All day, the dream stayed with me and made it impossible for me to concentrate on my work. It had been so incredibly detailed and I had been so thoroughly alive within it, that I felt divided down the middle. Had it been real? It had had the intensity and the linear structure of reality. But clearly it had been 'only a dream'. After all, hadn't I woken up in my own bed? But it was like no other dream I had yet had, nor has the experience ever been repeated. My dream self had not been aware of my 'real' self and the ordinary life I was leading at that time. But, having awakened, I was aware of both and was trying to deal with my co-workers and clients and behave as normally as possible with two realities slugging it out in my head. Of course reality won and the dream world and the woman I had been in that world faded as the day wore on. I tried to cling to it, to snatch at its slowly unraveling threads and draw them back toward me, but they dissipated and left my hands empty.
I saw my then-boyfriend after work that night and he seemed to me like a relic from my past. I still felt affection for him, but he wasn't the one I wanted.
Every night since then, when I have lain down to sleep, I have done so hoping that I might be allowed to return and see that place and those people again. I can't see their faces clearly; that's the way memory functions. Everything is blurred and indistinct. One cannot bring photographs home from another reality.
That story had a beginning and a middle, but I couldn't stay to see the end. I wonder if I died there? Someday I'll write a book about it and chronicle the events of the months I lived through in the space of a few early morning hours. I'll have to fashion my own ending, though.
It was an awe-inspiring experience and I feel thankful to have had it. Many writers have used the "...and it was all a dream" plot device, but this really happened to me.