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Part III: people and eyes can she see clearly if she keeps her eyes open all day? Her eyes must be so tired.

(i. nightmares)

The world is three weeks old, as far as I can tell. Well, at least that’s as far as I can remember today. The Doctor insists that I am mistaken, but she has yet to show any evidence to prove otherwise. Even the calendar on her wall only goes back to the beginning of this month. Still she insists that only the operation can help restore my memories, but exactly which memories she is speaking of, I’m not quite sure.

I have been thinking a lot about the forgettings I’ve told you. To be honest, I’m not sure what is real anymore. I have agreed to return to the hospital and stay with the Doctor for a time. She seems reassured that I have conceded to move here. In a way, it is quite peaceful here. I have plenty of time to write and to sleep – and to remember.

The first day I arrive, I wait patiently in the room, sitting on my hospital bed. She comes at exactly the appointed hour. "Hello," I say. She smiles a real smile, one where her eyes and her lips seem to be saying the same thing. If that is all it takes to make the Doctor happy, I wonder that ordinarily she is always frowning. I am positive I always say hello.

As I recline into my hospital bed, the Doctor looks me over as I slowly drift into a momentary sleep. One thought keeps circling in my head. It’s become obvious to me that the Doctor does not dream. That must be why she can’t remember any of the same things as I do. After all, how can she see clearly if she keeps her eyes open all day? Her eyes must be so tired.

At the end of the day, as the Doctor lays her head down to sleep, I wonder what she sees. Certainly, with her eyes finally closed, she must see as we do, Reader. Does she think to herself: what a wonderful meal I had today! what a brilliant smile I saw on that woman’s face! what a beautiful pair of eyes that child had! Or does she close her eyes completely, allowing the day to disappear totally in thoughtless sleep. What does the Doctor imagine? I wonder. And what does she remember when she wakes up?

i. nightmares
i. nightmares
I still remember the first time I woke up...The Doctor was there.

I still remember the first time I woke up. It is a very important day to the Doctor, but it is not so easy for me to relate. I will tell you about it, though, because perhaps you have had a similar experience. It must have happened three weeks ago. My eyes woke me up. They opened up to this world and they couldn’t turn back.

The Doctor was there.

"Thank goodness," she says. "All better now? It is a relief to have you with me again."

But I close my eyes, and again I am in the world of dreams. It’s not for me to tell you what I see, but I promise you it is beautiful.

A moment later, though, I wake up again. This time it is the Doctor, not my eyes, that wakes me.

"Can you blink?" she asks.

And my eyes blink – without my permission, I insist.

"Ah, you can blink! You’ll have plenty of time for sleeping later," she promises. "Why don’t you walk around a bit?"

So I stand up unsteadily and try to move. This is when I first notice the weight of it all. Reality is incredibly heavy. And I complain to the Doctor that I can’t see my thoughts anymore. When I was sleeping, my every thought came alive in a dream. My every thought became the world. Waking up is the first time I remember seeing only partly with my eyes. Still, even now, I see things so strangely.

The Doctor explains that I can blink sometimes when I don’t see things right. "When you get tired, you can sleep," she adds. But blinking isn’t the same as seeing, and sleeping isn’t the same as dreaming.

Although I can sleep, I can’t always dream. I keep waking up only hours later. I sleep awhile, but I always open my eyes to this reality. Sometimes, Reader, I even have nightmares. It was so much easier before, with eyes always closed.

Every morning now, I wake up. And the Doctor tells me as consolation that you, Reader, have the same problem, too. You also keep waking up each day, so you must understand. I will admit that this world of open eyes is novel. At first the narrowness seemed to fit, because people are narrow, and novel, too, I suppose. But I miss my dreams. How could I have understood that what had never ceased before, that a world that never hurts, could be as fragile, is as momentary as the blink of my eyes.

It must be true, then, that the first time I woke up was three weeks ago. But you, Reader, are more than three weeks old, I think. So we must have met in a dream. You remind me of something, or someone, I think. You’re like the smell of thunder on mountaintops, like wind or beauty. Is it you? or only the stench of time. Perhaps you can hold on a bit longer, and we can get a little more acquainted. Here in the hospital, I have nothing but time. I’ll tell you about people and eyes. If you like, I’ll share with you my nightmares.

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