A Most Vivid Dream

I have had the most vivid and unusual dream that I feel compelled to note it down for posterity. Or for future self-introspection. It’s too long to write in my notebook and I feel more comfortable typing it out anyways.

In the dream I was at a birthday party of a friend of mine. It had gone particularly wrong - I was the organizer and I had arranged for logistics to cater for two children. The mother is the subject of the celebration. And she was upset at me because I had forgotten her third child. In reality, she has only two children.

Back to the dream - my friend was upset at me and she had to go fetch her third, infant child. Upon bringing the third child into the party, the infant spoke to me, and referred to himself as a different name. This was obviously shocking - infants don’t speak! What was more shocking was that he referred to himself as Francesco Melzi. And he bore bad news for me: our friend, Leonardo has passed away.

Somehow this weighted very very heavily on me. I felt an emotional weight I had not felt in a long time - a very heavy sense of loss, as if a close friend had passed. Worse, infant-Francesco-in-disguise tasked me to inform several others of this news: Most were women, but one name, and one memory stood out - Lisa del Giocondo.

Lisa in my dream, had not the famous face of her 24-year-old self that had been twice immortalized. Rather, she was a middle-aged lady, her cheeks slightly sagging and puffier. No mysterious smile. When I had found her, she was reading a book of numbers - accounts I presume - in a very quiet dark cloth shop with two pre-pubescent children running around the shop (in reality, she had five children). But what struck me was her response that made me remember it all the way to my awakening hours.

Leonardo had been comissioned to paint her portrait more than a decade ago. And when in my dream I had to deliver her the bad news, her response was exactly that of mine were you to tell me that some distant relative of yours has passed away. There was a level of indifference that was there. She understood that she will not be getting her portrait, remarking offhandedly that it was rather her husband that would be “rather displeasured by the news”. But it wasn’t shattering to her world. This was dissonant to the emotional weight I had been feeling since hearing the news. Hence I remembered it well.

I usually remember my dreams. But this is one that has been amongst the most vivid, and one that left me awake with a burdened emotional state. This is weird.

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