People don't listen. Or they listen but they only hear things they agree with. How do I know this? Because whenever I tried to tell people that I never dream they would say, "You mean, you dream and you don't remember."
That is not what I said. That is not what I meant.
I could remember sleeping. But there was never any dreaming. There was only stitching.
Sleep was like a silver needle that I would ride, braced in its eye. As a child, all night long I would stitch up the parts of my family that were coming apart, good and tight to last another day.
Then all day long I would watch my night stitches unravel. And I would bite my lips and try to mend their arguments with my apologies, hoping that it would all just last until sleep that silver needle.
So when could I have dreamed?
I grew up on the seam of life where the edges meet but won't hold together.
That is why, when I finished growing, I started moving as far away from that seam as possible. I traveled to the end of land where I came upon a small city that was speeding through time, in a hurry to get to it's future. I was tired and it was going my way. So I jumped inside and went to sleep with my back to the sea.
But that night I could hear the waves trying to push the continents further away from each other. That sound dragged me through sleep like a cold tide until I came to the silver needle.
All that night I rushed back and forth beneath the sea trying to stitch the lands of the earth back together. But I never could.
Those first nights in the city almost wore me away, stitching against the sea.
Then I found a job that was shaped like a ladder, where the higher you climbed the tighter you gripped the rungs. On my first day of that job I was feeling very strange, very out of place, until I looked up from my bottom most rung and I saw the other people. They were starting to fall apart because they were so afraid of falling off.
I felt myself slide into place. I let go of the sea.
That night I climbed aboard the silver needle and I started night stitching. I never rose any higher at that job. I just stayed at the bottom stitching up other people's ambitions when they ripped, and taking silent responsibility when they fell.
But every once in a while one of them would suddenly look around and cry, "Hey, I am not this stupid job!"
They would let go of the ladder. They would fly away.
And I always felt somehow cheated.
I just knew they were able to fly away like that because they'd already been flying in their dreams.
Then one night as I was stitching I felt a question in my heart. I looked down at my hands and saw that I had come to the end of my thread. I reached up and touched my face, so weathered, so textured, and knew that I was an old woman now and I had come to the end of my life.
I took up the end of the thread in my hands that I might tie it up to secure all that I had accomplished.
But there was that question in my heart again. It was making it hard for me to concentrate. I decided to listen.
It was so quiet at first I couldn't hear it. Then I could.
"What's at the other end of your thread?" my heart was asking me softly.
I couldn't tell it. I couldn't remember when I had first climbed aboard the silver needle and started stitching. It was just something I had always done. Always.
I took up the thread in my hands again that I might tie it up good and tight to secure all that I had accomplished, braced in the eye of the silver needle.
And my heart roared, "WHAT'S AT YOUR BEGINNING!"
It was so loud that I grabbed my thread and starting pulling. And once I started I couldn't stop. I was pulling, I was yanking, I was unraveling. Thread was running across my fingers until my hands burned. All my night stitches were coming free.
And then the whole thing jumped out of my grasp and dancing at the other end of my thread was the strangest creature.
She had the body of a lion cub and the wings of an eaglet. The untroubled face of a young girl and the vibrant eyes of an old woman. And she was carrying a book that was filled with the most graceful handwriting.
She danced over to me and said, "Here. I've been writing them all down for you while you stitched."
Then she placed the book in my hands and danced away.
I curled up in the eye of the silver needle and I very carefully opened the book to the first page. And I began to read my dreams.