When I was in school and all through junior college, my mother used to make me strictly adhere to a bedtime. By 9:15 I was to be tucked in and by 9:30 all lights were switched off. Almost always absorbed in some fascinating book, I'd beg heartrendingly for five minutes more which God bless her, she'd always grant. Most days those five minutes would suffice- except for really absorbing books which I would then carry to the bathroom and read there with a towel stuffed under the door to hide the line of light visible from outside. But most days I'd curl up contentedly in bed and dream till I slept off.
Those ten minutes of bliss were and always have been my favourite part of the day. Dreams are so wasted on sleep. However vivid they were, when you wake up all you're left with is disappointment, that those images that seemed so real in your sleep, turn so pale and lifeless in harsh daylight. Its like some horrible art thief replaced the van Gogh in your mind with a faded watercolour. But dreaming when you're awake- thats a whole new picture. You get to pick your fantasies and live then snuggled cosily in a warm bed, while drifting off comfortably to sleep.
Each night I would pick my fantasy, I could be a Spanish princess or a WWII nurse or a busy careerwoman. I could decorate dream homes, travel around the world, own and raise hundreds of dogs. I could be an Ayn Rand heroine staring at New York's skyline or Elizabeth Bennet turning down Mr. Darcy. If I was bored of fantasies revolving around me (and this happened, about once in a blue moon) I would live out all my favourite "if only" moments. If only Scarlett had realized she loved Rhett earlier, if only Tess hadn't been seduced by Alec, or Angel had found the letter she wrote him, if only Elfride Swancourt had lived. In all my stories they always had happy endings (Except in Elfride's case where I wasn't really sure what would have been a happy ending. I don't think Hardy himself knew, which is why he killed her off in the first place) Each morning when class got boring, I'd plan what I would dream about that night.
Since coming here, I don't have a bedtime anymore, I only sleep when utterly exhausted, leaving scant time for dreaming. More often than not, I fall asleep watching a sitcom or cramming desperately for a quiz. All this has left my quite dream-starved, and now as I look back, it has made my life considerably poorer. After all, isn't it like your very own Neverland, where you always stay young and if the ending isn't happy, it just means the story isn't over yet. So now I shall go to bed, turn off the lights, snuggle cosily under my warm covers and in my Neverland, go wherever the night takes me.