A baby like me always had nightmares. Dreams of lift-the-flap books where I opened the bonnet of a car, and static flames burst out in crude red-and-yellow flames. Spot the dog staring at me with his mouth agape, his black dot eyes unblinking, before an empty white background. Hector the dog sawing at a tree branch, behind him a stack of burning logs blazing higher, about to explode; but then it settles, and Hector goes to examine it, because he can’t understand why it happened, and then out of nowhere, someone screams: ‘Nigel!’
Now I have dreams that predict the future. Well, to a certain extent. One evening I’d be sitting in my room typing on my laptop, when suddenly I hear that it’s Lip Up Fatty playing on iTunes, and I’ve just cut two paragraphs out that are right next to each other, one a single sentence and another one a double, and I see in my mind’s eye a vision of me taking out those two paragraphs, but I think: I haven’t done this before. I’ve only just got round to taking a look at it. The only possible explanation I can come up with, is that I saw this exact same vision in a dream.
‘I definitely remember you saying that, Peter.’
‘No, I definitely didn’t.’
‘No, I remember you saying it: Sean Connery was born in America. You were wrong.’
‘Oh, well I don’t remember it. You must have misremembered it.’
‘No, I haven’t! I did not misremember it.’
‘Well, one of us must have.’
‘Oh, well, I guess I must have dreamt it then?’
‘Yeah, I guess you did, then.’
Sometimes I’m scared by the number zero. Sat on the bus on my way to sixth-form, and the digital clock blazes ‘08:00’ — the outline of a never-ending circle, surrounding the abyss. Red against black. It looks angry.
‘Sorry, Nige, I’m leaving. Come on, give us a hug. Sorry, I just can’t be dealing with this.’
‘No, come on, Stuart, stay. Please.’
‘Okay, you know what? That’s it! Now you listen here, bitch…’
Someone wake me up. Please. Just solve all my problems, and then wake me when it’s all over. I must keep going. Must keep going. Can’t keep going.
What will I see if I wake up, if this is all a dream? Will I see heaven, or hell? Or will I see a world where things are different, even though everything is still the same?
I was abused, but not anymore. My father is gone. I must keep going.
If this is reality, then how can the sky exist? It’s far too beautiful. Those pinks and purples are so intricately chosen. They go together without question. How long did it take to choose them? Or did it just happen? Maybe it occurred to them in a dream?
When zero exists, the world is a nightmare. But when things have the potential for infinity, I never want to wake up.
So I’ll keep going.