Header image by Sebastian Ballard under Creative Commons 2.0.
I come to, sitting up as slowly as I can to minimise the damage to my aching back on the pebbles of this rough shingle beach. The waves crash against my feet. Ebb, flow, ebb, flow. There’s nobody in sight and it’s all I can hear. It’s as if I was deaf or everything else had been silenced. It has the same effect either way. I’m left with nothing but my own thoughts, or what’s left of them anyway; now that I try to think about it, I don’t even remember who I am, none of my past life. Maybe there was no past life, and instead I was born to the ocean and sent out into the world as a child of the waves. There’s nothing for me under the surface now. I am to forge a new life for myself now. There’s a steep path leading back up although this beach is only about 5 metres lower than the rest of the…place. Where is this? There’s a cliff far in the distance. I don’t know whether it’s north, south, east or west. But if I face the sea, it’s far to my left, roughly. The journey there takes less time than I expected – still nobody.
Here I am with no memory, standing at the apex of new territory. This will be my first memory…my first ever memory. That sounds so strange. Wrong, even. A quick sweep in all direction shows that this…is an island. I can see the other end fairly easily from where I am. But what’s strange is that I can see a fairly large building a short walk past the beach I was revived by the sea. It looks too good to be here. It could have been my house, for all I know. I look back past the cliff again. I feel empty, that more than just my memory is missing. “So, can I take a guess that you just found yourself lying on the rocks too?”
I turn around to see a man wearing black trousers, a blue longsleeved shirt and a friendly expression. He looks like he knows a lot more about what’s happening. He seems like somebody I can trust, if only because he’s the only person I’ve seen. “Y-yes. I don’t…” “You don’t remember who you are, right? Hahaha. That’s how I came here too. In fact, that’s how we all came here.” “We? Who’s we? Do you know who I am? Do you know where I am?” He remains so carefree after I ask, hints of a light laugh in his tone still. “Sorry. I don’t have the answers to any of your questions but one. We’re all living at the Dream Café. We washed up here and found it. Not hard, it’s the only interesting thing on this island.” Is that what the building was? I ask anyway. “The Dream Café?”
His expression before he speaks tells me that he still hasn’t tired of telling new people about it. “The Dream Café…well, when you walk in, it’s like you’re dreaming. The owner smiles and tells you something you’ve never heard anywhere else. The drinks themselves are like somebody took the sky and put in a cup. It’s to die for, and that’s not even getting onto the food. The floor, walls and ceiling change with the mood of the people in there. You walk in there late at night when everyone’s nearly asleep, you’re flying through the night sky. The top floor, that is. The place goes down quite a few floors, I’ll tell you that. Haha. Actually, I’ll save the explanation. Why don’t I take you there?” I look at him with few words to say. I feel blank but I do my best to let him know that I’ll follow him there. “Oh, and before you ask, I don’t have a name yet. Not many of us do, if it’s worth anything.”
The Dream Café is, predictably, a short walk from here too. It seems just as brilliant up close, even if there’s no sign mentioning its name. This island really is small. After what feels like a few steps, we’re here. I walk through the door, chest area tensing…oh, my. It’s…it’s the sky. I’m in the sky. I can see people of varying appearances still sitting in chairs around tables arranged with the boundaries of a rectangular room, and they all look very excited indeed. The man I met at the cliff makes a short comment. “The sky only appears when a new person appears. They’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while.” I’m not sure which of these people is supposed to be the owner, but this place feels at home. One gets up from their chair, I can’t see them for the others; this person is likely the owner. As they approach, a new thought enters my head. “I’m happy with this place. This will be my new life.”