If I was ever asked to define a dream, I’d have to say that a dream is something to look forward to. Of course, I’d also think that most people wouldn’t accept that as a real answer, and so, if I was ever asked to define a dream, I’d say that a dream is a goal much larger than what one would expect. Of course, people wouldn’t accept that as an answer either, no, a dream is much bigger than that. I collect shattered dreams, so I should know. A dream is like a goal, but only if that goal is aggrandized to be a frenetic show of a person’s amalgamated self. That is to say, if I was ever asked to define a dream, I’d tell that person, that a dream is something big, something that can epitomize what a person wants, and, upon reaching that, they will reach complete, and total, happiness. But, what then? Would there days thereafter always be filled with total happiness, or would it turn droll? Isn’t that why people make impossible dreams? So that they can chase them forever? If so, then, isn’t that the epitome of sadness? To that degree, a dream shouldn’t be something too big, something too impossible. A dream shouldn’t be out of the scope of one’s mind, out of reality. No, a dream should just be a goal in the foreseeable future. Right, a dream is something to look forward to.
I woke up that day, dreamless. My entire body didn’t ache, my mind was already clear, my eyes had adjusted to the endless light of my room, and, I went to the bathroom to wash my face. The water that came out of the tap was crystal, and, upon impact of my skin, washed over me like a wave of summer. Once I was done, I went to the table, and grabbed my jar of empty dreams for the day, and proceeded to go out.
I opened the door, and stepped through the light. When my senses began clearing up, I became astute to where I had just arrived. It wasn’t a large city bustling with noise, nor was it a quiet town devoid of life, but rather, a home. The room was dark, and, it took my eyes a few moments to adjust to the low lighting. I stepped out of a closet, into a room, into a home, somewhere in a town. It wasn’t that I knew it was a town outright, but, the lack of traffic outside clued me in. The room I had stepped into seemed to be a bedroom of sorts. Except, any signs of life was far from diminished, it was no longer of this existence. The bed itself was barely standing on its rusted wooden stands, the closet I had come out of was tearing at the seams, and every step I took filled the home with my presence. The nightstand seemed to want to crumble at a touch, and the door leading to the hallway was discolored beyond recognition. Everything smelled of a dead forest.
I opened the door leading to the hallway, and stepped out. The entire home seemed to be falling apart at the seams, and, I was careful in not exerting too much pressure in my steps lest the home fall apart around me. It wasn’t that I could be hurt by anything man made, but, it would have been trouble making such a conundrum in the world of the living. I was to collect shattered dreams, not be a mediator. Though, maybe I didn’t have any right to say that, after all, I had quite the problematic hobby.
I made my way to a set of stairs. Every step down the stairs was an ordeal all of its own, but, when I got to the base, I saw the front door. The glass was still intact, but, it was muddled and rendered worthless. There was a doorway to my right and my left, and, behind the stairs, were another door. I wondered if such an abode would hold a shattered dream. If any a place, the home I had found myself in would have been an appropriate den of shattered dreams. If only the inanimate could have their dreams shattered. It wasn’t that I had a quota to acquire, but, it was my duty to see to it that I gather all the shattered dreams I could find, lest they be lost in the world and picked up by those wanting to use them for malice.
I peered over the doorway to my right which led into a kitchen. All semblance to a normal kitchen still remained, but, it was like looking at a picture worn by time. I then walked to the doorway to my left which led into a living room. All semblance to a normal living room remained, but, it was like looking at a picture worn by time. I didn’t know where the door to my room would lead me. The only requirement of its destination is that no one would spot me. Placing me into an abandoned home definitely was the quintessential form of that concept. However, as I stepped close to the door leading to the outside, ready to start my day collecting more shattered dreams, I heard the skitter of a child behind me. It wasn’t in the kitchen, or the living room, but behind me, from the door behind the stairs. It wasn’t that I was scared of an intruder, or the possibility that someone had taken residence in the abandoned home, but, for some reason, that skitter made me stop. If I had to assume myself as a human, I would take to it that I be that of a child. I always pegged myself to be more of a child than anything, and so, I was curious as to my own kin. Call it my hobby, maybe I just wanted to talk.
I turned and proceeded to walk towards the door, but, the sounds had long subsided. I knew for sure that if there was anyone in the home, that they would have long noticed my arrival. If they were paying attention, they may have thought me as a supernatural being, which isn’t far too off. But, if they weren’t, then I’d really peg them as a child. I put my hand on the knob of the door, and, felt its looseness. If I wasn’t careful, I would have detached the knob. Upon opening the door and producing a creak capable of making me cringe, I stepped into the hallway that existed at the back of the stairs. There were more doors here, and, I wondered just how large the home I had stepped into was. All of the doors seemed to be closed, and, as it were, not a single sign of life existed. I knew it wasn’t my imagination playing tricks on me, that is to say, I had no imagination.
Upon taking a step, I listened, my footsteps ringing in the hallway, and bouncing off of every crack in the area. I listened, as, if someone was hiding, they might be inclined to react to my slow steps. However, by the time I reached the end of the hallway, not a single peep was made. I felt more than a little disappointed, but, as I was about to turn and leave on the notion that perhaps I was going insane, I heard the skitter again. But, now that I was closer, I realized that it wasn’t the skitter of feet, as in, someone was walking about or running about, it was someone skipping.
I opened the last door of the hallway, producing another creek that would come to wake the dead, and entered into a large empty room. There was a window facing me when I had entered. It lead in a cascade of sunlight that filtered well into the room, exposing the dust in the air. And, not too far from the doorway, was a tiny girl, skipping along on a pathway drawn by chalk. When I opened the door, she was halfway through a skip, landed onto the tile labeled with the number four and looked over towards me. She had long hair, relatively long hair for a child of her age that was colored a light brown. She didn’t seem surprised to see me, nor scared nor, well, her blank expression might have been that of wonder. Other than the chalk on the floor, the playground she drew, and herself, the room was devoid of any furniture.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, trying to be as gentle as possible. I didn’t have a chance to see what kind of appearance the door gave me as I entered into the world of the living. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust the room’s discretion, but, I hoped that I was wearing something befitting a kind woman who just so happened to collect shattered dreams.
“I’m playing,” she answered after a long bout of hesitation. It was perhaps, one of the most common lessons a child learns: never talk to a stranger. Despite this, when she answered, her voice was clear, resolute, and nothing of a scared child that I would expect. Though, expectedly, her voice, was still that of a child, and she, a strong and stern child.
“Why are you here?” She asked in response. It was an appropriate question for an appropriate situation. But, I was something of a chain liar.
“I was interested in this home and walked in,” it wasn’t a complete lie. If I really did find such a place, I would have entered wondering if I could find shattered dreams.
“Interested?” She then turned her entire body over, placed both her hands onto her hips, and with a surprisingly haughty attitude, continued, “This place is empty, there’s nothing here, what could you be interested in?” She was still a child in elementary school and yet she had berated me for inquiry. My hobby had just become interesting.