., I presumed a serious face.

There is after all, in a way with us, like Hannah who was still pinning for the dream she had.

 

My sister told me of how she enjoyed playing the banza for some rural kids they treated for tuberculosis on a far flung mountain in Haiti; how she was happy seeing them dance to the tune she used to play while on her guitar back in the scene in Soho. It distracted them from the fear of being pricked for the blood tests..

I would look at her eyes while she spoke and they'd glint with an unseen emotion, one that she used to always have instead of just these instances.. then it'd disappear but not entirely,glazing over, like the fire put on medium heat, she looked at her cup of coffee still steaming from the brew, —half a smile on her face..

It reminded me somehow of the final scene in The man who fell to earth,just before the movie cuts, where Thomas slumps drunk against his chair after chatting with Professor Bryce on the songs he had made for his already dead wife..

Hannah looked to me as I patted her shoulder smiling, we were so far away from the promises that we had as children, one being as strong as our harridan aunts . We had our fare share of laughs that moment.

At the instance of that little borrowed time where we could pretend that we didn't grow up not without our dreams,because either way at the end of the day the mask slips off and when you are reduced to being yourself— in extremis, just another somebody in the confines of our rooms, daydreaming, praying in our own unspoken rituals, that our wills must be strong enough to flit itself away so that maybe we can welcome the thought of being able to love the abundance of the life that we now have; to come to terms with this reality.

I can't help but suspect that this is the  truth to why we're trying. Why my sister was trying.as I feel the image of the child that we once were; the part of us that has not parted, the part of which I can't let go of. They're both here in our minds, in collective consciousness; a memory of the kind that we should be. I could almost see it, A younger me and her beside our adult selves urging us, whispering not to be evasive of with the truth of who we were.

Was it only yesterday when outside this very shop,us and our mother were walking  past towards the cinematheque?

We've only had this last thought to reconcile with ourselves and it shall be forever young as if all that we have ever done so far was to wait, to teach ourselves to be patient  till collapse happens, I reckon it won't, but at least we can be accepting. Just as this pretty little thing, whilst wafting in my sisters'  mug would, before the coffee gets cold.

"Dear sister", I faintly said, my tone consoling as I began my barrade of the past

"Remember when grandma  once told us the story of how naive she used to be being eighteen and in love with James Dean?, How she ripped his picture in half bawling all away with her friends after he crashed?", my sister sniffed and laughed at that, "I remember" she answered, "She even warned us that we had a line of naivety", "I guess she was kinda right", she added and I stifled a snort. reminiscing a very  particular moment.

"Or that time where now you fidget with your skirt, asking how it must be bliss, that moment where Dad met mom at a concert in 1983, which she was filming, in Berlin?" I continued on,

"It was that  8 m/m handheld video camera right?, I still have it stashed in the apartment with.. with.... uh.. a. wi.th. my voice faltered..

 —​with my guitars" she finished, "Yeah",I said "You know what? I'm taking the Hagstrom with me back to Haiti, the kids there haven't seen me play another instrument other than the banza".. she said almost jovial, I could see her younger self then... my sister,

eighteen again, I couldn't contain my joy and hugged her tightly there and then...

 

"You know I know you in as much as I've known myself, you're frustrated with the fact that you wanted to play your guitars and your pieces instead of being there  with your bickering 30-somethingish  hormonal supervisor. You just wanted to be you, so I guess there is a point why you miss the old days where we were still young and blind. Now I've seen that you in the least have come to love what you are. Mom either way would have been proud had you become a musician or a nurse,but a nurse?,  a reaally cool one at that.." I stressed and she elbowed me playfully.

 

These words reflected something back then when there were no people like our supervisors, no plans, we could stay under the bed covers and remain sleep-mouthed till dusk listening to our records, watching old films and late night TV, we didn't have to complain why we seemed stuck and unhappy. It was just us and the velveteen rabbit,moms' books, Polaroids and celebrity photographs to warn us why we've grown to be such confused adults. The years have truly been harsh with us; with mother especially, but remember when she told us, we needed to be young so that we could never grow old? she made us promise never to part with who we were so we could find ourselves, It didn't seem clear to me at that time and age but now I understood what she meant more than ever.

Just as when  Thomas said that one day, his wife would get to hear his songs, I think it meant that even after all this notion of being stuck maybe we could still hold on to our dreams and never forget that it could be possible even if it seemed unreal anymore.

 

I am just glad because after this conversation right after we leave this cafe that is now playing a song I know we love, we'd find the air to be less suffocating.. Then in the street trailing behind us in the stroll to the cinematheque or towards our old apartment, will be a sound; a song in the city playing plain and long  as if this was the end of a film someone is watching, where New York will be but an echo of our dreams.

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