Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, jolting upright in bed as though sparkling water is coursing through my veins, and think, even if only for a moment, that I am someone else.
A tide-pool of memories sways at me, rocking me back into consciousness, and I see myself as an adult. A twentysomething. The same skinny samurai, only taller, more majestic, happy in a way that seems almost impossible.
I see wedding cakes turned cupcakes, a back-alley wedding with buttercream-colored trellises and hundreds of electric icing lights. Women are swaying in vintage ivory gowns, the men decked out in button-up shirts and low-top Converse under their dress pants. Indian samosas and spinach quiches and vegetarian tamale pies and garlic-tomato tarts are piled sky-high, dressed up almost as vibrantly as the guests are, and delicate desserts of all shapes and colors are served on pastel china plates.
I see apartment buildings that hug the ground in a city where everything reaches up to paint the sky. Spaciously small with a red brick stoop, I see a kitchen so enveloped with light that not using it even for one night seems like a terrible crime. Paper lights are strung up making it appear as though every day is as thrilling as Christmas and silkscreens and paintings and sketches and prints from all over the world line the walls. I see walks in the park, street fairs with caramel musicians throwing themselves on the bongos, restaurants that make you smell like vegetable lasagna and lavender even if you're only walking past, and subway lines that speed past leaving trails of shimmering dust.
I see a bakery painted a mosaic of colors, from pink to brown to blue to orange, with glass ice cases filled with brightly colored and sweet smelling treats. I see poetry slams inside, and teenagers with thrift store wedding dresses under houndstooth overcoats, and painters and musicians coming inside just to sit down and work, strumming out the chords to "Dancing in the Moonlight" and painting neon-colored Ganeshes. I see bento boxes on display with honey rice balls and mozzarella macaroni and cheese and eggplant tea sandwiches and sticky udon noodles inside.
I see little girls in chinese dresses and cowboy boots belting out the lyrics to "Lola". They dress themselves in plain black leotards and flowing Indian skirts, plodding around the city jumping in puddles and playing in the park and throwing themselves at museums gift shops and eating strawberry and brie croquettes at Automats. They paint and sing and dance and act all at once, wanting to be astronauts and ballerinas and veterinarians and rock stars. They run around the house in silky shimmering buttercup pajamas while mom and dad make dinner and watch All About Eve, starting heated debates over who's the better person - Margo or Eve?
I stare at my strawberry-painted feet poking out from under the covers and slowly slip back into my own sleepy body, tossing around the dreams of wedding cakes and lazy days. Rolling back down onto white jersey sheets, I think about these things and ask, "Where have I been? Am I here, in the bed, or am I someone else when I sleep? Are these really memories of yesterday," I ask, "Or are they dreams of days to come?"