Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Last Song

By Michael Mercurio


When I was but a child, I experienced a dream that was so profoundly disturbing, that I clearly remember it as the first dream I ever had. It affected me so greatly, that I cried for days after waking from it. I never realized however, how significant it all was until now.

In my dream, I was standing in the middle of a crowded, black city street. It was night time, and people were huddled close together holding candles and flashlights. Apparently, there was no power throughout the whole city. Everyone here reminded me of the displaced individuals I frequently saw standing on corners or lying on public benches. In this case however, it seemed to be the entire populous that was being forced to live in this manner.

I realized then - in the illogically disjointed way one can only come to such realizations in dreams – that this was the final day. I didn’t understand the details, but somehow I just knew – this was the end for everyone.

I walked for a bit, stepping between the frightened masses, and noted a small, blond-haired boy of about ten years old. He was lying on the ground, shivering and seemingly alone. I wanted to help him in some way, but for some reason I lacked the ability to interact with anything around me - such is the way of some dreams. Almost as if acting on my own intentions however, a disheveled older gentleman in his late forties suddenly appeared with a blanket in his hand, and wrapped the boy up in it, cradling him.

The man began to softly hum a hauntingly familiar tune to him, but gave it up part way through, quietly sobbing in despair. It was then that I realized – once again in the way one only can in dreams – that the man was the boy’s adopted father. The child had been deaf throughout his entire ten years of life, but the man hummed this tune to him every day that he had been with him, despite his affliction. Knowing full well that his charge could never hear him speaking, he would nevertheless frequently tell him of how the song would keep the monsters away.

The song wouldn’t be enough this night, however. And, finally admitting it to himself, the man simply broke down and began to cry.

A few moments later though, the boy stopped shivering. Turning his head toward the starless sky, he closed his eyes and began to hum.

It was the very same tune his father always sang to his damaged ears.

Astonished, the man could do nothing but hold his son, and finally join him in humming the tune.

As the duo carried their melancholic harmony, others nearby holding candles looked at them. None had heard this melody before, but nevertheless, the impoverished onlookers began to one-by-one add their voice to pair. I could only look on in awe as a crescendo of the forlorn symphony filled the air around me. The entire city was now humming this enchantment.

As I was slowly waking, I began to float upward. From my new vantage point, I was able to discern that the apparently viral song was being sung by the all-inclusive populous of the darkened world. As everything finally went black, only the song remained. And then, there was nothing. And I awoke.

Many years have passed since I first beheld that dream. And to this day, the vivid imagery of it all still haunts me. My anxiety of it seems to rise with each day as I see the events of the world unfold around me.

Even more so, because now when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I see a striking resemblance to the man who vainly sang to his deaf son.

Michael Mercurio
Copyright 2013
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