In the dream, I’m late for my internship with an Asian film director. They’re shooting on top of a large cliff overlooking the sea. The sun is bright, sky is blue, and there’s plenty of lush grass beneath our feet. Our, being myself, the director, his assistant, and the hundred actors comprising two armies of rival nations, decked out in blue and red.
As I run up the hill to meet them, I find the director standing smack dab in the middle, with armies in formation in front and behind him ready to charge. He yells “Action!” and my mind fast forwards. He is preparing an actor for a scene involving him being pushed off the cliff by an enemy. The assistant irritatedly walks up to the director and starts haranguing him, complaining about safety and expenses and difficulty, how we could easily do this on a blue screen back at the studio. It’s getting late, he says, and the actors are tired. If we film this shot digitally, we can call it a day and not go back to this wretched place.
Wretched? This oceanside cliff is beautiful, a sharp contrast to the bloody feud that is taking place. I want to make my case to the director, but it’s not my place. I’m just an intern. And when the director looks into the tired eyes of his employees, he too lets out a weary sigh. Very well, we’ll call it a day, he says.
I don’t bother pleading, or helping them pack up, I just walk back the way I came. This place has a certain majesty about it, something that couldn’t be recreated by a second-rate computer geek who has spent his life indoors, who has never felt this wonderful ocean breeze.
At the bottom of the hill is a wall-less tent adorned with a sign that says WI-FI INTERNET. Several tables have been strewn about, packed with people on their laptops. A few people are sitting on the fat, pillow-sized stone slabs that serve as a railing for the small ramp that leads down the cliffside to the water below. There’s one poor shmuck who is standing in line, apparently not content to sit on the grass or sit in the sun.
Curious as to why they’d make a rail that leads downwards, I hop onto one and start to make my way down. My balance wavers a bit, and I decide that it’s best if I sit down and scoot instead of walk. The ramp alternates between slanted and straight, and it would be a fun slide if the friction of the granite wasn’t such a killjoy.
I reach the bottom and find that the water is actually pretty shallow. It would probably just reach past my feet, if I stepped in, nothing like the ocean I saw from on top of the cliff. It’s inconsistent. But life is consistent. The only place something like this could happen is…a dream? Is this a dream?
As rebellious thoughts fill my mind, I remember that I’m in bed after having taken a nap. I give a gentle mental push, and suddenly my hands feel the smooth sheets of my bed instead of the rough rock.
I immediately pull my mind back, my head spinning with the realization about where I am and what I can do while here. I have had a lucid dream only one other time, where I was on top of a large building. I wanted to jump off but I was too afraid, worried that I might be sleepwalking and would wake up moments before my death.
But this time I was too curious. I stood up on the stone railing and looked back the way I came. Another inconsistency, the railing was not part of a ramp that led up the cliffside, it was now simply a long curved railing that led back to an island. There was no cliff behind me anymore, just the expanse of the sea. The water was still foot-deep.
The best stories are made when you’re bold, curious, and just a little bit stupid. I dove head-first into the shallow water.
My head entered, then my body, then my legs. I was fully immersed, and there was plenty of room beneath me in the cool water. I wanted to come up and take a look around and found it effortless to rise to the surface. The island was still in the distance, but the railing was gone and the water was now a proper ocean. I started swimming, not caring which way, and it was the easiest thing in the world. I was totally uncoordinated but it was as if I had on a miniature life jacket that had that helped me float.
It was amazing, liberating, and in a flash it was over. I was on my bed, eager to go back into the water but too certain that I was awake and would not be able to return. And so instead of reliving it in my dreams, I sat down at my computer and relived it through my memories and my words. Hopefully I’ll have more lucid dreams, because I’m sure as hell not diving into water outside of one.