Dream On

“Giant Mouses can’t talk. Go away.”

“Sure we can. I’m talking.”

She rolled over away from him, pulled up the covers. “Hmpff. And you’re too big, and not mousey enough.”


“You know…” She fluffed her pillow, dropped her head. “Mousey. Furry and dirty. And creepy. And they don’t wear red plaid vests. Or borrow my fuzzy slippers. G’night.”

“My feet were cold. Back to your dreams?”


“I thought you quit dreaming.”

“I did. About real things, anyway. Dream dreams are different.”

“I’m different. And not mousey enough, but here I am, and I’m no dream. If it’s in your head it’s real. You didn’t get that from all those liberal arts classes and bong hits back in college?”

“Nuh-uh. They’re dreams. Maybe my mind connecting with itself, or the great cosmic whatever, or cleaning house or something. Go. Away.”

“The other night, when all the dogs were brindle Great Danes with heads like pit bulls? They told you not to run but you ran anyway. One of them grabbed your arm before you turned into a tree. That was a good one. Just as real as if you’d been there.” He chuckled. “You were scared shitless. And Tuesday night? Remember? You went to buy a car from someone you met in an expensive bar that was trying to look like a subway station who turned into your eighth-grade crush. You got to his desk, he laughed and said no girl like you could drive a car like what you wanted and gave you a black Valentine instead of car keys. You woke up heartbroken, looked for the card under your pillow. All of that is real. It happened. You logged it just like when you were standing in line, so embarrassed you almost peed, just to buy that lacy bra that’s too small for a guy who isn’t coming back.”

“He was a bad dream. Those were all bad dreams. You’re a bad dream.” She pulled the covers over her head, offered a sleepy, muffled, “Go Away, mouse. Or rat or…”

“They weren’t bad dreams. A bad dream is no dream at all. Look.” He pulled a lightning bug out of his pocket for a night light, turned the covers back down around her shoulders. “There are wants, and wishes. And then there are dreams. Sometime or other we all want fame, or fortune or wish ten or twenty pounds would take a walk. Some of us make plans. How many kids, which jobs. Maybe what we want works and maybe in all that planning we succeed and miss something we wish we hadn’t. We all want to be loved. We all wish we could find someone who could love us. We want our children to be healthy, and wish they stay un-hurt by the world. You still awake?”

She snuggled down a little further into the pillows. “Mmm hmmm….promise…”

“All those wishes and wants. As we get older they change, but a wish is still a wish. On a star, on a birthday candle, on a heads-up penny. But they’re sitting in that same room with wants. Now that I’m old and lazy, maybe I want a decent bacon and grilled onion cheeseburger that won’t kill me and isn’t five bucks. And an amber beer with some attitude. I can wish for a magical place that has both, and want it to be close by, maybe with delivery. You can want a lover on Friday night and wish they’d stay forever. Wishes and wants. Wants and wishes. You can stop wanting and wishing, that’s okay. In fact, sometimes dropping that in the can by the door of your consciousness is a good idea. Let those things happen without a shove. Offer, belong, let it go if it collapses on you. Do it again. Let wishes and wants turn into the unexpected postcards life sends you, awake or asleep. Cherish them for what they are. They aren’t dreams.”

“‘Let it go, live in the here and now?’ Puh-leeze. I don’t need a giant fucking mouse thing to give me an ‘I can be the most beautiful me’ MEME speech at midnight-thirty.” She grabbed the pillow he’d been leaning on, put it over her head.

“We put our hope in things and people and adventures we want, how want we them to be and wish they’ll turn out like we hoped for and that’s not where hope belongs. Listen up.” He changed the cross of his legs, set the lightning bug on her headboard, tapped it once to turn it down before he pulled the pillow off her head.

“What happens at night? Those aren’t dreams. That’s your brain running on everything that gets thrown at it. Reality isn’t required for it to crank up a visuals binge watch. Asleep or awake, your brain is getting down with itself in there. As far as ol’ brain is concerned the only difference between asleep and awake is just that matter of keeping you from falling down. No ma’am. Dreams, real dreams, are an altogether different thing.”

“How do you know? You’re a giant mousey sort of figment of my imagination and I’m tired. Why can’t you just go away?”

“Because you said, as a result of life and everything in it, that you quit dreaming.”

“Well look at me now, Mister Mouse Thing. Wide awake and listening to you go on, and on…”

“I’m telling you, this isn’t a dream, it’s another experience, that’s all.”

“One I could do without. Go away, plaid vest mouse thing. Let me sleep. I need to sleep. I need to dream…”

“Thank you. You said it, not me. Now I can go.”

“Good. Not that you’re a bad giant mouse thing, but…”

“I get that a lot. But know this. When your head hits the pillow, when the feathers tickle your brain, that’s not dreaming. It is what it is.”

“Great. Whatever it is, I need some. G’night, mouse. Go away. Please. Leave my slippers.”

He tucked her covers around her, touched her forehead with his finger.

“Plaid vest mousey thing, can I ask you something?”

“Can I keep the slippers?”


“Damn. Ask away.”

“If they aren’t dreams when I’m asleep, and everything is just wishes and wants, why won’t you let me quit dreaming?”

“Because a dream, a real dream, is a wish your heart makes. Without a little piece of our heart in our wishes our dreams are empty, and we’ve lost everything.”



Published by

Phil Huston


10 thoughts on “Dream On”

  1. Brian Jones in “Ruby Tuesday:”
    Loose your dreams and you will lose your mind

    I oughta know – I’m Roy, and I come from dreams! Nice to meet you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After the Crowded House bit I was tempted to start pulling out all those Oldies. Journey. Boston. Argent. You know what I’m talking about. Keep believing anthems. It can’t all be Lesley Gore crying at her own party…

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Quite entertaining. Maybe I should just give up looking for a deep meaning in this one. If it is an allegory… I’m not getting it. Dreams within dreams? I know about those. Anyway, as I said, very entertaining, and smart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing very deep. Just what it says. If we take our hearts out of our wishes our dreams never will come true. So no matter how badly it seems to be have been kicked around, put it back out there. Don’t stop dreaming real dreams. The ones with your heart.

      Liked by 1 person

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