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Alternative to a Dream

Alternative to a Dream
" The man who dreamed of a big, blue house on a hill "


He stepped into the blue waters of the sea with his left foot and began walking. A wave rushed in from afar; it roared beside him and asked, "What's wrong with you, man?"
"I'm sad," he bowed his head and took another step toward the depths of the sea.
Before vanishing into the sand, the wave asked why he was so sad.
"When I was ten, I dreamed of owning a big, blue house on a hill. But because my country’s enemies adopted blue as their symbol, the colour was forbidden to us and we were prohibited from using it. But my dream never left me," the man replied.
The man continued forward with heavy steps. The water reached his knees.
A second wave approached and asked him what happened next.
"In my twenties, my dream was to own a big house on a hill. But my dream was cut short because the hills and the highlands became the property of the officials and the rich. They used them as parks for themselves and their children," he replied.
And the dream rode a proud horse with huge wings.
Water resistance slowed the man down a little, but it now reached his hips.
The third wave came strong and unannounced. It made him start before he continued, "when I turned thirty, poverty and unemployment was rampant. Men had nothing to do but sleep with their wives and have children. So my country overflowed with its inhabitants, it got too small for us all. My dream suffered from an incurable disease, like gangrene, and the big house just fell off. All I dreamed of was a house."
The winged horse turned into a bird.
The man stopped advancing for a while. The water now reached his belly button.
He looked to the fourth wave. It seemed like a tear to him, and its voice sounded muffled. He went on, "when I was forty, despair overwhelmed me. It nested in my chest. There was no work to be found, and I had no strength to work. Wages barely covered a day’s living expenses. Houses in my country cost as much as the Sixth Fleet, amounts far out of my reach and that lived on the highlands with the officials and the rich. My disease got worse and began eroding my dream, until the house, too, fell off. What remained was ‘I dreamed of.. but it was not to be mine'. As the disease worsened, it nibbled at the simple remaining sentence and all that I was left with was 'I dreamed of..'".
My dream bird was shot in the chest.
The man walked faster into the depth of the sea. The water reached his nipples.
The fifth wave jumped high, wiping away a tear that streamed down the man’s cheek as he continued, "In my fifties, I remained true to the dream I had when I was a boy. But the desire to dream had died inside me and the disease began eating up what was left of me.”
The dream bird fell dead.
When the water reached his head, he started paddling with both hands, getting deeper and deeper into the sea.
"Now I’m in my seventies. I just want to rest, but I still want to make my dream come true. That's why I'm sad."
Suddenly the sea was silent. For a moment, the sun stopped rotating. The winds went quiet in astonishment at what they had just heard. Without warning, the waves got higher, breaking into tears that splattered on the earth’s shores saddened at the slain dream. They roared loudly to welcome their guest.
The sea opened up its chest and offered itself as a "big, blue house on a hill"; an alternative to the man’s lost dream.
The man thought his was the only head bobbing on the surface of the sea. But he was surprised to find many other heads floating on the water around him; their dreams were murdered, too, so the sea welcomed them all as an alternative to a dream.

Translation by: Fadwa Al Qasem


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