I wrote this little piece as an attempt to overcome writer’s block. If you know anything that might help me find “Brian”, please contact me.
They spring, fully formed, from my brain each morning as I wake up. Each dream is so clear and detailed, so plausible, that I find myself puzzling over them again and again. Are these memories? Are they imaginary? I have no way to tell. Most people can tell the difference between dreams and reality, at least to some extent. I can’t. This is what it means to be touched by the gods, if you believe in gods. For atheists like me, this is what it’s like to be bipolar.
Today I woke up thinking about my friend at the train station. I never knew exactly who he really was- his name online or at the clubs was “Brian”, and he contacted me when I was living in Sweden, asking if he could have my address. I expected a letter or maybe a phone call, not an American standing by the train station building, calling my name. His dark navy or black wool coat stood out against the deep yellow of the station’s siding, and he had dark hair and eyes. He called my name again. I did not recognize him. I looked at him, and he recognized me. I turned to walk away- who was this? Why was he here? I was wearing a dark pink winter jacket and a bright green backpack from IKEA that held my work laptop. He walked up to me, said my name once more.
Uncomfortably, I looked away.
This is where the dream fragments. I don’t clearly remember what happens, other than that he quotes some of my fiction writing- passages from my novel Perigee. I run away.
Later, in the sunshine of another day- I can’t remember if it is just a few days later or if it is a few months later- I meet him again at the train station. I have twenty minutes until my train. He asks me to have a coffee with him. This time I am not afraid. We go to a small coffee shop that sits across from the yellow-sided train station building, and I sit looking out into the sunshine, at peace. He sits next to me and does not say much. He sketches in a black-covered sketchbook. Again, I cannot recall much of anything of what is said. He gave me a ten kronor coin and told me to keep it. I pocketed it, and later used it at a grocery store. Ten kronor is about $1.30 or so in US dollars, not a significant amount of money.
I later regretted giving away the coin, as I had another dream that it had been a special coin- one of very few works of art by a Swedish artist, who made solid gold 10 kronor pieces and put them into general circulation as an art project. However, that I owned one such coin was probably only a dream.
I don’t know who “Brian” ever was. He would phone me occasionally while I lived in California, so I gather he lived there too. I think he wrote IMs once or twice while I was in Alaska, and he may have called me and done impressions of different characters on some cartoon shows. He was briefly on some online forums I was a participant in. I know these dreams are based on someone real. Who was at the train station? I might have met my mysterious friend, or I might have been delusional and completely imagined these encounters. I don’t normally hallucinate, but I do sometimes remember things that never happened. Maybe these dreams, these god-children, are not memories but only fantasies.
Whoever he is, wherever he is, if he is even real, I hope my friend “Brian” has a pleasant day followed by sweet, harmless dreams. Tonight, I will sleep, and tomorrow I will start puzzling again over the morning’s dose of strange dreams.
I keep hoping “Brian” is real and that someday I will find him to thank him. I can be reached via this page.