Saito Soma no Tsurezure naru mama ni #16: A Bright Room

Published: 2018/10/31
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#16: A Bright Room

It’s a dim, dry morning.

On nights when I go to sleep early and days after drinking too much, I often see dreams. Sometimes I jot down the good ones and use them as material for lyrics or essays. In the past I had a lot of nightmares—for example, going to the bathroom in my parents’ house and seeing that the whole floor has become linoleum, and there’s a giant praying mantis in the middle that I have to fight by myself (tragically, my skin was ripped apart by its sickle claws). Or there’s a witch pretending to be part of my family, and now she’s chasing me because she realized that I figured out the truth, so I hide inside the blankets in the closet—but she finds me. I remember those horror sequences very well.

Lately, many of my dreams have been story-like, taking place between middle school and university. This morning was one of them. For some reason, I was participating in a university festival despite being 27. Each club had to put on a large-scale play with all of its members. The university was filled with that pre-festival restless feeling that something unusual is taking over, and it felt extremely nostalgic. As the story reached its climax, the dream began to fall apart, and the play transformed into a grand carnival. My role was a major supporting character that acted as a go-between for the main characters who couldn’t be honest with each other, and I think it probably went well. Everyone was smiling with tears in their eyes, and it felt like those festivities could only exist in that moment. As I watched them, I thought, even though I’m not a student anymore, I’ll surely experience these emotions again, so I won’t forget this feeling. Today’s dream was much more vivid than usual. It almost felt like I’d leapt through time.

…It was only a dream, of course. But what if possibilities from parallel universes manifested in the form of memories I haven’t experienced yet? I wondered absentmindedly, mind still half-asleep.

There are two books by Roland Barthes on the table. One of them has a Polaroid photo taken by Daniel Boudinet on the cover. The curtains, bed, and pillow are all bathed in a deep emerald green, and like the gentle gaze of the universe, it calls me from extraordinary sleep into ordinary life. Like I’ve seen it somewhere before. Like I knew about it before I encountered it.

Light streams through the curtains, brightening my field of view. The world will be waking up soon, and another new day will begin. I drink up the remnants of my dream with my coffee, open the door, and leave my room.

TL Note: The book that this essay references is La chambre claire (English title Camera Lucida) by Roland Barthes. The Japanese title is 明るい部屋 (A Bright Room) and the cover looks like this: