He pressed the name tag into my hand, but it was my stomach that rebelled. I already smelled the fried food odor that would cling to my uniform; I already imagined collapsing into my bed at the end of a shift, words unwritten.
I thought, my dreams are not for sale, but I must have muttered it, because the manager replied, “Of course not. You can’t sell things no one wants.”
my dreams are mine, and mine alone.
i don't think you understand the gravity of their power.
they are the river that moves me away from who i've been.
i could never be a better person without them.
they are the love song i will follow into the darkest corners of reality.
they are the reason i always have one foot in front of me
and i can't let you take that willingly.
despite what you think, these dreams keep me alive.
they give me hope to find a better night
than the one i walk through every day -
and again, i respectfully decline.
they are not for sale, and even if they were;
my dreams are not worth a dime to you, sir.
permutationibus sive resignatis
I had gathered every single spare penny I had, every dollar I’d ever made, every drop of currency I owned. Pouring it all out onto the big, flat, oak table I slammed my hands down and whipped my head upwards to look at the man in front of me. My irises pooled with desperation, practically begging for him to give me what I wanted. He had a peculiar smile on his face, like he’d seen this scene play out one too many times before. The golden glow that emanated from his fingertips spoke whispers of magic.
He flicked his pinky up into the air and smiled as a small, golden flower rose from the tip, only to crumble into glittery dust.
"My dear, you have quite the sum of money," he mused, regarding me with a mere flicker of his gaze, "But I'm afriad my answer is still the same as before." I growled as my fingers curled upon the smooth surface. Banging my fists against the wood like a baby throwing a tantrum, I kept shouting at him.
"You said you provide dreams, and I want a good one! All my life my sleep has been plagued with silence, with darkness. All I want is to feel this! Feel anything! I'm willing to give up everything for you, and this is still not enough?" I madly gestured to the piles and piles of bills and coins stacked upon the table. "Is this not enough?"
The Sandman merely shrugged and snapped his fingers, summoning a chair made out of yellow sand to rest himself on. As he yawned and stretched, I only grew more furious at his nonchalant approach to the situation. Steam poured out of my ears as my face flushed in anger.
"It seems like a lot of money to an ordinary person," he finally responded after smacking his lips loudly, "But these papers and scraps of metal mean nothing to me. Dreams are not for sale." I huffed and puffed at an attempt to calm myself down. I couldn't think rationally if all I knew at the moment was animosity.
"Okay," I murmured, voice hushed, "What can I do to finally have my dream?" The man's lips curved upwards in satisfaction, a proud glint in his pitch-black eye.
"My answer is the same as before: you wait until it comes." I sighed, still not completely getting the memo. Why should I have to wait? I at least had to experience this before everything ended. He must have read my mind, as another reply came immediately after my reaction, but in the form of a question.
"Darling, do you know what the most precious thing in the world is to me?" I grumbled, racking my mind over and over again, not finding one other good answer besides "money."
"I don't know, your lover or something?" I mumbled, shoving my hands in my pockets. The Sandman laughed joyously, clearly amused by my response. With another little chuckle, he sank back into his chair comfortably, producing a small cup. Filling it with a clear liquid, he took a sip, puckered his lips and made the glass disappear with a swipe of his hand.
"I wish, but that's not the case," he said, a slight lilt to his voice, "You're quite the funny one." I grumbled again, not expecting his kindness, but remained silent.
"The answer is time. The most precious thing in the world to me is time." I cocked my head and raised an eyebrow. The statement seemed a little plain to me. Why would he want time? He's immortal, after all. It's insignificant.
"You see," The Sandman sighed, waving his hand carelessly in the air, "Humans have such interesting lives. Yet, the number of years they live can easily be counted by a toddler. It's so short, and a rather dreary thought, but I find strength in knowing that I've been given the responsibility to let them down peacefully in the form of a dream.
"A dream only lasts for a few seconds until it ends. A few seconds of nirvana, I can give to them before they drift off into the afterlife. It's a sense of finally being whole, of being content with the lives they've lived and the experiences they've made. No matter who they were, what they might've done, I can weave their best moments into an amalgamation of happiness. It's what they deserve." The Sandman's tone suddenly turned darker, a grimace beginning to surface on his young features.
"But to those who grow impatient, who don't recognize the true beauty of time, of living and being grateful for every single day they have aren't worthy of experiencing a dream. The world is hard. The world is hard on everyone, it's just the basics. You need to get your head out of the clouds and reflect. We all suffer. We all endure hardships every single day, and whenever it gets unbearable, we feel like it's not worth it to live anymore.
"We throw out the concept of appreciation, of thankfulness and succumb to the tricks that eternal silence gives us. I've seen many people pour their money out on this very table, just as you did, screaming and pleading for me to bestow upon them just one dream so they could float away happily. But every single time I decline.
"Some choose to end their lives miserably, prematurely, without a dream after our meeting. It pains me to see the sight when I saw so much potential in their futures. It feels like there are knives stabbing into my heart, blaming me as the cause of their demise. I still live with it even today.
"But some survive. Some do. They come to me right at the end with tears in their eyes and thank me for proving to them that their time was not useless. Those individuals open my eyes to the world just a bit more.
"And even though I'm stuck giving just a puny amount of seconds to those who are going to pass on, I smile in relief at the feeling of how I'm able to give them a reason to live, even though it's mostly for their self-interest. These dreams that people crave so damn much are what spurs them to run all the way to the end. But what I find ironic is that somewhere along the line, they'll find something worth more than that dream. Something else to keep living for."
The Sandman ended the narrative with a wistful gaze at the room's ceiling, his full black eyes twinkling with the beginnings of tears. He sniffed once and laughed at himself, wiping away the mist with the back of his hand. A few golden sparkles rained down from the contact.
"Now then, I hope I've convinced you enough, darling. Take your money, for I have no need for it. Live happily. Spend your time here wisely. Then, will you truly earn your dream."
Where do you live, hippie?
dreams are for sale!
you sell them , as well as your body to the highest bidder. capitalism runs on crushing dreams, so does any other economic system. but they all force you to sell dreams in different ways. in the end, the result is the same. no one dreams of cleaning toilets, or checking ticket stubs. you need to give something to get something. and that’s life. the question is to what extent do you need to compromise yourself and what do you have left.
it's a challange to not get broken by this. perhaps one way to do this is to have sooo many dreams, you never run out. but it all comes to what you have. inside and out. it’s hard and painful to come to terms with this awful truth. but better to steel yourself and gear yourself for the day that you will have to give up on dreams, at least some of them.
try to put a big , unbreakable wall between the “economic” side of life, and the dreams that you have left. i do have dreams left over and they are safely quarantined, i hope. i live them with my baby, i live them with my writing, toy making, and music. i live them with my wife. occasionally those leftover dreams hear noises from behind the wall. they recall their brothers and sisters that used to live on the other side. these dreams affect and effect my work, for the better, i hope. i hope they will stay safe.
build the wall, and yours will be safe too.
Dreams are not for sale - now.
They were once.
I sold my dreams to you,
Called to the highest bidder
and you answered.
I washed them down my throat with someone else’s drink,
My lips wet with rain,
I showed up on your doorstep, bore my wrists,
Let you kiss away all thought.
I sold them for nothing,
I sold them to sink into your bed,
I sold them, but to you there was no price,
You refused to pay.
You let me bleed out what I had left,
Pour into your arms the stars,
And all I got was night.
I sold my dreams to you,
Keep them safe, I said.
But you threw them out.
I had to earn enough to buy new ones.
And now, they’re not for sale.
When we sit back, I wonder what we’ll think of all of this. In five years, in ten years, when we’re older with different experiences, I wonder. I wonder what this will mean. I don’t think it’ll be seen as a mistake, only as a turning point.
I know it was for me, a realization of what I wanted and that I wouldn’t have that with you. What you had to offer was something I appreciated, even something I admired, but not what I wanted.
You, yourself, so full of life and freedom. Wanting nothing more than what sits in front of you, to spend your life in this valley would not be a nightmare, it could even be a dream. For me, I want to leave. For so long I thought my travels were about escaping something else, running from the pain, running from truth. Sometimes, perhaps it was. Somtimes, I know it was.
The real travels though, the ones that are pushing forward, the ones about growth and learning. Those were never about an urge to leave. Those, those were for me, for me to be, to experience, to see. For those I wanted you beside me. I wanted us to learn as one and build a life. This is not the case of the timing not being right. This is the case that I would work for my dream, and you wouldn’t. Your dream did not fall in line with mine and your dream takes much less effort.
Your ability to be as things be. To be happy with simplicity. To not need to shift your feet. That has never, never been me. There is too much world without enough time. I don’t want chains or responsibilities, the picket fence, the dog, always the same life. I don’t want to have to stay within twelve hours of home. I don’t want to come back too soon. I love my people and my home, but more than that I love my freedom. I’m not scared of commitment. I’m in love with freedom and I don’t care if that makes me selfish. Selfish is arbitary based on other’s moral convictions and opinions. Something I’ve never cared much for.
My dream is my dream. Your dream is your dream. I’m not saying they couldn’t have fit. I’m saying they didn’t. I am happy with a simple friendship. I am happy to call you before and after my flight. I am happy to watch you be happy without me. I think that is a more possible dream. I was not what you needed and that is what it is. I’m sorry I tried to sell you my dream. I’m sorry I tried to mold yours to mine. I’m happy we came to an end before becoming enemies. I am happy to call you friend.
Dream Of Me
My dreams are my dreams made just for me.
How do I know that I am not deceived?
Because I am the lead actress in everyone.
Sometimes, when I leave a dream, a new one has begun.
My dreams are made of knowledge and hints.
If I'm dreaming right now, I can be awakened with a pinch.
My dreams do not always treat me fairly and don't care.
Sometimes, I am awakened in sweats and ceiling stares.
My dreams are portioned to make me a terrible wreck.
I'm very happy I woke up, but I have to shake the effect.
My dreams are not for sale, but sometimes I just want to rest.
I have had several dreams that led me to confess.
My dreams give me messages and predictions of what's to come.
My seeing it and knowing what it means is a different outcome.
Not for Sale
I’m sorry, but the dreams are not for sale. I could never sell them.
They’re evil. They haunt me every night, refusing to leave me. They show me visions. Visions of my past. Visions that I want to forget, to run away from, yet the dreams don’t let me. They torture me. They remind me of my mistakes and my losses and how I can never go back to the old me. They wake me up in a cold sweat, unable to calm myself down. They leave me crying and screaming, chewing off every last bit of my sanity.
I’m sorry, but the dreams are not for sale. As much as I would love for this torture to end, I can’t give them and break someone else’s soul.
Dreams are not for sale, but you can buy a fantasy for now
Giddah finished swiping a quick message to his mother, a word-flourish to celebrate a difficult sale in another busy week in the office in Dubai. He reluctantly placed his phone on the table-for-two in the restaurant, its black case stark against the white cloth bleached clean for the evening’s entertainment. No message buzzed back. He started at the empty chair ahead of him. Around him the hubbard of the restaurant continued, conversations chattering in happy communion. The waiter had come to fill his glass of iced water for the second time just now, his attempt at a warm exchange still hanging awkwardly in the air. If he wasn’t talking about going to market or finding synergies or any other term from his MBA, he struggled for words. There wasn't much time for human chat while he pursued his dreams of fortune. Still, the struggles of reading business textbooks were best bearable when staring out his highrise apartment, considering the sleek landscape of Dubai, a sky prickled with lances of buildings, each construction costing lives both in deaths of workers and in the dedication of professionals like him.
His relationships at work were purposefully mundane. To close his deals and manage his projects, he kept a professional distance for those who passed through the office. His five years in Dubai was a lot longer than most of his colleagues, something he did not expect to change. But as proud as Giddah’s mother seemed to be at his success in business, he knew she dreamt of grandchildren. What use was money without someone to continue the dynasty his sacrifices were creating?
But meeting a worthy woman was not easy. He had tried one dreamy romance with ‘liquid girl’, a colleague who would threaten to sleep with him one day yet return no texts the next. There was more to her than that even when his busy mind could not yet admit such truths.
Online dating was no better. Professional women seemed absent from that arena, only residing in the rarified spheres of happy families and other circles distance from him and his highrise apartment. Still, a few dates had proven interesting, and he had found himself dating one secretarial girl, Anita, for a few months at least. Always, though, his mother’s voice spoke to him: will she be the one? Will she stick with you?
Tonight seemed to be little different. He was to meet Iman, a quality control manager from Syria. They had exchanged some interesting messages, wishing each other goodnight most days for several weeks now. He wondered how they would connect in person. Waiters walked past him as he picked up his phone again, distractedly scrolling through unread messages CC’d to him from those who wanted his job, or his salary, or at least his favour. Despite the continual scrolling of his thumb, every figure who entered the restaurant snapped his eyes up and away. It was not her. A woman entered the restaurant moved from 'mate' to 'stranger' in moments from detecting her presence, a potential life melting from her in invisible strands as she stepped into the restaurant with another, luckier man. The third time this happened his heart danced as he noticed. She had enterered.
The intensity of his gaze made his guts squeeze hot, his thighs tensing in instant attraction. She looked more beautiful in the flesh than even her pictures, her flushed face framing her firey eyes, her night-black hair darker still than her plush coat. The waiter pointed out Giddah’s table. With strangely tepid steps she began to pick her way through the other lovers in the restaurant. Spying a particularly tricky gap between two chairs, a space tiny thanks to a well-girthed man who laughed too loudly between bites of bread, she retreated towards a slightly longer route, her eyes tracking the marbled floor.
As they finally met she smiled a full close-lipped smile: we meet at last! they both said. She sat down and he began to speak about his day, of the project to-do list that he had worked through, a system he had devised ever since that difficult third year when Ramesh had almost got them all fired through his indecision. She smiled and complimented him, her tired eyes urging him to continue. As he spoke more about Ramesh and his project management system, she fiddled with her ear, a wonderful brown thing that seemed like a beautiful cake, a precious nibble. She tapped her ear in time with his conversation, two fingers typing an unspoken message as he regailed the finer points of his system.
The waiter came back too soon before he could finish his story, handing them both a pair of oversized menus. Turning the pages aimlessly, he tested if she wants a starter, or even a drink. She spoke uncommitedly, her face blocked by the menu, wieldeding it like a shield. His heart dropped and he ordered a wine, the same midrange 80USD bottle of Caymus Napa he often charged to expenses when with a decent client.
At mention of the wine her menu dropped below her mouth and her eyes widened like two moons rising. She says how nice it would be and that it was going to be good night after his hard day. Her mouth opened and she leaned forward, her teeth now bared with the bombast of newly awoken child. Despite not being able to pronounce Caymus Napa, she agreed it was an excellent choice and yes she has always fancied it.
As the waiter pours the test sip into Iman's glass, Giddah fights a fleeting thought -whether she wants him for his money. She is beautiful and smart and clearly likes him. As he begins to apply to his project formula to their burgeoning relationship, her voice fades into the background. She is talking about her dreams to leave Dubai and start a better life. Her voice distracts him from his thoughts. She's beautiful! He will never be able to know whether she likes him from her face alone, Giddah decides. And he doesn’t really care, at least for now.
Her dreams are not for sale, but at least he can buy a fantasy for now.
It will only be ten years from now in a lonely apartment in Canada when Iman has left him that he realises that his dream of love was only bright fragments, and that this beautiful evening in Dubai had dropped into the grim confirmation of his gut’s memory.
Dreams are not for sale
There’s galaxies somewhere
That hold universes of gold
And people run free like a time
Beyond what we were told
There people somewhere
Living with magic in their touch
Going on wondrous adventures
That our hands could never cultch
There is a world somewhere
So full of life ours would be jealous
For we were once that way
So over joyed and Zealous
But some got tired of the happiness all around
I guess that’s why they decided to always
Tear it down.
~ Our dreams are not for sale, we do not wish them to be unveiled.