It was 3 am in the morning, I suddenly woke up breathing heavily, I found myself sweating profusely under my bed sheet. I was out of breath, as though I was running a marathon and became too exhausted to continue, but I wasn’t running, I was on my bed, asleep just like a lot of people on my side of the world. Was it a nightmare?
I tried get back to sleep but I couldn’t, while staring at the roof I had a faint recollection of the nightmare. It began with me and a lot of people, thousands of people, standing on a sea shore and looking at the distant waves, waiting for something eagerly, I didn’t know what it was but by the look on their faces I sensed that it something very important. The cold of the wind and power of the waves frightened me and many other people. Gradually over the horizon, ships of various sizes began to appear, moving slightly up and down due to the waves. The crew gave some kind of a signal and at once, without any warning everybody jumped into the water and started swimming towards the ships, I looked back towards the land, it was a barren island, not a single tree or blade of grass grew on it. I saw that I have waited too long and followed the others into the sea. I felt strong and I easily overtook many people, but thousands more were ahead of me and swimming much faster than me, I saw many people getting disoriented and swimming away from the ships, others drowned after having exhausted all their energy.
As I swam further, I saw the ships blow their horns and the crew threw many ropes into the water, people fell over each other, pulled each other into the water to get hold of the ropes and started climbing on to the deck but the ropes were long and decks were quite high up from where we were. I was still on my way towards one of the ropes when I saw the crew waiting on the deck at the other end of the ropes with a sharp blade in their hands, their faces looked as though they were carved out of stone. I realized that the ships only had limited space and that not everyone can get onto them, the ropes will be cut when the ships are full, leaving others to drown or swim back to the shore. I tried to get hold of a rope several times near several ships but I was punched, kicked pushed away, after some struggle, finally I fought my way into a sea of people around a mid-sized ship and got hold of a rope and started making the long steep climb onto the deck.
I was a quarter of the way up the rope and I took a break and looked back into the sea, how beautiful the it below was, the music of the waves, their dancing on top of each other with a deep blue glow under the sun. While hanging on to the rope, I saw another ship, it was the most beautiful ship I had ever seen, it was gigantic, it was much more luxurious, brilliantly colored and very few people were on their way towards this ship, despite it being obvious that the ship was better, better than all the other ships that were near me. The only problem was that it was much farther away from the shore and the distance combined with the roaring sea, scared way most people. I examined myself and my arms, I felt strong and I said to myself “after all I made it to this ship didn’t I? I am strong, I am still young, why should I settle for this ship, if I can swim all the way there to that beauty? “This trial of thought took possession of me, people around me started shouting “No, don’t, don’t jump” but I didn’t listen, I needed to get to that ship, I jumped back into the sea, voices both from the decks of ships and from the sea of people swimming, cursed me and shouted at me for being foolish, arrogant and ungrateful because I abandoned the ship that I had somehow managed to get hold of against overwhelming odds.
I decided to ignore those people and started swimming towards my goal as fast as my arms and legs could take me, directing all my energy towards it. I noticed the sun setting on the horizon, the other ships left with their decks full, all that was left were floating bodies of people who didn’t make it, but I continued to swim towards this distant ship which started glowing brilliantly in the night, its deck was so vast, I could see gardens and fountains on it. As I swam, I imagined myself sitting on the deck and laughing at those people who cursed me back there.
I swam for several hours into the night and continued to do so in the morning then it struck me that the ship was as far away from me as the previous day, I couldn’t come to terms with it, my heart started racing, not because of the swimming, but because deep inside I felt that something had went wrong, terribly wrong, I did not think this through. I started asking myself “does this ship really exist? Is it really over there? Is it just a mirage? Did I do the right thing by leaving that midsized ship? “
My arms suddenly gave in, I could not swim any more, I felt that my muscles had shredded themselves and could no longer function.
“What did I do?”
“What have I done?”
“Why did I do this?”
I couldn’t breathe, not just because I was exhausted but because I was shocked at my own foolishness, all this time I thought I was smart and that I know how to think, but now I was staring at a disturbing reality, my childish longing and poor decisions have left me in the middle of a sea with nowhere to go, even the shore was beyond the horizon, the only ship I managed to catch, I threw myself away from it. I have no one else to blame but myself, it was entirely my decision. When my limbs ceased to move, I started to drown, it was then I woke up all sweaty and out of breath.
“Ah…what a nightmare! “I told myself, but it was not just a nightmare, it was a cruel version of my real situation.