“It started when I was 17”, I told the shrink. “I could hear this distant noise, like the wailing of a beached whale, in the distance. I always thought it was the night train, but there wasn’t any of the usual sounds that go hand in hand with a steam engine, like the pistons chugging or the clanging of bells”.
The doctor only looks at me. He jolts in a pad, taps his pen to his temple and writes some more.
“I took medicines. They gave me so many false diagnosis. Tinnitus was an often mentioned explanation, but I’ve never listened to anything loud. In fact, most of the music I hear is called ‘abstract’ or ‘anti-music’ by my friends. So it was back then and so it is to this very day”.
The doctor puts the pad down and asks for my journal. He told me to bring it. It’s the one where I write down all my fears and hopes, all that it was and what will never be. It’s a dream diary. He reads for a bit, writes down in his pad and asks me about some of my entries. It’s been so many years, but I remember I gave each one a name…
June 1st, 1994.- Canticle of Votier’s Flats – I walk through the snowy steppes with my husky dog and a rifle. We hunt for food and in this white devastation, where a mistake is certain doom, I gaze at the early stars and the green veils that dance around them…
“Loneliness”, the doctor says and asks me to read another.
December 12, 2002.- La Chanson de Beurrage – The sun always shines in this Parisian quarter. My lilliputian room can only hold me and my writings, but I don’t mind. It’s the life I’ve chosen and I relish every moment of it. I have no possessions besides a seemingly endless supply of paper, a good typewriter and nice tasting port. I will never move away from this apartment, but this makes me happy.
“Resignation”, the doctor tuts.
January 3, 1997.- Ending of all Odd – Celestial bodies that will always be untarnished by the hands of man, they feed us and ridicule us. We are but specks in this Ocean Space; one tiny ant in a forest full of life. What chance we have to move away from this all? Not as minimal as understanding it all.
“Worthlessness”, he says.
“I don’t think you’re helping my situation, Doctor. These are the dreams I had…”
“A dream never has a story, young man. They are only escape valves for our thoughts. Your writings sounds like the thoughts of a tortured soul.”
“No, you don’t understand. They might seem like rambles and echoes droning on, but there is a form. There is a rhyme and a reason, perfectly paired together. All these dreams, they come to me, with sounds that expand and envelop me. They make me melancholic, but at the same time, they give me warmth, hope and a sense of being”.
He doesn’t seem to agree. I tell him about my friend Douglas Glen, bless his soul, a guy who loved to explore the Rockies and loved to get lost for days in the forest, always coming back, unscathed. Nature never betrayed him, it was the city who took him. He understood me, yes, he did. Douglas could hear those sounds, those droning atmospheres from a far, sweeping reverberated notes. He sometimes called them “the Tres Belles” because of they reminded him of the feelings generated by his three best girlfriends. I dunno, they always were troublesome…
The doctor nods no and writes down the names of some medicines that I will never take. I keep trying to convince him. I tell him about one day when I thought life wasn’t what I expected and I was irascible. I then had an evening with my friend Dusty and all was well. Nothing special happened, it was just the magic of having a conversation with a friend. One of those conversation that goes for hours. Can I remember what we talked about or the music we heard? No. Of course I can’t. But there’s this note in my head, repeating itself, which makes me have total recall of that evening with Dusty. Sure, there was a hungover but…
“Here, please take this. It will make the noises go away and you’ll have a normal life”.
I take the recipe and I think twice about what I’m about to do. I decide it’s for the best. I offer my hand to the doctor and he reluctantly shakes it. We disappear in a blink of an eye. We appear in a beautiful cove, which shone like a diamond. The doctor almost passes away, but I tell him not to worry, it was all a dream for us. I shake his hand away and we are back at his office. He is as white as a sheet of paper and he looks at me. He asks for my journal again, looks at a random entry and we shake hands. We appear in a park, one that no longer existed. The beautiful lake and the trees that once were, the ones that now are a double tiered parking lot and an office block. Those council men, those calm idiots of yesterday.
We return to his office. “You see, they are dreams, but also realities. I found out years ago that when I heard those ethereal sounds in my head, I could travel anywhere I dreamt of, Doctor”.
He is sitting, mouth agape. I roll up the recipe and throw it in the basket. “I’m afraid I won’t take the pills, doctor”. I pay him and thank him for his services. The doctor bids farewell. There’s something in his eye. I know he can hear it too. It’s not only in my head, it’s in his too now. My work here is complete, another soul saved.
Words: Sam J. Valdes Lopez