I enter my dreams through a train. Outside, it is raining. In the distance, like a shimmering illusion, is a city. I am greeted by a cat, who looks at me with an upside-down smile. They lead me by the hand, past sleepy cafes and empty convenience stores. The folks that people my dream look like when you stare at a painting long enough and the figures seem to start moving. We float right through this strange crowd. The cat drops me off at a building on the corner of two avenues and whispers telepathically that I live there. I ride the elevator and follow my legs, and I soon find myself in a room made of windows. I see a reflection of myself, but it isn’t quite me — it’s as though an actor were playing me in a film. I find the bed and I sleep and slip into a deeper dream, which is like the ocean. In the following days, the cat leads me through the city, introducing me to poets and potential lovers. They bring me to youthful events, which are always filled with smoke and laughter. There I meet flowers and bring them back to my windowed room, where we smile at each other and touch fingertips. Eventually, the dream fades away, always with regret, and I open my eyes and see the dull grey wall in front of my bedroom window.
There is a country within me, with its own culture and street names. I have mapped it out, colored its costumes, and read its history. When the days of waiting for opportunities are too tedious, I become my own tourist. I learned the habit of dreaming like this when I worked as an actor, and months were spent either alone or in a set, doing nothing for hours. All I had to do was sit down and open my eyes, and I’d be on the train, or I’d wake up in that windowed room. Then, I’d walk around this dream city, with or without the cat. I’d talk to baristas and bartenders, mingle with bohemians, or just sit by the beach alone. The sunset in my dream is an eternal sunset; the sky is a perpetual romance. Sometimes I stay in the hotel by the plaza, with a view overlooking the glistening sea. Sometimes I walk along the sleepy boulevard, going from one end to another. Sometimes I jog around the breezy campus and talk to professors and philosophers, who tell me things I once knew.
I spent the past year in this dream, since, for a time, none of us could actually go out. When we were finally allowed to go out, I was underwhelmed by what the material world was like, and I slipped immediately into dreaming again. I like staying at the hotel by the plaza. It’s just a short walk to the beach. The plaza has a fountain. Surrounding it are cafes, restaurants, and bars. Outside one restaurant, a man sells paintings on the street. Beside one cafe is a store that sells second-hand books and zines. I buy a book for the day and walk to the sea. Right across the boulevard is the beach. I sit in an al fresco restaurant and read my book. Sometimes, the cat joins me, and we talk about nothing. I don’t remember the details, I only remember feelings. There is no need for words in this city, but whenever we do talk, the sounds are far away.
The psychogeography of my mental city is like the lingering scent of a good perfume. The more I force myself to smell it, the more it evades me. Yet, when I sit still, I find myself immersed. This is a space that both does and does not exist. When I am in it, what I occupy occupies me.