It first happened on the 7:15 to Paddington. I was in a trance due to a severe lack of sleep; caused not by a rock n’ roll lifestyle, but years of engrained insomnia. As the rhythm of the train pulled me along through the city landscape, with the crowds of people and streams of cars, I fell asleep with my head against the glass.
The train became silent and gone were the crowds of people swarming into the city. The streets lay dormant and the buildings were crumbling and decayed. The smell of lilies permeated the carriage, then I heard the carriage door open behind me.
I turned to see her standing there, cherry red lips that looked like sin, hair blacker than the heart of darkness. Yet her deep green eyes held the valleys and meadows of the world. She glided towards me with the grace of a summer breeze, but the promise of a storm – she reached out and touched my face.
I woke to find the last passenger leaving the train, a flood of people waiting in the platform ready to board. I had to fight my way off the train and just made it as the doors closed. I spent the rest of the day entranced; distracted to the point of uselessness, as emails come flooding in, left unanswered.
On the train back I closed my eyes again, hoping the passengers around me would dissolve into dream. I willed for her to return, but the hustle and bustle of the commuters disrupted my attempts. I opened my eyes and hoped that the cityscape would crumble to dust.
That night I tried desperately to sleep, but lay there alone in the dark. The air was stale, but if I opened the windows, the sound of cars pierced my ears. I tossed and turned and eventually I drifted off. I found myself alone in the rubble of the building, no sounds but the crunching under foot; this time, just the smell of charred remains and rotting flesh.
The following weeks blurred into searching for her; my waking hours recanting my dreams – looking for her in the desolation of a world in which I felt at peace.
Then on the roof she appeared and beckoned me to join her. Darkness had fallen on the city and galaxies swirled above as we made love through the night. I woke as the sun rose, but my body was ice, as the dream had seeped into the world.
I quit my job and took to my bed, alone with her in the destruction, I felt alive. A sense of belonging that I’d been searching for, I fell asleep amongst the bricks and the bones. I dreamt of my life and my room. I dreamt of myself as thin as a skeleton, the smell of festering flesh unfettered. I fell asleep in her arms and I didn’t dream any more.