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Dead But Dreaming

Dave Howden

 

I’m standing in my living room. It is a large, plain room with magnolia walls. It is bright, filled with natural daylight that makes its ingress from the large window that occupies much of the large wall, one of the longer dimensions of the rectangle, to my the left. I guess I’m not quite with it, hungover more than likely. I just don’t feel particularly connected. Between space… my wife is beside me, at my left hand side. Our backs rest against the shorter wall and my right shoulder is close to the corner where the wall to my rear and the other longer wall, the one without the window, meet. It’s very warm, a dry heat. It must be summer. I’ve almost forgotten what summer is.

She seems to come from nowhere. It’s as though she’s entered through the wall, a silent entry, and completely unannounced. Of course, there’s a door, to my wife’s left, some distance from me, and it’s concealed, even if my view of it wasn’t obscured. We both know her, and although she doesn’t live with us, and only visits very occasionally, the surprise is only momentary. No-one speaks, and we watch as she walks straight past us, dressed in a Chinese dress, and places her palms against the wall, the longer wall without the window, at the far end of the room. Hot on her heels – her bare, shoeless heels – appear a couple of Indian men wearing turquoise robes. They stand in the middle of the room and converse with one another in Hindi and ignore us as they watch the girl as she continues to move strangely, her back to us and her hands on the blank magnolia wall, her palms to the flat surface, almost stroking it.

Abruptly, she stops. We all go outside. It’s been a long time since I have been outside. The world has changed significantly. How long has it been? Long enough to have forgotten that from my doorstep I can see the lives of dozens of other residents in the square unfolding in real-time through the large window elevations of their flats – large, plain magnolia expanses, just like the one I live in. I move back and step outside myself once more.

Clinicality Press publish and promote new works of fiction and beyond. We’re just starting out in putting out new works on-line in a blog/zine. This is the third posting, and there are lots more exiting pieces on the way. In time, there may be a second anthology, but these things take time and money, and we’re short on both. For now, we’re doing the digital thing.

 

The Persistence of Memory

Pete Miller

Ever wish you’d done something different? Ever wish you’d done some things differently? Obviously it’s too late for regret, as it won’t change anything and is simply a needless expenditure of energy and there’s less to spare as each year passes but do you? Do you have regrets? A yearning to go back and change things? Or would you play out the mistakes the same anyway: after all, we learn from our mistakes and know not to make them again. Even so, there’s always that small wish to go back, retrace the steps taken in blindness and rectify some of those darker moments those moments, however fleeting, of the most acute embarrassment…  isn’t there? Or is it just me?

I don’t wish to change who I am, or what I’ve ‘become’ – I probably couldn’t anyway, there seems to be an inevitability about the path we tread, and fight circumstance as hard as me might, it feels like a losing battle. People do us over, finance and situations of employment, family, all unwittingly contrive to bring us to the present whatever we do. But don’t you sometimes think ‘what if?’

What if you’d gone what that guy or that girl what if you’d been less spineless in relenting to that push or that, what if you’d not given in so easily when told ‘no’ to that, what if you had applied for this job, that job and the other job? If you’d not given up after the fifteenth knock-back on one career or another, had held on to and fought harder to cling to one dream or another?

Or when you discover that you’re finally able to make progress of sorts? Don’t you wish that you’d been the person you are now a decade ago? Or even fifteen years ago? What would you change? What would you have done differently? What were your dreams? Do you still have any of them now?

And how about the way you look? What would you change? Anything? Nothing? How do you feel about the ageing process? How do you feel now about your childhood? How much of it can you actually remember?

I find that I feel that while my memory is still as good as ever, some recollections are becoming somehow distorted. Or perhaps it’s that I struggle to reconcile them with my adult self.

I don’t miss the lack of responsibility of childhood. I was as repressed as a teenager as I am now. I wish I had evolved differently.  I wish I’d been the person I am now or feel I’m becoming then, ten, fifteen years ago. Don’t you ever wish that? How would you be with the people you knew then if you were how you are now? Were there missed opportunities? Did you not speak when you should have done? Did you say things when you’d have been better not doing? Or simply say the wrong thing? How would you replay it?

I’d replay it all in slow motion and consider my moved for a start. And do it from my perspective now. But there’s no going back… is there?