I wrote this based on an excerpt from a poem by Christina Rossetti called A Ballad of Boding.
There is a new writing prompt site called Carry On Tuesday which is using lines from poems as prompts.
This week the objective is to use these lines somehow in your story or poem –
There are sleeping dreams and waking dreams
What seems is not always as it seems.
There are sleeping dreams and waking dreams. Sometimes the two intermingle.
For over twenty years now I have been dreaming of you. You are the man of my dreams who only comes to me in dreams. When real men hurt me, taunt me, flail me, hang me out to dry – I turn to you. You are constant, caring, uncomplaining. When I close my eyes you are there.
I call you Michael. I don’t know why; I haven’t named you after anyone I know or have known, but somehow your name fits.
You are a romantic creation. A mixture of chivalric myth and fairytale. I know that a real man could never be the half of you, but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming.
In dreams we lead a comfortable, happy life. We have a house by the sea and a dog named Max. Our friends and family adore us. We walk in sunlight. We laugh. There is no conflict or betrayal. No treachery. No tears.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking of you when I am poring over a file at work. It is sobering to think of you during the day. I realise then that you are my fantasy, that you will never be real. And I feel so alone.
I know I am a prisoner to my dreaming but I cannot stop. In over twenty years you have not disappeared. For so long you have cancelled out the threat of reality’s draw. I cannot give you up.
Today I couldn’t tell if I was awake or dreaming. I saw you. You were drinking coffee in the little cafe where the walls are painted blue. The owner calls it My Blue Heaven, just like the song. I saw you right there in front of me. My Michael come to life. And I was afraid.
I thought I was hallucinating. Losing my mind. Or that maybe I was dreaming that I was dreaming. I dared not look at you twice. In case you were gone.
I ran out into the street, my breath exploding into horrible gasps. If you were real you could no longer haunt my dreams. If you were real you were lost to me for good.
Miss, you called out behind me. You left behind your bag.
It was your voice. The voice I knew. Ripping me to pieces.
You handed me the bag. I took it. I could not look at you. I could not see the real you. A leaf fell. Landing between us. A maple, curled at the edges, dark as ginger cake. I took it as a sign that what seems is not always as it seems.
There you were dressed in the colours of my wishing. My head was throbbing with disbelief. This is not happening, I thought just as you spoke.
Everything’s going to be all right, you said, holding out your hand. The dream of you fell away, coating the road with light.
Everything had changed and everything had stayed the same.