The other day as I was coming back home from the city everything seemed as usual. No sign of dichotomy. I was nicely seated on the bus. The evening was mild, the night just covered the streets and the lit lights shone calmly, when we suddenly stopped. I noticed buses in the queue. We were just one of those in the row going nowhere. After a few minutes sitting in a stilled bus, I decided to go out. I was in a hurry. There was no time to wait. Anxiety slowly started to spread in my stomach. Will I make it on time?, I wondered. The autumn air calmed me down a bit. Luas goes quite regularly, I must make it on time with the Luas. “Out of service”, it said on the crowded Luas that was just about to leave St. Stephen’s Green. The sign was incorrect, but its presence befriended my anxiety-threat. That Luas left, and another came. I queued to buy the ticket and soon was again seating nicely, this time on the Luas.
I set near the window and was gazing on the streets and people as the doors closed and we slid into the distance. When the tram went through a darker part of the city, the streets disappeared and all I could see were the people travelling with me, their reflection in the window. They became so near. I did not know where to look; they appeared intimately too close just being in the window next to me. The two worlds started the play of interchange, passengers as if in the looking glass intertwined with pedestrians. It was like a split reality in my window. Streetlights were playing their games of light, darkness, and shades in the corners of my eyes. Another split reality. Meantime, Luas was smoothly flowing towards my station, while my thoughts entertained the notion of split realities. They seemed to be appearing from everywhere. Somewhere people were dying or mourning, whereas somewhere else babies were being born and people were rejoicing; the most common example of a split reality. Or was it? I preferred the double reality of my window scene, for it gave a nicer impression and was inspiring. My bubble burst at the next stop. It was where I was to go out. I went out intoxicated with my thoughts. Doors closed after me. I stood there, being now on the other side of the split reality. I waited for a moment. The autumn air woke me up. The evening turned ordinary again. I went home thinking it was all just a dream. Or was I just captured by a trap of the false sobriety? Next time I am on the Luas I hope to catch the glimpses of that inspiring split reality. It must have been more than a mere reverie, a crack in my fantasy.
© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 5th November 2007)
Photo by © Iva B.