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A Dream about Identity
Where did everyone go?” I think to myself. I look out the window, squinting my eyes to see the empty scenery blurring past me. Then it hits me. No one ever was here. My friends have only met me halfway, in the in between. A place where petty secrets are shared and strange quirks are exchanged. A place were love can grow, but never blossom. A trivial place, where the sun can shine upon the flowers of love one day, and where hail can crash down the next.
But here,this strange place was me. It was my inner being; a cosmo of every thought and emotion I’ve ever felt.
The ever blurring scenery comes to an abrupt stop. Oak trees stand awkwardly, guarding the school from some unforeseen danger. As I walk to the front of the bus I realize all my friends are waiting for me on the other side. They stand their anxiously, ready to load onto me their superficial thoughts and frivolous emotions. I take a deep breath, put on my mask, and tell the bus driver I am ready. The doors swing open, and it seems time itself has stopped.
The inside of the bus represents who I am. The posters plastered all across the room , and the different strangers inside are all me. They are my secret hopes, my secret thoughts, and my secret life.
I step off the bus onto the cold, weak sidewalk. I greet my friends with handshakes and plastered smiles. The bus drives away, and as I look back I realize the outside is the inbetween. The advertisements on the bus are forever changing, making sure to adapt to the needs of the individuals that ride it.
That is my relationship with others. We use our vocabulary frivolously, saying much, but not meaning anything. I am constantly changing me so that I fit with the friend. Like the bus, my inbetween is constantly changing, from the sweet, shy nature of a humble man, to the loud, exuberant attitude of the socialite.
My friends, they speak, but I do not listen. I am unhappy. Why? I am the long lost treasure waiting to be discovered, but secretly hoping to never be found. I want my deepest secrets to be shared ,but I fear by doing so I will lose what makes me, me.
I pass through my crowd of friends, and as I do so my appearance quickly changes. My eyes become colder and my stance becomes rigid. A slight breeze whooshes past me. Moments pass by and finally the transition is complete. I stop to see my reflection in a puddle of water and am relieved to see the reflection of a different man. I rejoin my crowd of friends and earnestly enjoy their company.
But as I do so, I know the bus, my true self, is moving farther and farther away. A tinge of guilt washes over me, for I realize I am cheating them. I am preventing them from knowing the truth, the real me, the better me.
The leaves of the Oak tree begin to tremble and an unexpected gust rips them across the scenery. My face begins to feel strange and when I put my hand to touch it I can feel the mask melting away. My friends stare, shocked to see the me they’ve never seen. I stare them down with my hazel eyes, ready to defend myself from their criticism.
The wind dies down, and the Oak leaves gingerly fall to the ground. The once awkwardly straight Oak trees, relax down into their true positions. I am expecting my friend’s to attack me, but they instead do the most peculiar thing. They touch their faces, and take off their own masks.
It is a strange feeling, to know I’ve known all these people for a long time, but have never met them until right now. We together, as friends, converse, and as we do so every dull spoken word springs with live and expression. It seemed to me at that moment that we may have talked about anything, and our words would still hold meaning.
I hear a loud beep from the front of the school, and see my bus calling to me to come inside. My beautiful friends bid me a farwell, but as I walk onto the steps of the bus, I turn to them and invite them to come inside with me. They happily accept, proud to know they have earned my trust.
Once inside, I realize I am naked before them. My hopes, my fears, my soul; are all conveyed in posters lined across the ceiling of the bus. I take a deep breath. I look at them, they look at me. They smile. I breath out, and then smile. No words are said. We are beyond them. I take a seat next to a friend; one who I had always thought to be timid and shy, but who now I come to see as intuitive and brave.
Hours pass in minutes, as it is when with good company. I look out the window, and see that it is night. The wind has kicked up again, tossing leaves into the air like a waiter would toss a salad. I can imagine the moon, bold and glistening, hovering above the bus. Inside, my friends have grown quiet, tired from the day’s happenings. Yawning, I place my head onto t he shoulder of a reliable friend. She playfully pushes my head, but then smiles and comes into me. I feel warm, and I feel safe. I realize that with these friends I can do anything. I think ahead, imagining all the great things we could accomplish together. A crow’s cry brings me back to the here and now. I take one last conscious breath, and fall into a deep, peaceful sleep.