I’d never had a dream myself. That is to say, I’ve never had a dream while sleeping, nor carried a dream ready to be shattered. Though, I figured it might have been nice to dream. It would have been nice to have my dreams be shattered. And it would have been nice to dream again. That was all part of being human.
The melody came into view as a crowd of bodies converged around a stage. Everybody was listening without a peep. Some had their eyes closed, while others lit up upon seeing the pianist dance across her instrument. She wore a dress, and had her hair tied up behind her. Her face was blushed and her fingers slender as they played each note like honey clockwork.
“This isn’t some big concert or anything,” Reed began, “But someone I know is playing today. For a charity concert, they’ve really outdone themselves.” It wasn’t that I could discern what good music sounded like to the ears of humans. Despite my having senses, and the ability to absorb information, I wasn’t exactly human. Instead, the sounds reminded me of the world. As the notes bled from the piano to my ears, I was reminded of the sky, and of the ocean. If I closed my eyes, I was sure that I would have fell to another world. Humans had a tact for mysticism. It surprised even the most edificial divines.
I looked over to see Reed’s eyes in quiet admiration. He tapped along with every note. His eyes seemed to glisten in the light that escaped the glass windows, and eventually, I saw them water.
“That’s my little sister. She wants to be a pianist. This is a big day for her.” Her sister looked nothing like the brother in front of me. However, as I peered over towards her, I noticed her eyes were relaxed. As her body moved to and fro to produce the waves of the oceans and the shuffling sands, her eyes were calm. They shared the same eyes.
“Has she been playing long?” I asked. The song she played changed as Reed came with his answer. The ocean tides had subsided and I was now gliding along in the cloud-filled sky.
“Five years now. She’s grown so fast in so little.” I wasn’t so sure if five years was so short. Though that was my own indulgence. Humans always had a strange way of passing time. Five years to a divine was just a prick on the finger.
“I was the one who started playing for her. It was so long ago when I left my parent’s home and started something that only ended in failure that I was surprised I even did play.” Her playing came to a stop as she addressed the audience. Her words rung true with the microphone on stage, and it blasted the glass panes and tiles that littered the area. The lull in play allowed us to find a better vantage point. We leaned onto a wall perpendicular to the stage. Reed’s sister was waving to all the eyes of the crowd, and her smile was glittering. Her eyes seemed to scan every person, but she failed to find us.
“I don’t think I’d ever forget the look on her face as I came home that day. She was ecstatic. The kind of person who’d make you never want to be alone.” I couldn’t relate. Though, I wasn’t one to judge.
“And when I played for her, she couldn’t contain herself. I remember laughing along with her as she fluttered around me. I could hardly get her to stop. And eventually, I told her in jest that she should play.” Reed’s eyes lowered. Her sister went back to playing, her sound emanating the twinkle of stars and the allure of a full moon.
“Who knew she had such an aptitude. It’s funny how these things go.” Reed shook his head, and looked up as she played. He was straining his eyes.
“Are you jealous?” I had no sense for tact. It wasn’t that I could be tactful, but I could be wary of what I said. In the situation Reed brought me, I figured that I didn’t need to be wary.
“And what if I was?” He answered. I smiled at him.
“Then that’s fine.” His eyes strained towards me as he brought his pack of cigarettes out. He then looked down at them, and turned them in his hands. To my knowledge, people liked to smoke to release a certain part of themselves. The puff of smoke that left their mouths was a catalyst for that.
“Is it really so fine to be jealous of your own family?” Her playing came to the sharp winds of winter.
“Why don’t you give me reasons for why you think it’s wrong? I mean, family or not, we’re all people aren’t we?” I lied a little. I wasn’t human, though I thought I could share in the sentiment.
“If you’re jealous of someone’s ability to play, or someone’s success, or even the attention they get–” I stopped, noticed Reed flinch for a moment, and then continued, “Then that only works for your own growth, doesn’t it?” The way I spoke, and the way I thought were things I often found human. I’ve worked with so many for so long that their philosophies and ideals had become engrained within me. If not, I wouldn’t have ever thought of engaging in my hobby. I wouldn’t be a great listener nor speaker.
“Jealously isn’t always a malicious thing, right?” I added, “You make it sound like that being jealous of your sister makes you want to harm her, but that isn’t true. She’s family after all.” Reed nodded, he brought his pack back in his pockets and sighed.
“People are often jealous of others. It happens all the time–” I started as I began to recall all the things I’ve come to garner from humans. In a way, it was fake, just a representation created by a divine. I had no right to give advice, to be able to console humans. But I was grateful I could.
“It’d be great if you wouldn’t. But, isn’t that just natural, to be envious and to strive to be even better than you were before? However, if you cut out the jealous part, then you’re just working hard. Instead of jealously, you can set that to be a goal instead. Don’t say you want to be someone else. But say that you want to get to that position, that you want to do certain things. In that case, jealously can be quite inspirational. But it won’t be jealously anymore. It’d just be a dream.”
“Just a dream?” Reed repeated. He closed his eyes as the waves of the ocean came crashing onto the shore of the hill she brought us to. Somewhere in the distance was the sound of a boat coming to pier. The waves shrilled again, and with it, the movement of fish. They swam freely in the ocean, and somewhere even further, life, humans. I heard Reed snicker.
“After all that and the way you want to console me is to tell me not to think.” He let go and laughed a little.
“Just don’t be jealous, is that right?” His eyes shimmered as he looked towards his sister. He smiled, and his hands tapped against his legs, following the waves.
“That’s the worst thing anyone’s ever told me. But it’s so outlandish that it might just work,” he titled his head and shrugged. He chuckled and then shook his head.
“Okay. I see what you mean. You might be right. I’m not jealous. Just inspired. If you put it like that. I’m not such a bad person.” There was another intermission as Reed’s sister got on stage to speak. Her voice filled the air once more, and Reed closed his eyes to listen.
“Can I ask you something personal?” He started as his sister began to play the final pieces of a dark night of rain.
“Why do you have to ask?” I answered with a mischievous smile.
“You said you would be fine if you were alone. Why?” The rain was relentless, covering the steps of the streets, and washing everyone’s wishes away. I’m a divine, part of the World of the Divine that existed apart from the World of the Living. For all my life, if my existence could be called a life, I’ve been alone. I’ve never thought against my being, and so when Reed brought it back up I wondered how I should have answered.
“Why wouldn’t you be fine with that?” I answered back with a question. Reed’s eyes widened before lowering with a sigh.
“That just isn’t fair, answering with a question. I know you said that it’s just the way you are, but, that can’t be true, can it? You just so happened to be a person who likes talking to others and yet, is fine with being alone? Where’s the sense in that?” Semantics would be my greatest weapon and worst enemy. I’ve come to learn that after talking with so many humans.
“It’s just how I’ve always been,” I answered, “It’s not something I give much thought to, but I’ve never felt lonely, just that I’ve always been a part of this world. I don’t have a desire to be with others, but I do wish to talk to others nonetheless.” Reed raised his eyes and shrugged. The rain began to settle as she played a song of fading clouds.
“And–” Reed began as her playing began to burst from the keys, “I’m not fine with being alone at all. But most of all, I’m not fine with being left alone. If I was alone, I can tolerate myself, my own ideas, and my own wallowing. But being left alone, to have been somewhere, with some people, and then have that stripped is something I don’t think I can handle. ”
“Your sister was like that to you? Someone who brought you out of a place you used to belong?”
“That’s right. That’s why I never wanted to even come.” He smiled as he looked ahead to his sister. His shattered dream was to belong. Though, as generalizing as that may seem, he had his own vision for that belonging. That’s what humans were best at, creating an infinite number of situations. His sister, as she played her final ballad, was an embodiment of Reed’s dream. I wondered if he would ever wish to have that dream again, or if he would simply let it fade.
“What made you change your mind?” I asked.
“I don’t think I’m much cut out for being a pianist. I’m alright, not as good as my sister of course. It’s funny how these things go. But, maybe I might try again. Though, I don’t think I’ll ever draw a crowd like this. I guess coming here is an acceptance all to my own.”
“And do you want to accept your failure? Do you want to try again?” He began to clap along with the crowd as she finished her last note. She stood and smiled while waving to the crowd. Her smile lasted from one end of her face to the other and she was glowing in a place she belonged.
“I’ll take a pass for now. I’ll just start back from the bottom. Play with as much naivety as I began.”
“And would that make a profession you’d be happy with?”
“I guess I’ll see. Though I might just end up doing the exact same thing.”
“That’s just only human.” He lowered his hands as she left the stage. The crowd began to thin with the promise of close greetings and signings. Reed didn’t move a step.
“How did you put it?” Reed asked, “Like a dream, right? A new dream? Maybe I’ll just find myself one of those.” He laughed as he brought a cigarette to his mouth. He placed his fingers over its body, and then let go, as if he was puffing a cloud of smoke into the air. He placed the cigarette back in his pocket and then brought his phone out. He used it as a mirror.
“In the state I am, my sister would cry. Though, she’d still be surprised.” His smile beamed.
“And hey, maybe tomorrow, I’d still be at that park, just sitting by my lonesome, waiting for something to happen. What would you think of me if I did that?” I couldn’t help but to shake my head.
“You’d be just fine.”
“I guess I would.” As he retracted from the wall, I added, “I changed your mind in the end didn’t I?” He stopped, turned, and tapped me on the shoulder before chuckling.
“That’s just human, isn’t it?” He said with a raised voice. Reed waved as he bled into the crowd that surrounded his sister. The sounds of the shopping center roared throughout and the melodies that were once in the air died with the feelings Reed once carried. Though he never developed a new dream in front of me, I had an inkling that it wouldn’t be too long till he found another passion to pour himself into. It might very well be the same shattered dream he showed in front of me, or it might be a new dream to shatter all of its own. I began to remember the shape of the pendant that consisted of his dream as I began to wander around looking for more loose dreams. It was a single metal piece that spun in on itself. The beginning was the end, and the end was the beginning. I could have gotten lost just churning my mind around its make. As I thought this, I was reminded of the distinct feature that made dreams so succinct to their owners. They materialized into the World of the Living in a similar manner, finding their way to embody the dream. I smiled at Reed’s endless cycle. It was incredibly human.