The Dream Therein

Submitted into Contest #149 in response to: Start your story with the flickering of a light.... view prompt


Fiction Inspirational

“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.” - Marcus Aurelius

The light was there again, insistent as always and greenish in color as it repeatedly blinked in the far distance over the vast waves. It was just as it appeared in her dream, each and every time.

Her dream had been recurring for nearly six months, and Zoe dreamt it at least once a week but sometimes more. Despite the repetition of the dream, she didn’t know what it all meant, but it was obvious her subconscious was attempting to make her aware of something profound. Each time she dreamt the dream, she awoke in a profuse sweat, her heart pounding. Even though she was ready to jot down any fluctuations in the dream, it always identical in nature and she had yet to draw any real conclusions.

The dream began in the same way each time: she was drifting upon the open seas in a small rowboat. The real problem therein, however, was that she only had one oar with which to propel the small boat forward. The sun was brutal as it beamed overhead, threatening to zap every inch of energy from her. Still, determined, she struggled relentlessly with the single oar as she glided across the calm waters in search of land or anyone who could offer assistance. As the small boat moved forward, Zoe would glimpse a blinking green light in the far distance on the distant horizon. Joy flooded her whenever she saw the light, and as soon as it appeared, a second oar materialized in her empty hand so that she could better make her way toward it. Without a doubt, she knew the green light offered salvation from the encompassing sea. Each time, as she inched forward in the small boat, the sun's glare was so brilliant that she was unable to see what lay before her. Still, a feeling of immense joy flooded her entire being before she awoke. She was desperate to know what the green light represented and where it would lead, She hoped the blinding sun would move behind the clouds eventually to allow her to the dream's meaning.

Recently, Zoe had been debating the wisdom in resigning her job where she worked at a graphics firm so that she could pack up with meager savings and move to Italy. She felt that she could better pursue a job more relative to her degree in Fine Arts if she lived there. It was a serious move to contemplate, however, and she was hesitant to finalize it despite the fact she was young and the time was ripe for such endeavors. Was the blinking green light in her dream representative of Italy? Was the light trying to encourage her move to the distant country? She knew such a move would impact her life in so many ways, and doubt still filled her at the thought.

It was a Thursday morning as Zoe dressed for work, and she once again had awoken after having the same dream. Her mind replayed the dream’s scenario. Why was she having the same dream time after time? Was this blinking light symbolic of a new job, a potential new person or lover in her life, or even something new she was supposed to be doing? It was all rather vague, and she was unsure. Of late, the question of the dream's unknown meaning had taken firm precedence in her mind with no real conclusions drawn regarding the fruition of the reality behind it. She was so frustrated.

As Zoe headed to the nearby coffee shop, a regular ritual each morning on her way to work, she noticed how lovely the spring day was. It was already warm as the sun steadily climbed in the sky above. The azaleas, dogwoods, and camellias were in full bloom, painting a lovely picture along the city’s narrow sidewalks. Zoe neared the coffee shop and abruptly bumped into someone who was leaving the shop.

"I'm so sorry," Zoe said.

“No worries,” the young man replied despite the fact she had jostled him so hard that a large amount of his coffee had spilled onto the sidewalk.

“Can I buy you another coffee?” she asked apologetically.

The man smiled, thanking her as he assured her there was no harm and his coffee was perfectly fine. She watched as left, and made his way down the street.

Zoe entered the shop and placed her order. As she waited, her mind drifted. Was that a missed opportunity? Had he been a missed opportunity? The man she had just collided with had been attractive and pleasant enough, but how was she to know? Had she been destined to meet him amidst the sun’s shining rays and the blooming flowers this early morning? Should she have made more of an attempt to strike up a conversation? Had she missed a rare opportunity at love? Oh well, c’est la vie, she thought. If this was the case, the opportunity had passed her by as quickly as the dream came and went each time.

Much later in the day, Zoe’s boss called her in for a meeting. He wanted Zoe to head up a team that would work on a new graphics project. If she handled the account as well as he anticipated, it would ensure her of a promotion. Was this the opportunity she saw on the crest of the horizon? It was a wonderful opportunity for professional advancement and could potentially lead her toward a career geared toward her field of study. Still, she did not know if this was what the dream was referencing in its symbolism. She found herself questioning every little thing happening in her life, wondering as to it purpose and direction.

Her date later in the evening was with a neighbor named Joshua. Zoe had been looking forward to it, but it turned out to be a bit boring. While the meal at a local Italian café was excellent, the date itself was uneventful. Was she missing something? Was there supposed to be more? Was she not opening up to the potential and all the possibilities in the realm of life and love? Was she supposed to see in her date what the light represented in her dream? Was he the one? It did not feel as if this was the case, so, following her instincts instead, she ended the evening after dinner, claiming she had an early morning the next day. It wasn’t really a fib since she would be working on the new graphics project bright and early the following day.

As Zoe relaxed in a steaming bath full of aromatic lavender and chamomile later that evening, she wondered again about her recurring dream's meaning, especially the green light that was ever present in it. She sighed. The dream was more than frustrating. She found herself questioning every person and everything that happened as to their significance in relation to the dream. What was she supposed to know? What hidden person, place, or event was the dream trying to relay? She wanted to understand what hidden meaning the dream held so that she follow the path she was supposed to take.


Two weeks passed and nothing changed in the grand scheme of things for Zoe in either love or life - the dream. It was still ever present on a weekly basis, but she remained clueless. She did not run into the attractive man again at the coffee shop nor did she accidentally bump into anyone else that might be her true love. At work, she led the graphics team, completing the project that had been assigned to her, and received a commendation as well as a recommendation for higher pay in a position that included more challenging responsibilities. While immensely proud of her accomplishment, she still wondered nonstop about the truth behind her repetitive dream.

This evening, however, something was different, Zoe thought as she peered up at the beautiful evening sky. It was drawing close to midnight as she was sitting on the rooftop of her apartment building. The stars twinkled in the sky and the moon shone bright against the sky’s midnight blue. The chirping of crickets disrupted the evening’s silence along with the hum of an occasional auto as it meandered down the quiet street. The stillness of the night was beautiful, and the glass of wine she was sipping helped to relax her. The last two weeks had been hectic, propelling her toward the completion of the newly assigned project at work, but its accomplishment had not yielded as much satisfaction as she had anticipated.

Zoe leaned back in her seat, relaxing. What was different this evening? Looking at the sky, she compared the stars to the seas and the moon to the green light on the horizon. She knew that her life, like the sky, was endless in regard to possibilities. It was an interesting comparison.

Finishing the glass of wine, Zoe returned to her apartment and prepared for bed. Lulled by the relaxation induced by the wine, she drifted off to sleep with thoughts of smooth seas, twinkling stars, endless midnight skies, and blinking green lights on the faraway horizons.

Well into her slumber, Zoe awoke with a start, fully alert. Indeed, she’d had the dream again, but this time as she’d struggled to move the little boat toward the green light toward the blinding sun, the sky had miraculously cleared. As it had done so, she’d found herself looking full force into the glaring green light that was even closer than she’d thought. Surprised, she saw that the light reflected a mirrored image of herself as steadfastly rowed the little boat forward with renewed purpose and determination.

Zoe sat up and turned on the bedside lamp and sat up in bed with a dawning awareness, amazed by the new images in the recurring dream. The green light was symbolic of her own innate confidence and ability to achieve things beyond the imaginable – or as the dream represented it, beyond the far horizon. Had she been the blinking green light this entire time: strong, enduring, and full of endless possibilities? All this while, she had been looking for someone or something to manifest itself when in actuality, it all resided within her. Zoe had only to look deeper within to achieve her dreams and all for which she yearned. She realized she had placed far too many limitations upon herself for she was young, vibrant, and full of life. She should seize the horizon and pursue life to its fullest capacity. With newfound awareness, she knew beyond a doubt that she should resign her job and make the move to Italy. The time was ripe, and if she did not follow through with her dream, she was sure she would regret it.

Zoe got out of bed and went to the kitchen where she poured herself a glass of water. After returning to the bedroom, she caught her reflection in the long mirror. She paused, fully aware. Yes, she was undoubtedly sure. She was the blinking green light, the sun on the horizon was symbolic of endless possibilities that loomed ahead. The missing oar that had appeared was representative of all the ways she had underestimated her abilities; they were hidden within but would surface whenever she needed them most.

As Zoe slipped back into the comfort of bed, she realized she didn’t need any one person or any particular event to ensure she lived life to its fullest capacity. She, and she alone, was responsible for making her own dreams into a reality. She must rely upon herself and stop underestimating the potential she held. And in the meantime, if someone happened to come along that could possibly enhance her dreams, all the better, but for now, it was not necessary. Zoe smiled. She realized that the true definition of happiness and success lay within her own hands, like a piece of modeling clay waiting to be sculpted – or like two oars waiting to be used. And she knew within her heart that the opportunities that loomed on the horizon were limitless. She, and she alone, was the creator of her destiny and tomorrow was a new day in the realm of possibilities.

Zoe turned off the light, laying her head upon the soft pillow. Tomorrow would offer a new beginning. Today, new self-awareness and confidence, and tomorrow, well, who knew? Italy and her dreams loomed ahead. Life had never had more meaning, potential, or excitement for Zoe, and she could scarce wait for the dawn.

June 06, 2022 15:02

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J L Jones
21:03 Jun 16, 2022

Nice imagery, I could see myself in the boat floating around in open water. The story was also relatable. So often we look for cues and signs to help us make decisions in life but rarely know what we are looking for or what anything means making dreams a great place to assign potential answers to those questions. Well done!


Cindy Calder
02:28 Jun 17, 2022

Thanks so much for your nice commentary. I’m so glad you enjoyed my story.


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Katy B
17:38 Jun 12, 2022

This is such a cute story! The descriptions of Zoe's dream were lovely as well as the flowers outside the coffee house. It was very relatable how she kept pouncing on every little occasion to see whether it was significant to her life. Good job!


Cindy Calder
20:48 Jun 12, 2022

Thank you for the kind remarks. I’m so glad you enjoyed my story.


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