I had to wake up at four in the morning to fly across the ocean. As always, I slept uncomfortably, tossing and turning, certain I would hardly get any rest because that’s what happens when I know I have to wake up early to do something important. Then, as always, I fall asleep about an hour before I have to wake up, which makes it even harder to then get up when the alarm goes off.
Often I dream in that hour of sleep which feels more like five minutes. This time, I had a meta-dream. I dreamt I had to get up at four in the morning because I had to catch a flight, and I couldn’t sleep, in the dream. As I began to doze off, in the dream, I got thrown out of bed by a couple of cousins who were passing through and wanted to say goodbye. Suddenly, my house was filled with family members, all of us thrown out of bed to accommodate my cousins’ whim to bid me off on such short notice.
The only one not to be rudely awakened was my grandfather. He always woke up at dawn. I often wondered what he looked like when he woke up in the mornings. I couldn’t imagine him yawning or struggling to climb out of bed. The table was set, and the whole family was gathered eating in silence, most of us sleepy as hell.
Finally, I commented on how at least I got to have breakfast with my grandfather, something I’d never managed to do before. And as he sat eating ravenously, he corrected me with an air of indifference. He said it was actually the third time we had breakfast together. I thought of how beneath his hard shell he kept count of something he was trying to pass off as an insignificant fact.
Up in the air, over the ocean, leaving my homeland behind, I thought of how dreaming takes you beyond the limits of life. You can spend time with someone you thought you’d never see again. Maybe it’s even possible to travel in time, and change the past. In fact, my grandfather was wrong, I had never actually gotten up early enough to have breakfast with him, not even once.