Grains of Sand

I lived down on the ocean that summer.  The sun seemed fixed far out and low over the waves in the afternoon sky, never moving.  A thin veil of haze passed across its surface, dimming it to a pale white that was softer on the eyes, and yet everything under its light was drained of color like an old foreign movie.  I was staying in a high-rise apartment building that was right down on the waterfront.  A tall monument rising out of the sand with walls made entirely of glass, you could see every floor, layer upon layer, and the people within, silent marionettes performing all the endless variations of the waltz of life.

A blonde girl that I had gone to school with lived a few floors above me.  I dropped by to see her.  She lay on a lounge chair in the middle of the living room, wearing a black bikini and basking in the sun.  There was no need to leave the apartment; the sunlight came right through the glass.  She looked just the same to me.  She lifted her sunglasses and smiled up at me and spoke in french with subtitles.  She told me that she had been here all the while, staying fit, eating healthy, the hour never advancing.  I took this in as I looked out at the sun and at the long, deep shadows cast by every object in the grey room.

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7 thoughts on “Grains of Sand

  1. Sad they don't make movies like that anymore. They really are like an old dear friend. There's real conversation in those greys you can't find in the modern.
    T.v In our house stays on TCM. Always like walking into the room as Osborne is finishing up an introduction; “… so just sit back, relax and enjoy…”.

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  2. I'm trying to remember if it was TCM or AMC that played marathons of the Twilight Zone on New Year's Eve. I used to just throw a VHS tape in and let it record the whole thing all day.

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  3. I too was seduced by the witty line about speaking in French with subtitles. It spoke to me–in the best & clearest English, as did the entire piece. And then, the double-entendre of your comment “my face is up here. . . sorry I was reading your subtitles”. Quite apart from the fact that I've been watching a lot of foreign movies (French, Italian—American sometimes fitting into that same category) where I have a smattering of the dialogue but am not quick enough to follow.

    What I like best about this dream is that it is entirely a movie, apart from not being on the screen. I have a projection room & screen in my head, just give me the words, I'll splice them into the finished product. Novels are too long, I rarely have time, but films are too long too. We often watch half of one in an evening, & write down how far we've reached for tomorrow..

    Your dreams are a perfect length. Even then it takes days to give feedback sometimes.

    VHS tape was a good way of saving time in the days when you programmed a machine to record the TV programmes you were unable to watch (or got a child to do it because the instructions were so complicated). You could thus record weeks' worth of must-see programmes, whilst going about your business.

    And then, when you realized you hadn't found time to watch them anyway, you could record over the top of them, with the satisfying sense that you had bought your life back, for very little outlay.

    So you could stay wherever you were all the while, keeping fit, staying healthy, the hour never advancing.

    For the land of dreams is a timeless zone where real life is played back with counterfactual & impossible variations, landing its hero (you) in dilemmas or dire binds that seem to brook no escape—and then you wake up.

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  4. That's spooky you should mention the Twilight Zone. You dreamed you were staying at an apartment building and today a plane crashes into an apartment building not far from you. I've noticed odd little similarities like before in your dreams. I've always thought you are a bit pyschic or something.

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  5. Yeah, I have a hard time keeping up with reading the subtitles too. I think I'm a generally slow reader as it is. I used to have more of a resistance to watching movies in other languages with the subtitles. People complain about that sometimes. But I find that it doesn't really bother me as far as being able to follow the story. The only thing I miss is being able to connect their words directly with the inflection of their voice, but even with that, you kind of fall into a rhythm with it. I love how a good movie just casts kind of a spell over you, and everything that takes out of its reality just falls away.

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