The strangest thing happened. I was lying in bed and sleeping and oversleeping and then sleeping some more, half-dosing for most of it so not really sleeping at all. I could concentrate on the radio for much of it, and was aware of the author Dennis Lehane doing a charity event in my local public library. He was reading the entirety of his novel Shutter Island in one sitting, live on air. I followed much of the story during my snoozing, kind of dreaming along with it, and replicating scenes from the movie in my mind’s eye. I became immersed in Martin Scorcese’s cinematography. I really wanted to drag myself up and roll on down to the library, this was a fantastic and unheard of opportunity, but my medication had other plans. I simply could not summon up the will to get out of the pit! I was too groggy from my pills. Finally, after many hours, I managed to get up and shower. It was time to get into my special-occasion yellow dress (which I’d never worn before), and make the trip to the library. I was astonished by the set-up. As expected, it was a sell-out (I made a generous donation). The town’s press was there, a flood of photographers and journalists, with a tightly-knotted bunch of excited fans. There were illuminated waxworks of Ben Kingsley and Leonardo Dicaprio, a simple but spectacular touch, with the author sat up on a candlelit pedestal, calmly reading from his famous paperback. I’d made it just in time for the ending, my favourite part, and was ever-so-pleased that I’d made the trip. I never would have forgiven myself if I’d missed this. When it was over I stayed until the very end, until after all the autographs, handshakes, and signings. Then I approached him and told him how much I had fallen for the main character, Teddy Daniels. I said that to be so monumentally fucked-up was actually an endearing trait in a person, that denial is a very important aspect of life. We deny our own deaths every single day, I added. I even told Dennis that I myself had been diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic, something I very rarely disclose to anyone. I spilled my nervous heart out to him, unexpectedly. I have no idea why. Maybe because he looked so winsome and perfect while reading out his beautiful story.
I noticed a flicker in his eye, and a stutter in his breath. Something told me that he had taken quite a shine to me. Maybe I imagined it. Anyway, I left the venue with ideas of romance on my mind. I was sure something had clicked between us. My hero had not let me down. I climbed out of my dress and back into bed a very happy girl. Then I drifted off back into my slumber as if nothing had happened. When I next woke, my dress was still hung up in my closet with the label on as if I had never donned it. The whole thing felt like a dream, but I wasn’t sure. I honestly didn’t know. It was so real. It was so vivid. I rang the library and they said they didn’t know what I was talking about, they had had no author readings for two months. I searched online and found the same result – no history at all of Dennis Lehane doing a charity event whatsoever. Dumbfounding. So I messaged him on Twitter. He emailed me his cell number straightaway, asking me to call him immediately. I did so. And the next minute I was talking to my favourite writer in person – in reality, in the flesh, in the actual living world.
You were the cute girl in the yellow dress, he said. I blushed. Cute! But the thing is, no reading event had ever taken place…he’d dreamed the same whole thing himself! He had dreamed he had a single session reading of his book Shutter Island at a strange library in a strange town, and I, somehow, had met him in his own dream, in our own connected dream. We, as people, had never met. Or had we?
© Zombie Publications 2017