"How happy can you be when you
dread flirting with utter bliss?" That was Jonathan's last thought before he
dozed off in his well-worn recliner chair and the metal sphere dropped
from his hand, then bounced off the hardwood floor, clanging its internal
chimes as it rolled down the hall. His head snapped backward, he awoke the
instant before the sphere impacted. He had tried this twice earlier in the day
to recreate her in his dreams, without success. None of his attempts over the
last month had succeeded.
He once read that Edison
had used this technique to tap into his creativity, to remember the ideas that
boil in the unwaking state just before slumber. So far, Jonathan had no visions
of the woman during this hypnagogic state, only thoughts of redemption which he
attributed to the tiny pocket prayer he saw at an art gallery a few days prior.
These pocket prayers were little boxes, maybe an inch and a half long, with
clear plastic covers. Each contained a single word message plus an image or
tiny figure. A number and the artist's signature were written on the back.
Redemption was characterized by a single trading stamp, the
type that was popular in the 60s and was distributed at grocery stores after
purchases. Jonathan recognized the stamp immediately. His mother let him do the
licking when she pasted them into the booklets. She exchanged the booklets for
toys for her kids. His father didn't complain, the stamps were her money. He
preferred to collect cigarette coupons and redeemed them for some item
advertising his brand.
Jonathan chose to collect dreams. His problem,
though, was that he had no booklet in which to paste them. That was long before
he learned of journals, before he learned that even though dreams cannot be
captured, their paths can be traced.