Alex awoke to morning sunlight dazzling his eyes. He moved to sit up. Then he remembered…The dreams were becoming more real than his “reality”. He waited passively in his unresponsive body for the all-important shot that would reunite him with his fantasy utopia.
It came, the beaming smile, eye contact, and the prick of the needle. His eyes closed in expectancy, opening to focus on a white stone fountain, fresh sparkling water, a small town square reminding him of southern Italian piazzas…
A cool breeze ruffled his shirt. Villagers sat around white, ironwork tables drinking wine, chatting, feet outstretched in the evening sunshine. A weathered old man, foot resting on a rattan chair, coaxed music from an ancient fiddle for a group of young dancers. More people were coming together having finished work for the day.
There was a feeling of balance, no one tired or exhausted, the intense need prevalent in Alex past life to “party” as an antidote to work or stress (as if enjoyment must be crammed in) seemed entirely missing.
Alex looked around for his guide. Doc was close by, answering the unspoken questions as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
“Most do this every night, or most nights,” He informed Alex. “Someone is always here and they enjoy this time together.”
It seemed quite family orientated, with quite a few old folks, mostly sitting at the tables or playing instruments. Children dashed between the groups playing games, some intent on an occupation similar to jacks, squatting on the ground, there were even a few dogs milling in the crowd. Younger folks were mostly dancing and talking.
“Not everyone is here,” Doc explained. “Some young couples for example prefer to walk alone, or enjoy the moonlight and stars.” He chuckled.
There was an overall feeling of peace and tranquility, song and laughter; no one seemed to be intense. Alex noted the old man that played had the fiddle dancing with a young woman and a strapping looking youngster with a little girl standing on his feet to dance. No one putting on a show, everyone included.
There were lampposts set about the square lighting the tables and illuminating the fountain, making the water sparkle. Some folks sat on its edge, a young girl splashing her companion, he laughed as it ended in a kiss. They all suddenly turned to acknowledge and wave to Alex, a wave of farewell. Was it time to go?
“No Doc, no! Not yet! I don’t want to go!” Alex pleaded, but the wave of darkness invaded none the less.