As a small child, I was heavily into ‘happily-ever-after’ stories. I couldn’t get enough of them. For me such stories were filled with wonder containing as they did handsome princes on white stallions and beautiful princesses or pretty peasant girls. The protagonists worked their way through exciting trials and tribulations caused by ugly witches and fiery dragons and an assortment of wicked fairies and scary wolves. And, at the end, it was happily-ever-after! Yeah.
Then, when I outgrew such simple stories, there were adventure books from the library, the serials on radio (which were quickly replaced by black and white television versions), plus the Saturday afternoon kid’s flicks. Yet other worlds were opened up where the hero was likely to be a handsome pilot or cowboy or a swordsman or someone from Krypton who could fly or a commando and there was a beautiful heroine who owned a ranch or was a newspaper reporter or nurse, etc. They too engaged in spectacular adventures with an assortment of criminals or dastardly deviants but again always managed to come out on top although each adventure did not end with a fairytale wedding in a wonderful castle complete with talking birds and pumpkins that turned into coaches. Clearly age brought compromise.
Before I went to sleep each night I would create my own adventures in my head and fight marvellous battles against galleons and pirates or guide my Spitfire through dangerous mountains and attack German trains and blow up dams and, of course, invincible, I always got the damsel.
Then, as a teenager, I moved to the
I grew up thinking that that was how life was. And in that halcyon period, there were plenty of jobs and people didn’t want to have everything but were content to have a modest house and an old car and go to church each Sunday and to have people over for afternoon tea and go on picnics taking sandwiches and lemonade and have nights playing cards with friends and to make time to help others.
Life then set about teaching me that all my dreams were just that: dreams. It callously began to take my dreams apart one by one in a slow, destructive way. It never let anything happen too quickly or too dramatically, just a gradual erosion, just enough to keep the dreams going even if they, one by one, gradually became less fanciful, less grand, less wonderful.
The things that happened to me happen to many. A marriage failed. My kids slowly drifted away succumbing one by one to the extreme pressure applied by their mother. I married again, was in seventh heaven. I would’ve liked to have had a child to replace my lost kids. Instead what I got was a unilateral abortion. I accepted the situation, tried to make the best of it. But, despite the evidence to the contrary, despite my increasing doubts, I never really lost hope that the relentless shredding of my dreams would reverse one day and the story book ending would finally come true.
And as my dreams faltered, the world began to change and it became a dog-eat-dog world where everyone had to have it all and if you couldn’t afford it you borrowed lots of money or stole it and pretended like crazy you didn’t and, Darling, aren’t you going to Austria skiing this year and, Have you seen the latest Mercedes, simply spiffy? and, We’re moving to the Harbour, on the water of course, and, We opened a bottle of Grange last night, it wasn’t bad, not as good as the last and, Darling, I’ve just had a silicon breast enhancement and face lift and I feel so, so good and men ogle me, ogle me, I get so wet, wet…
And now the world is poised on the edge of a nuclear nightmare and the Angels of Greed and Death roam the earth freely and people no longer care about each other assuming they ever did and wars spread like AIDS and the division between the rich and the poor is now a chasm and divorce has become an art form and hate thy neighbour is the new commandment and did you hear that Doris has moved in with another woman? and get yourself a financial adviser quick and make a motza and internet sex is really, really exciting and movies now show simply everything even penises and are you sure your son doesn’t need a shrink, he’s acting strangely and is your husband really molesting your kids again? and how many lovers do you have, is that all? and torture is certainly justified for heathens I think, and lock the bastards up and throw away the key, and Christ is coming again soon and we’ll get our glorious reward which we richly deserve and…
I have no dreams now...no dreams now, no dreams now...the cupboard is bare.
It holds only the grinning skeleton of reality.