The Boy Dreams - A Short Story

A vision clouds itself forth within the mind. Bright fields with warm light from a steady sun. A rippling pool. Tepid air blowing the fields of wheat, as though they were running across the earth. Birds chirped quietly in a large maple tree whose leaves grew crimson in the hot sun. Coarse sand stood at the bank of a small pond; the water still and lifeless. Algae bloomed on the surface, creating a green carpet almost thick enough to walk upon. The toes of a young child tipped into the waters edge, as he sat upon the shore. Sand. Then, green grass for the length of a gunter’s chain. Lastly, the field of wheat leading to the small cottage that sat upon a hill. His parents knew he would be here.

A frog jumped into the pool via the bank adjacent to the boy. This slightly startled him out of his deep thoughts. Two dragon flies buzzed by his head, stuck together in a mating dance. The boy had come down to the water to fill his canteen, but seeing the algae growth he reconsidered his decision. The canteen had been given to him by his grandfather who had been a strong, hardy man. A farmer his whole life, that is, until he fell from a balcony that he was in the process of repairing. This was many years ago from the boy’s point of view. The old man had broken his back in two places, and had a gash on his head. Luckily, his wife heard him crying for help and was able to call an ambulance in time. He healed alright, but was not able to farm any longer. 

The boy laughed, thinking of what happened next in the story. After his grandpa had arrived at the hospital, the nurses and doctor checked him over, and were particularly worried about internal bleeding. They felt his abdomen, and assumed that there was a build up of blood there because of how hard it had gotten. The nurses began to tell his wife that she needed to prepare herself, for her husband would be needing surgery. In reality, his grandfather had been so physically fit that he had developed “rock hard abs,” as the children at school would say. 

Shaking his head to himself, he got up, found a stick lying nearby, and began to trail it along behind him as he walked along the edge of the pond. He walked for a little while, observing the squirrels racing around in the willow tree across the way. Such fun they had! So care free they were. What he would give to be able to live like them. Looking back at the line he had drawn, an idea popped in his head: art. He was not an artist, and had never really drawn much before. Some crayons had been utilized when he was much younger, but he didnt have time for drawing now. After all, why would he draw on paper with ink when he had such a colorful imagination? He would think, “I do not need to waste my time drawing; I can just dream up ideas.” This time, however, the urge to place pen to paper, or in this case, stick to sand was so great he had to follow through. 

It began with some quick circles. Then, a line down between the circles with a bend at the end. There! Eyes and a nose. He drew some goofy looking ears, and caused himself to laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of the face he had made. Joy. It brought him joy to do this. He knew he was no good at it, but the release it gave was invigorating. He began to draw everything he saw around him in the sand. The frogs, dragon flies, maple tree, leaves, and even attempted to draw the pond itself. This just ended up looking like an oddly shaped circle with squiggly lines down the middle representing the ripples. Before he knew it, he had created a whole city of masterpieces upon the sand.

Smiling and happy, he laid down on the sand, looking up at the sky. This escapade into the world of art had been exhilarating, but also exhausting. “No one would ever see these works,” he thought. They would be trampled under foot, blown away by the wind, or washed clean by the rain. As he lay there, he looked up at the sky. Clouds were blowing around like cotton tailed bunnies hopping across the front lawn to their dens. He watched them move, ever so slightly. Sometimes he wondered whether they moved at all! His eyes eventually started to droop, and he drifted off to sleep…

A fly landed on his face, and his eyes opened. It was hot and muggy; very humid. He woke up next to a pool of water much like the one he had just been near when lying down, but this pool was larger, more murky, and full of life such as he had never seen before! He leaned up upon his elbow, still slightly groggy from the nap he had been taking. As he looked around, he noticed that there was a stream that came into the pool, and then flowed out of it further down. He, laying on the bank, was situated perfectly to see the entire expanse of this large body of water. Getting up now he walked along the edge until he reached the mouth of the stream downwind from him, noticing the rushing water ripple as it was funneled into the smaller space.

He then continued on, and as he did so, the stream became widened until it seemed it was no longer a stream but a rushing river! Vines would hit his face every so often, and birds sang out loud macaws. It was peaceful here, yet edgy. 

He couldn't help but sense that something was a danger to him at all times. Just then, a small bird no larger than the palm of his hand swooped down and perched itself upon a branch near him. It chirped at him for a little while, staring. He stared back, and was surprised by the creature’s interest. He attempted not to blink, and looking in the direction of the bird, he noticed a number of other creatures around him. Snakes camouflaging themselves in the trees, and giant flying insects buzzing to and fro. He heard a large splash behind him, and turning around, saw ripples in the river. Pointing himself in this opposite direction, he waited to see if the creature would resurface. 

A few bubbles popped, releasing themselves from the water. Then, like lightning, a fish maybe two feet in length jumped straight out of the water and flew across the surface before being driven back in again by gravity’s pull. The boy was in awe. It was such an unexpected sight! He chuckled to himself and began to walk further along the banks of the river. He had thought about attempting to cross it, but had decided this was not such a good idea, being that he did not know what lived in the deep…

WHAM! He woke up with a jolt. An indent of his head and torso had been made behind him, where he had been sleeping. The stick he used to “paint” was still in his hand. He realized, after looking around, that he had also been tossing and turning at some point in his sleep, and that he had ruined many of the pictures in the sand. A slight disappointment welled up within his breast; he had not expected his art to be ruined so soon. 

Proceeding to get up from his position, he started to walk back towards the cottage across the field. He un-observantly dragged the stick in the sand behind him as he did so. A long, winding line was drawn; seeming to separate experience from reality. Or was it the other way around? He was to stay where he was. No adventure, no dreams. As a failed artist, he sulked. Or was it failure? As the wind blew across the fields of wheat, it seemed to say, “Why not dream?”


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