Mendelev’s Dream CHAPTER 1: The Dossier

“Who is Mendelev?”    The question hung ominously, as the room of gaunt faces turned towards the man walking in.  Taller than the rest, he took his seat at the head of a long table. “Who is Mendelev? And how is it that I know nothing of him?”  His voice, while calm, had undertones of irritation, deeper-still were undertones of fear.

One could count to twenty in the silence that ensued. Finally, a man to the left side of the table cleared his throat to speak. “We simply do not know. He came to our attention barely one day ago, and no background or history can yet be found.”  This reply did not sit well anywhere in the windowless and monochromatic room. “Gentlemen, in today’s world one day is an eternity. Is Mendelev not a man? Has he no records? Perhaps he is a phantom. Or, even, a dream?”

Phantom or not, Mendelev’s room at this very moment was filled with the morning light, a breeze was tossing the white gauze curtains that had recently come back into fashion.  He had awakened somewhat refreshed, though still depleted after weeks of constant travel. He gazed from his bed at the pleasant-enough view, and wondered if this home would finally be his last. In the mirror, Mendelev did not see himself as a particularly mysterious character. Rather, his handsomely anonymous face was an asset of his, along with a pleasant and open personality. There were certainly times that he wished for a more distinguishable and heroic visage, or a more selfish nature, but this was not one of those moments. So, all in all, right now, Mendelev could be said to be content, weary and perhaps a bit more mysterious than he himself realized.

Are there others to mention?  Yes, there are, of course.  Anna and Feo.  Blessed with similar features but opposite demeanors, the two remained in perpetual contest with one another even in their times of secretive romance. They remained the closest things to allies to be found anywhere in Mendelev’s strange saga.

Next comes August, known and despised as Mendelev’s greatest enemy, revered by some for the same reason.  His minions that we have just met in the stark room remain, at least to me, nameless.  After August, then there are Döbereiner and Gmelin, two of the infamous German Triad that has alternately protected and threatened Mendelev.  Finally, are the various minor players in this game. Some are quite prominent people, but all are generic and interchangeable for our purposes.  They fill the expected roles, much as you and I do ourselves.

Gazing from his bed, Mendelev was grateful to have not very much on his mind. While no person’s future is ever very certain and Mendelev knew his was even less so, the present at last seemed reasonably predictable. He would have to shop for some items for his apartment and kitchen. Begin the process of putting down roots, of meeting new friends and useful tradesmen. Sorting through a list of lovers, past and future, available or not, requited, unrequited, or none of the above. A consideration of what would be presentable clothing for his only adequate budget, and whether he was up to the demands of a house pet. Mendelev was finding himself feeling sleepy again.

Most of us, having labored through periods of great exertion and minimal rest, are familiar with the state of mind that these engender. Mainly, the state consists of a pleasant sense of depersonalization, which in turn can serve to remind us just how much our conscious awareness of the world is taken up with self-observation. The sensations of the body, pavement pressing against the foot, photons impacting the retina, food dissolving in the stomach or the release of endorphins during orgasm, these are all things that must be observed to be understood or even known. In this regard, living our daily life has a distinct similarity to the watching of a film.

“Then I drifted into a dream,
from which I was soon awakened.
Into sleep.”

(To Be Continued)

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