“Vasile,” neighbor Ion hails. “Who upset you?”
“No one,” Vasile replies reluctantly. “I had a nightmare. Two beautiful actresses were fighting my wife for the right to sleep with me in the same bed.”
“That’s a beautiful dream! Why do you call it a nightmare?”
“My wife won …”
Since birth, man dreams incessantly. Some dream only at night, others even during the day. I have always been dreaming both night and day.
In my childhood in a village in the heart of the mountains, the caravan would come once a month and play us a movie. I’d think about it for the whole month. My mother would wake me up from my daydreaming with a chore. Stop yawning, son, or flies will fly into your mouth.
As soon as I learned to read, I was desperately looking for stories. I would have read fairy tales and stories all day long. Get down to some work, because those things you’re reading won’t keep your belly full, my mother scolded. But I kept reading anyway. At school, I disliked certain subjects, such as Agriculture, Botany, Anatomy, or Chemistry. I was distracted, always thinking of the stories of Creanga, Ispirescu, or the Brothers Grimm, and, a little later, the novels of Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas, Jack London, or Victor Hugo… Those next to me considered me an incurable dreamer, often joking I was only chasing rainbows.
As an adult, I became less of a dreamer, because some dreams came true.
I don’t know what happened, but, last night, waiting for December 1, I had a strange dream. Our deforested forests had had the trees regrown, becoming secular forests. At their feet, “Codru-i frate cu românul!” signs hung on thick trees and the loggers were dancing hora in the clearings, glorifying the trees on December 1, Romania’s day.
Romanians had come all and sundry through the meadows, on the shores of the lakes and the banks of the rivers, armed with big white sacks, which were being filled to the brim with dirty PET bottles and other garbage. The army was giving them a helping hand, having had deserted the December 1 parade, only to clean up the country of garbage, to make it beautiful for the anniversary. In parliament, senators and deputies had abolished their special pensions for the sake of health and education. Also contributing were the mafia, human traffickers, corrupted at a high level, great thieves and petty thieves, and rapists with their vows of chastity. On the construction sites of the homeland, they were working non-stop to build modern schools and hospitals, nursing homes, and orphanages. The highways popped up like mushrooms after the rain. Tricolors fluttered everywhere on National Day.
It was a joy that could not have been stopped if someone hadn’t been uninspired enough to press the on button of the TV remote control. The image showed the president reviewing the ceremonial guard on the occasion of December 1, 2021, applauded by the new government formed by PNL and PSD, senior guests in parliament, and everything else needed to clear Romania’s forests on its anniversary or increase the special pensions.
In desperation, I want to shout Happy birthday, Romania, but my mouth is clenched and my lips are sealed with helplessness.
Someone whispers in my ear, grinning. If you dream that you are laughing, it means an unwanted person will visit you. If you dream that you are crying, it means the already outrageous pensions will increase again. If you dream of both, it means the new government is functional and the days numbered for the homeland on December 1, Romania’s National Day.