Real and Unreal, Part Three

Real and Unreal, Part Three

6.

He had met Angelina at one if his wife’s parties, and the second he laid eyes on her, he fell in love with her. He hadn’t had sex with his wife for two years, and at his age, his sexual hormones were still peaking.

“Hello, would you like a drink,” he said to her during a party.

“Why, that would be nice,” she responded. “I would like a vodka on the rocks.”

That was how the affair began. She was in control and whatever she wanted he gave. Whenever he would go on business excursions overseas, she would accompany him. His mind would go blank when he used to make love with Mary, but with Angelina, it felt right. His whole life he had been in control, and he lived in fear. Fear of failing and fear of losing control. As he grew older, he realized that he had no excitement in his life, and he wasn’t in love with Mary. The statement “I don’t know who you are anymore” to Mary was his wakeup call. He couldn’t recognize the woman who he had slept with for 16 years. Angelina provided the excitement and adventure he needed, and he gave Angelina a person to control.

Angelina had studied to be a lawyer in a university in Antwerp to fulfill her father’s ambitions, but she dropped out to become a sculptor and a professional photographer. When she was six, Angelina won a painting competition at school and had declared to the world “I am an artist.” The “I am an artist” declaration was suppressed for years by her militant father, who had wanted her to be a lawyer.

“You have to have respect in this world, Angel,” her father once said. “People care for and respect you if you have money and if you have a respectable job.”

“Papa, what if I am not happy with my job,” she replied. “What if I hate doing what I do?”

“It is life,” he said, “and you have to grow up and realize that the fantasy world of art that you live will never happen.”

“Papa, but I am happy being an artist,” she cried. “Isn’t life all about doing what makes you happy?”

“No,” he shouted. You will go to law school, and you will become a lawyer. I will not have this discussion with you anymore”.

After dropping out of university, Angelina found a job as a photographer for a newspaper in Utrecht. But when she met Pieter at an art show in Antwerp, she married him and quit the Utrecht job. Sadly, she ending up divorcing Pieter five years later when she found out that he had impregnated four local teenage girls. She relocated to New York, then to Tokyo, but when her art exhibitions were not selling, she moved to Manchester due to desperation at her sister’s request.

“What in god’s name am I supposed to do in Manchester,” she had cried to her sister from her Tokyo flat. “Tell me Karen, what am I supposed to do?

“You can start over, Angel,” Karen replied.

Karen, who was four years younger than Angelina, had lived in Manchester for 8 years and owned a little deli store.

“How does a struggling artist, who can’t sell her works in Tokyo and New York, revitalize her career in Manchester?” Angelina replied. “Manchester. It doesn’t have the glitz or the glamour that New York or London or Tokyo has. I would much rather die of starvation watching the Tokyo city skyline than moving to Manchester to start over.”

Two weeks later, Angelina was on a plane to Manchester to start over. She worked at a museum for 6 months, and when she finally had enough money saved, she opened an art store not too far from Karen’s pizza store. Her photographs and her sculptures started selling well, and two years later, Angelina was a household name of the art world and the upper class. Her most famous sculpture, “Mortigi Tempo”, had sold for £ 20,000 and it had made her an instant success. The Mortigi Tempo was a silver sculpture of a skyscraper with knives stabbed in it. On the top, there was a man in a business suit with one hand raising its fist in the air and the other hand holding a knife. The man on the skyscraper was obese and round and one customer to the store had commented that the man was a “gluttonous beast”.

Mary had heard about Angelina’s works, and when she came to the store, she was so impressed and enamoured by Angelina’s gracefulness that she invited her to one of her lavish parties.

“I would really like for you to be there,” Mary said. “There will be so many potential buyers for your works, and I think that it will be profitable for you.”

The party was very profitable for Angelina because she met James, and everything seemed so complete.

7.

When Perry got home, it was almost 11 at night. He walked into the bedroom and saw Ursula sleeping, and trying not to disturb her, he tiptoed to the bathroom.

“Hey, you are back,” Ursula said as she heard the water faucet turn on in the bathroom. “How was Z?”

“Uh, Z was Z,” Perry replied. “I will tell you all about this uneventful trip in the morning. I am tired.”

In the morning, they made love, and he told her about his excursion to Manchester.

“So Z has changed,” Ursula said.

“Yes,” Perry responded. “It is like life has exhausted him, and he has no energy to carry on. Besides he is sleeping with a whore.”

“I am sorry,” replied Ursula. “Are you going into work today?”

“No, I called in sick yesterday,” he said.

“Good, you look tired,” she replied. “Get some sleep. I have to get ready to go to work in 10 minutes.”

When Ursula had left for work, Perry snuggled into the comforter and fell asleep. He dreamt of many dreams, but the most vivid and the most confusing was the one where he saw Ursula being stabbed with butcher knives by little school children dressed in white shorts and black cardigans.

“Kill the bitch,” they cried as they rhythmically took turns stabbing Ursula.

“What are you going to do with your life now?” laughed a little girl with rosy red cheeks at Perry. What was frightening was that Perry didn’t see any blood from Ursula’s body although she was on the ground with several knives in her head and abdomen.

“Oh no,” he cried as he awoke, panting hysterically. It had been five hours since she left, but it had seemed like an eternity. It was only a dream and they never come true because they are figments of our imaginations and our fantasies. But would one classify a dream as a fantasy where your fiancŽ was being stabbed by school children chanting “kill the bitch”?

“I feel ill,” Perry cried as he spoke to Jan. “The whole dream made me feel sick.”

“But Perry,” she responded, “it was only a dream. Dreams are not true.”

“It just pains me to even have a dream like that,” he cried. “Even a thought like that is so painful for me.”

“I know dear,” Jan replied, “and forget about it.”

After he got off the phone with Jan, he went into the bathroom, and washed his face. He stared in the mirror at his reflection saying “It can’t be true! It can’t be true.”

If dreams do not come true, and are indeed figments of our imagination, then why do we have them? And what explains people whose dreams do come true? If dreams do come true, then I would have been dead a long time ago and I would have been a successful doctor and a world famous musician. But at the same time, events that I experienced in the dreams became a reality. Would one classify dreams as being real or unreal? What if we live in unreality and dreams are the only route, or rather, the window of opportunity to experience reality? What if the universe we know doesn’t exist? What if we don’t exist and what if time and space are concepts that do not exist? If this is the case, then fools are we for living in ignorance. Fools are we for failing to recognize reality. I have always wondered if my life and the experiences I went through were real? What if I was an infant who was in a coma and had somehow created this universe and world I live in my mind? What if I wake up from my coma and find myself in the body of a ten-year-old and I have this long life ahead of me?

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