The Ever-Changing Dream (Excerpt)

Debut - December 2017

(Excerpt from The Ever-Changing Dream)

Stand and behold things are not as they seem
As you enter the world of the ever-changing dream
Tales ever captured, summoned to be told
Lessons to be learned, mysteries unfold
A meeting of the mind, sail upon the shore
A journey to be ventured, ever filled with awe
Puzzles of amazement, one shall so discern
Rise above the fear and so you may return

Chapter One
Jesse Jobson peered out his bedroom window, gazing into the distance, yet entranced in a field of dreams. The night had worn on, but the still of the night had not kept him from seeking, nor staring, nor searching…….for that solution.
‘Tap, tap, tap’, there were three familiar knocks at his door.
“Jesse, I trust that one is sleeping, for there is school in the morning.” A gentle reminder of the day ahead from his endearing and ever-enthusiastic mother Suzie. On the contrary, his father Jimmy was of the more laidback kind, yet stern with respect to his dealings of daily life.
Somewhat timid in nature, Jesse’s days in the midst of parental guidance, were often spent either trying to please or trying to prove accomplishment. Yet in the face of daily trials and personal challenges, his journey was soon to be accompanied with valued assistance by an unfamiliar fellow.
With a new day begun, came the rising of the sun, yet Jesse lay heavy asleep. ‘Tap, tap, tap’, there were the knocks at the door.
“Jesse, I trust that you’ve showered and brushed your teeth, your breakfast awaits you at the table.”
“Hmmm, hmmm,” mumbled Jesse, still half in a daze.
“I’ll be down in a minute.”
The clock hand had turned another quarter, but there was still no sign of Jesse. He had continued to lie under his duvet, in waiting for but a dreaded time. For Jesse the school day ahead meant on-going trials with unfamiliar rivals, who sought to spoil the experiences of anyone they regarded as inferior. The majority of his classmates were of the friendly kind, yet there were also the few whose aim it was to disturb the peace of the day. Jesse was therefore in no hurry to vacate his haven and begin his journey to the school gates on time.
On this occasion there was to be no more friendly taps at the door, only amplified rage in order to hurry Jesse along. “Jesse Jobson, for the last time, GET A MOVE ON OR YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE!!!” Jesse jumped to attention at once, making a desperate dash to the bathroom to carry out a very rushed routine. The moments that followed saw Jesse scurrying down the stairway like a one-armed bandit, with one sleeve hanging loose, toast at the teeth and his tie stuffed into his trouser pocket. In all manner of disarray he followed his mother to the car, who was anxious to get going, as tardiness was not her forte.
Suzie’s royal red car was in need of repair, although several scratches later, she still deemed it to be ready and reliant. She was always fond of her ready Rebecca, but to Jesse he felt continued bouts of shame whenever he was seen by his peers in his mother’s beloved rusty car. ‘Cluck, cluck, cluck’ came the sound of the exhaust as they pulled up outside the pearly purple gates of Rodrum Academy. Jesse quickly ducked his head as he caught sight of Toby who was the ringleader of the Uptown Boys. Luckily for Jesse, he sat unnoticed by his dreaded rival.
“Okay Jesse, quick kiss on the cheek now, time for school. Aah, don’t forget later, you’re walking back home, part of your exercise routine okay.”
With Jesse now in the building and his classmates in full glare, it was now time for him to face the music. Fortunately, it was Tuesday and his first lesson of the day was music, with his favourite teacher Mr Dunsall.

“Come on in everyone, take your seats, we’ll be starting s-h-o-r-t-l-y.” Mr Dunsall who was always besotted with singing and with any musical concepts, always spoke in an illustrative manner. He would often emphasize the end of his sentences with a high pitch or burst out in song, to the delight of many of his students.

“Today, we are going to be watching a video on composition and taking notes thereafter, so I’ll need two helpers to assist with the setting up of equipment.”

The first few minutes comprised a state of calm, with attentive students tuned in to the screening. The initial calm was however to be short-lived and then came the erupting storm. Chuckles of laughter seemingly came from the left area, but then appeared to be coming from the other side. ‘Drip, drip, drip’. Drops of an unknown liquid could be seen funnelling across the floor beneath one of the chairs. Mr Dunsall peered closer to the sight. “What is the meaning of THIS!” Exclaimed Mr Dunsall with a notable high pitch at the end. He had come to realise that one of the students had secretly brought in a drink to the lesson, secretly sipping but unable to contain their laughter.

Although usually a pleasant teacher, Mr Dunsall had a specific way of imposing detentions on students whose behaviour was out of line. Like a regimental army officer, he shouted “ATTENTION”. At this point that specific word meant all pupils had to abruptly stand to their feet. It was now Mr Dunsall’s turn to proceed to point exactly to the pupil who would be designated the detention. He then pointed to Maggie, who had brought the drink to the lesson, exclaiming “DETENTION”, whilst wiggling his second finger in her direction at the same time. She knew she was his unwholesome candidate this time for a thirty minute detention of writing repeated lines. ‘I will conduct myself in an orderly manner, I will conduct myself in an orderly manner…….’

To top it off, whilst the pupils were all standing, another pupil then began to display a brief dance on periodic occasions. At one moment swaying to the side, standing still, then clicking his fingers and following on with the moonwalk. “What is the meaning of THIS!” Beckoned Mr Dunsall.

“Er sir, I forgot to give you my note from my parents.” Insisted Royson, the dancing student. He then presented a bewildered looking Mr Dunsall with a shiny note, glaring at every crease, yet crumpled with every crunch.

“Er sir, it tells you, I’ve recently been told by my doctor that I suffer with ‘danceritus’.”

Mr Dunsall appeared now to have become enflamed with fury.

“Are you being real with me? Are you having a laugh?”

“Er no sir, I’m having a dance!”

“Well you won’t mind if I take this note and run it by the headmaster later now, will you?”

After such a disturbance, it then took another several minutes before any calm could be restored and the lesson plan back on track.

“I must say students, it is such a SHAME,” said Mr Dunsall shaking his hands in the air with all emphasis.

“It is such a SHAME to have instances where just a few spoil the experience for the rest.”

Jesse’s muddled morning consisted of music, followed by English Literature, break and then PE. At least now he could look forward to his lunch hour and replenish his restless mind.

Aligned in the dinner queue, he now waited to be served after rustling through several trays before he could find a squeakily clean one.

“Well what can I get you?” said Mrs Sunders ready to serve the eager pupils.

“Triple chips, thanks!”

“Triple chips,” exclaimed Mrs Sunders. “No not today, we’ve started a new healthy eating scheme. I can give you triple carrots if you like.” Jesse shuddered his shoulders in response and then proceeded on to his next available choices.

The second half of the lunch hour, usually saw the majority of pupils scurry off into their peer groups or well known cliques. Jesse would keep the company of his best friend and loyal pal Daz. For Daz however, a great deal of his school experience included being mocked for not wearing shirts that were immaculately laundered white. They had become befriended soul mates, solely because they were both regarded as being different and somewhat inferior by other less challenged pupils. They had both seen each other through tough times and had rarely parted company throughout their school years.

Both Jesse and Daz had come from modest backgrounds and on many occasions had to ‘make-do’ with what their respectable families could provide. In retrospect although they had been the butt of other pupil’s jokes, they continued to support each other morally and emotionally.

At the other end of the school fields, amongst the crowds was Elizabeth, who stood talking among friends. She both dazzled and caught the eye of Jesse on a number of fond occasions, though not to her knowledge.

She exuded a flamboyant combination of both flair and confidence, which rather appealed to the dozens. Elizabeth was in the league of the more popular pupils since her school life began. Her prestigious father, a highly driven entrepreneur, would always be seen on his arrival to collect Elizabeth in the latest sports car. With such a life of little need, or want, their existing states seemed worlds apart.

As the lunch hour drew to a close, other pupils proceeded towards their respective classes, although not always in an orderly fashion. Jesse and Daz soon found themselves both sandwiched and squeezed between the mass of Uptown Boys.

“Oi you, can you get out of my way?” Barked Toby, in an effort to intimidate Jesse.

“I, I, can’t, I’m stuck.” Insisted Jesse.

“Well if you were any shorter, I bet I could squish you like a toad.” Implied Toby.

“Leave him alone Toby, haven’t you bothered him enough this week,” said Sid of the Uptown Boys in an effort to defend Jesse.

“Give him a break.”

“Give him a break, next thing you know you’ll be asking me to give him a ‘wafered’ chocolate bar,” said Toby.

As the mass of pupils still remained muddled, it then took a further gruelling two minutes before an approaching teacher came to separate the crowd.

“Oi Jesse……….until the next time!” Said Toby

After being rendered in a somewhat fearful state, Jesse did his best to keep his head down and ‘lay-low’. To continue his aim of avoidance at least meant that he would be out of sight from the Uptown Boys – most of the time.

At this stage of his educational as well as personal journey Jesse existed, but was not yet truly living. The majority of days were spent wishing it away, yet the majority of nights were spent wishing nightmares away. Either way he hadn’t yet found the practical solutions to the challenges he faced or how to overcome the obstacles thrown in his direction.

The journey home was fast approaching in which Jesse’s shallow breaths were accompanied with a heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach. He was now faced with indecision as to which way he should walk home, as well as which roads to steer clear of. If the Uptown Boys were heading down the high road, he would surely then take the low road.

By twenty past three the sky was clear with radiant peace, yet no inner peace resided within Jesse. In the corner of his eye he noticed the Uptown Boys heading up Turnwell Lane. After a cheerful goodbye from his best friend Daz, he stood still for a further few minutes and then proceeded down Fearson Road.

As Jesse arrived at the flowery front door he breathed a sigh of relief, to have reached the residence of territorial safety. Along with a warm greeting his mother had already laid out healthy snacks at the ready, including sliced fruit and oatmeal bites.

“How was your day honey?” Said Suzie, with a hearty hot drink held steadily in one hand.

“Honey”, answered Jesse in an unremarkable tone.

“Well okay, how was your day sugar?” Said Suzie!

“A load of salt, I guess!” Jesse declared.

“Oh poor lad, still not getting on with your teachers?”

“Yeah, I guess not.” The current response from Jesse as to the status quo was actually far from the truth. In actual fact he had got on splendidly with his teachers at school, however fitting in with a number of his peers was the issue at heart.

A good while later he scaled the stairway to his haven within the haven, to his bedroom of personal rest from the outer world. He informed his mother that he would now be spending time on his homework as well as a promise of valuable reading time.

In all fairness he did dedicate a good portion of the late afternoon to his homework assignments. As for the remainder of that time, he spent that rallying back and forth in his mind as to the ways he could overcome the indifferences he had at school. There were on-going contemplations as to how he would get through the rest of the week with having to breath the same air as the Uptown Boys, let alone the rest of his academic schooling.

The contemplation count could now be counted to two hours to be precise. After strolling down the stairs to the dinner table, he proceeded to sit down amongst his parents.

“Lamb chops or stew, take your pick my son,” said Suzie in a pleasant manner.

“Er, whichever I don’t mind.”

“Oh dear, are you still a ‘tad’ bit down in the dumps?”

“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be fine, erm, I guess I’ll have some of those tasty lamb chops with my tea,” insisted Jesse.

His strong silent father did actually contribute a sentence or two throughout the meal, yet even he was too busy contemplating the business day ahead. Although communication and father-son bonding was not yet at its highest level, they deep down have a fair bit in common. In spite of this Jesse always did his level best to get on his father’s good side. It had been nearly three years since they last went on a fishing trip together, or any trip for that matter. He longed for the substance of quality time with his father of whom he looked up to in many ways.

The family filled their evening with mugs of cocoa and quiet conversation over the latest soap dramas. “Last one upstairs is a smelly fish!” Insisted Suzie with her dry yet quirky sense of humour! She had been using that line in order to persuade Jesse to retire for bed for several years, without any intention of changing it. In many ways she still regarded Jesse as her beloved baby, of which her fondness continued to blossom as he headed further towards maturity.

Even at this stage in his life she still peered round the door of the bathroom so as to check that Jesse was brushing his teeth correctly. The brightly coloured ducks by the bath was her idea and in her mind she still retained the notion that Jesse still desired ducks..........

We look forward to The Ever-Changing Dream in bookstore worldwide.


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