Fiction: Did You Sleep Well?

Ivan here. 

Good morning. I'm in Taipei right now, where because of the time difference, it's tomorrow already. So hello from the future. Jennie doesn't know I'm publishing this because she's still asleep in San Francisco, but I felt motivated to share something that's been on my mind lately. 

Our upcoming post next Tuesday will be titled "Should We Sacrifice Time for Money?" Of course, this is a rhetorical question. The answer is no - no we shouldn't. But people do it all the time. In that sense, most people are asleep - even in broad daylight. Stepping onto the subways here, I see people dreaming through smartphone screens. 

I wonder what they'll remember when they wake up? 

A Short Video and a Short Story

I'd like to share a short story I wrote a few months ago. Nothing special. It's not even 500 words. I was inspired after watching this one minute short by the late Japanese animator Satoshi Kon titled "Ohayo." Or "Good morning." 

Mini Post: Did You Sleep Well?

Good morning. Did you sleep well? Did you wake up well? Does the light and the wind, the air and the smell, all feel brand new? Is each and every cell in your body awake now?

Today, you are who you are today. This world may seem familiar to you, but let me assure you: you’ve never been here before.

Yawn as you open the door.  There’s a hallway for you to walk down and a staircase for you to descend. It’s slow going and the staircase is long and winding. There is no telling when your bare feet will touch the ground. Your legs feel noodly, like you haven’t put weight on them in years. To keep from falling, you grip the metal railings tightly, with both hands.

What might you find waiting for you at the bottom of these steps? More importantly, who?

Is this your home? Do you live alone, or with a partner? A husband? Kids? Will there be a ginger tabby cat at the landing to greet you? What will you call her?

In milliseconds, these questions flit through your mind and make their way back to my room. I catch them with a butterfly net and deposit them into manila envelopes for safekeeping. I have to do all this in pitch darkness, but I manage okay. I try to take good care of our things.

Who knows, we might need them later.  

You are now standing in a living room. You look at the furniture but you don’t recognize anything. Everything seems cloudy, covered in a thin film. You rub your eyes and the world gets brighter.

A man is cooking breakfast in the kitchen. A total stranger. He is not the same man who was here last night, but somehow, this doesn’t alarm you.

It only makes you wistful and sad.

You pull back the white curtain to your backyard and open the sliding door. Now there’s the scent of pinewood mixed with the coffee brewing in the kitchen. Sunlight illuminates the dancing dust of dawn.

A cat is meowing and soon you feel it purring against your leg. Unconsciously, you say her name: “Mariel.”

Deja vu shakes us like an earthquake. It comes for me first, as my room crumbles quickly, swallowing me up before I even have the chance to scream.

You blink twice, and we’re back together again.

I’m awake. I turn to my husband and smile before I say,“Good morning.”

“Morning,” he says, looking up. “Did you sleep well?”

(P.S. Good morning, Jennie)