A Lovely Dream This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   Steve Miller turned off his television, and lay back on his bed with his arms folded behind his head. It was four a.m. on the hottest day he'd ever witnessed, and he was too uncomfortable to doze. What bothered him more than the heat, or the humidity, was the boredom that visited him every sleepless night.

From his window he could see a dozen or so stars twinkling like they had done for every one of billions of years. The thought struck him that the light he saw was eons old, and any number of those stars could have long since burned up. It bothered him a little, but still, he pondered why people made such a big deal out of stuff that has always been there, and will always be there even if people didn't notice them.

He gazed into the stars, waiting to be enraptured, but try as he may, he felt only the constancy of boredom. Come to think of it, there were a lot of things people over-romanticized. Like this idea of a first love, or "true" love. Heck, he'd liked plenty of girls, but he had never actually loved them like all those songs said he was supposed to. What was that saying? Oh yeah, that love is the illusion that one woman differs from another. He figured that people could trick themselves into considering any person a "true" love. But it was funny how all those rock stars didn't happen to come across their true love unless she was voluptuous. First loves tended to be blonde and chesty, he estimated.

He had always been annoyed with how girls in his classes would write "So-and-so loves what's-his-face 4 eva." 4 eva, Steve reasoned, lasted on average of about two months or so, or less depending on the existence of a guy with a shinier, faster car. Yet girls are the ones who are supposed to understand and cherish love the most. And they're supposed to be the mature ones? To them, nothing is more beautiful than this idea of the chivalrous true love whose smile lights up the sky. Just make sure he's got muscles and the face of a seraphim, because no one can enrapture themselves in ugly jewelry. It's rather ironic how guys are "sexist" and "shallow" when describing their ideal woman, but when girls describe theirs ... as if one illusion is more real than any other.

Maybe it was him. He was no social demi-god, and he wasn't a straight-A student. He had never placed much value on either. Even when they read Romeo and Juliet in school, while everyone else wrote pages on what they thought of the play, all he wrote was "Wishful thinking."

It wasn't like he was a pessimist, it was more that he saw the glass as half full and half empty. That was the truth, and to consider only one or the other is to consider only half the picture.

He just couldn't rescue himself from his mundane spin on the planet despite all the rock ballads and literary garbage shoved down his throat day after day after day.

He took a quick glance at the sky again to see the stars. Yup, still there, and nope, he didn't feel moved to write a poem about the beautiful mystique of the evening.

He had never once been moved to tears after a break-up with a girlfriend, or a news story about some little brat who fell down a well. He had seen "Dead Poet's Society" for English class and almost laughed at the ending. He had read all of the "classics" and found most of them to be overrated, but maybe he had expected too much because of what everybody else had always said.

And what was this fixation people had with marriage? When people hear the news they act like they just won the lottery or something. Heck, two out of three end in divorce. There's your true love and your timeless romance wrapp-ed up neatly in the cold statistical grip of true reality, the real world.

He figured people placed love and all its shades of undefinable beauty up on some imaginary pedestal, too far above the ground for them to examine it closely. It was something they can climb, though, to escape boredom, to escape the ordinary and look up, up and away into the cosmos so they can forget what they are really standing on, and around.

But what is more ordinary than love if almost every ordinary person experiences it again and again? If love had ever had any real value, it was cheapened by all the graffitied notebooks, and lousy songs, and bitter divorces long before he was conceived.

Steve stretched and sighed. He guessed it was okay if people wanted to "get high" off some romantic, illusory drug, but he wished they'd stop trying to sell it to him.

Steve was bored though. Maybe he could love Bridget tomorrow, that might be interesting. She was nice, and he had always liked her, so maybe all he had to do was buy her roses, a ring, and always think about her, and thereby undertake what people called love.

Then again, Maureen was just as nice, but she had money too. Maybe he should try to love her. Heck, what's wrong with deciding to love someone? Doesn't everyone else do it, whether they admit it or not?

Steve glanced out his window again. Nah, he couldn't lie to himself like that - drink society's quasi-divine poison like some adolescent idiot at a New Kids on the Block concert. He'd rather just go on enjoying life like he had always done than switch to some mythical scale which measures how much marrow you've sucked out of life by how many deserts you'd cross to hear some girl's voice, or how many times you've looked at a sunset and sighed, thanking God (which is forgivable even today he figured) for allowing one's eyes to see such beauty.

Just then, a meteor flashed across the somewhat cloudy sky. Well, Steve thought, that's something you don't see very often, nice, real nice. He supposed there'd be nothing wrong with writing a little poetic opinion about it, but after further consideration thought it would best be left up to some fool somewhere, trying to be in love.

He closed his eyes and drifted off into a dream-filled sleep, and he loved it - even though it was all an illusion - all in his head. And when he woke, he was sorry he wasn't still dreaming, but realized he could do it all again when next he fell into a lovely, dreamy sleep. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

The~Watcher said...
Dec. 24, 2010 at 10:05 am
This kid sounds practically Vulcan. :) And the part about guys not being allowed to only like cute girls but girls allowed to only like cute guys- it's so true! Great story.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback