Rescuing the Man in the Fire 

Last night's dream was pretty emotional, so rather than wait until tonight before recounting it, I figured I should get it down now, just after having woke up. Already, I have forgotten some of it.

I am at the scene of a pretty intense fire. A fire that is raging through some apartments in Greece. Everything is pretty chaotic, but I note a man is stuck out on a balcony. I want to rescue him, and because there is a sloping wall that comes really close to his balcony, I think I can. However, the firemen at the scene (the man on the balcony also happens to be a fireman) don't want people getting close for safety reasons. I stand helplessly and watch. Soon, the building deteriorates in the blaze. The firemen haven't gotten to him in enough time to rescue him. The wire railing of the balcony pulls away from the building as the bolts come out of the wall and the concrete flooring he is standing on begins to sag. The balcony slips off from the building, and the man dies in the fire.

Seven years pass, and I still think about the tragedy of the fire often. It is a painful memory that feels like a loss for me as much as anyone. Yet, somehow, through the reading I have been doing, I have figured out a way to travel back in time, even though the time travel will come at some personal cost. For instance, I will lose all the close friendships and relationships of the present. I might be able to rebuild them as I grow back through time, but that is uncertain. One can only travel back in time, not travel forward. Even though it will be a sacrifice to go back, I know I have to do it. For me, there really is no other choice.

So, I go back seven years in time to the scene of the fire. It is just as terrible as it was before. I see the same distraught man on the balcony, but instead of hanging back as the firemen want me to, I directly go over to him. I calmly put a ladder between the wall and the balcony so it works as a bridge and pull the man over to me. He is so grateful he can barely function, and soon after I have rescued him, the entire building collapses. He is in tears and somewhat injured, but he is deliriously happy to be alive. I am soon hailed as a hero in the Greek Press.

I gain a very small amount of fame in Greece, but soon, he gets on with his life, as do I with mine. It turns out, aside from being a fireman, he is also an artist. As I have saved his life, I have become a "friend of the family," so we remain in contact to a degree. His family is as grateful to me for saving him as he is.

At one point after the fire, his friend shows me some of his art, which is stored in large drawers at the library. Technically the art is near perfect. The brush stokes are interesting, the shading is perfect gradated, etc. But, despite of its technical achievements, the art has the strange quality of being devoid of real meaning or merit. It is like the soul has been removed from it, but I chalk that up to his "not knowing" how to create this rather than his being "unable" to do it. I suggest to his friend that he tells the man to think of his dreams and try to figure out the emotional logic of them. If he can tap into the problems presented by his dreams, he can represent them in his art and thereby become a much better artist. His friend tells me that he will pass along the message. Shortly thereafter, I wake up.

07 September 2009
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