I have a dream. Don’t mock! The kids did… at first. I’d have done the same a few years ago; last week even. A dream at sixty-eight and a half… And the only dreams I’d ever had until then were culinary nightmares and vague hopes that grandchildren might come soon.
It came on me all of a sudden. Mitsy was never a close friend. But when I heard she was dying – guess that happens a lot at our age – I had to visit. We spent all afternoon talking about nothing. But she was so glad to see me, to have someone to talk to, so she said. So little, yet she was so happy. Is that what life boils down to? I want more. So, now I have a dream.
At first, my dream was just to dream. You see, I wanted a dream but didn’t know what to dream. So I just dreamt. I dreamt and followed each and every dream along the by-ways and pathways it took me. Until I found the dream… the one I could call my dream.
It gripped me from the first. It sent me into a frenzy of activity. How, what, where, why, when? All those question words my Joseph used to drill into his language students when he was still with us. It was up to me to find answers. Now.
I went to see Gilly. Of course, I hat to tell her. I needed her help. You see she was a surf-whizz-kid. I guess that had been her dream.
Gilly was a real sport. We got onto the internet at once. I was surprised to find others had had the same dream before me. But that didn’t put me off. What did they have that I didn’t. I was going to make it.
Now came the grind. I went back to school, took a private trainer, joined a choir. I wanted to give myself every chance of getting there. That’s when I had to tell the kids. I wish I hadn’t. I only did so because I was never at home whenever they phoned. They wanted to know what I was up to. Wonder what they actually thought?
It turned out the telling was the biggest hurdle. Sure they mocked a bit at first, but they understood, they helped and they promised to come see me if I made it. Not sure I liked that if. For me there was no doubt. I’d get to the stadium if it killed me.
Hurdles one and two came and went. Then, the nerves set in. The day before the final round. The one that was to decide my dream once and for all. My stomach started churning. I went into the forest to let off steam. My voice wobbled. In its indecision it sang all four parts together – a kind of harmonic kaleidoscope. Now kaleidoscopes are beautiful things to look, but try listening to one…
Strangely enough, my battle against nerves never affected my mind. I was more determined than ever to see it through. A good night’s sleep and I sailed through the morning auditions, despite a couple of wobbly notes. In the afternoon I finished a respectable 16th. More than good enough to make the final cut. I was on my way to Cardiff.
That’s my dream. I’m here now. I’m loving every bit of it. We’re being spoilt left, right and centre. This evening, the banquet. Tomorrow, the dream becomes reality. I have a dream. For now, I just want to lie back and savour those words. I have a dream. I’ve lived with it for the best part of a year now. I’ve lived with it, I’ve lived for it. I’m tired. I may not get up for the banquet. I may not even get up tomorrow.
I had a dream. I lived for it. I failed. Who cares? It’s the living that counts. No living without the dream. But I lived. That’s why they’ll put on my tombstone: I have a dream.