Like any good story, this one starts at 5:45AM.
I hear the cable, pipe or whatever it is, dragging against the wall just outside my window. Each gust of wind brings another bleat of vibration. The brown wood-grain clock-radio crackles to life and moves the groan to the shallow end of my meager pool of resources. It was 5:45 after all.
I knew the screws had rusted away a while ago, as the wires were stiff and dry and the brackets were completely gone, as were any sign they had ever existed.
I don’t remember eating, dressing or doing anything in between having my first thought of the day; which were the thoughts I mentioned already, and walking out the door. In retrospect, it was my first clue that something was amiss.
I stopped and looked at the side of the house for a second time. I couldn’t remember the first time I gave it close look, but I knew it was when I was awake. I wasn’t awake now; I was asleep and dreaming.
The little bit of wheel spin upon pressing the pedals is quite familiar now, as my best days start this way; it feels good. So does the acceleration up the nearly frozen, class 4 road that goes exactly from where the dream starts and continues on until it ends and no further. It’s this road that fills my nostrils with scents of cinnamon, apples then pine and tells me it’s a dream and not anything else.
Dreams are made completely from bits of reality mixed together in a new, sometimes frightening order. I don’t know if this place I visit really exists somewhere or is simply a compilation; bits of scenery caught between neurons or electrons, somehow spilling out and providing a backdrop for a mind at play. How much of reality is made up of dreams? Not much.
It was cold earlier, but I don’t have to go through that. I remember that. It’s warmer now and I peel away my neoprene gloves early, before I regret not removing them. Dreams are perfect, as you sort of know what is going to happen, yet you still allow it.
I can hear the squeak of the synthetic material against my clammy skin as the gloves invert themselves and slide off my fingers, which at this point look waterlogged. I worry that my hands are away from the handlebars.
I was onto a wicked pace for quite a distance over mostly rolling terrain, when I came to an intersection. It looked familiar when I came to it and I knew exactly which way to turn, but once past the intersection, I had wished I would have looked at the name of the road. I had my doubts about a lot of things, but kept turning the cranks with the feeling that effort would yield results; if I just pedaled hard enough.
The weather got bitter again as I got near to what felt like the top. I felt the wind change, when I noticed something odd; I was riding by the same pattern of road debris after each left turn, which looked like the left turn before it, then was followed by a rise in the road and a slight right bend. Again and again, over and over I thought about my pillow and the cable dragging on the wall and knew delivery was assured. Dreams lasted only minutes after all.
I tapped the shifter twice and my effort quickly swallowed the difference, as I got out of the saddle and propelled myself forward. I was breathing harder and using more energy, but wasn’t going any faster. I could maintain the increased pace for some amount of time, but I was doing laps. After confirming my suspicion that I was riding a small loop over and over again, I eased up on my effort and began to marvel at the absurdity of dreams. When the scenery suddenly became new and beautiful.
I learned as I pedaled along, thinking about the effort I was making and the actions that got me to that point, the scenery never seemed to change.
I had not yet seen the end of that road or where in reconnected with reality, but when I recognized the old schoolhouse at the end of my road; I knew. And with a touch of the brakes and a lean to the left, I was back on the home stretch. I eased up and looked over my left shoulder at the sign that read, Ciderhaus road.
I rolled over in bed and pulled my blanket over my shoulders. I flexed my leg muscles, which could feel the miles I had ridden that night. And I felt lucky when I realized I had lived a dream.