In the seventy-second issue of The Sandman, the wake begins. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.
Chapter Three: In Which We Wake
I can’t say I knew Dream very well.
I’ve spent the last three and a half months with him. I’ve heard countless stories concerning what he’s done since the beginning of time. I’ve been given the chance to observe his day-to-day life, to see him suffer, to see him grieve, to see him rage, to see him avenge, to see him act out tragedies, to see him give people hope, to see him doom others to an eternity of suffering, to see him go to Hell and back, to see him distort and mutate the universe simply by existing, to see him grant nightmares and awaken those from the world of the Dreaming, to gain friends and lose them, to love and fall out of love, to live.
And yet I don’t know him very well. He was distant, reserved, and cold, often choosing to brood quietly, alone, or hide his emotions behind a brick wall of stoicism. Sometimes, I believed that he didn’t have any emotions to hide.
I am crying, and I don’t know why. Throughout this journey for the past few months, I have not grown particularly close to Dream. I have grown close to his sisters and brothers. I have grown close to the people he has affected, to those he has given eternal life, to those who died because of what he has done, to the stories told in his honor. And yet I am still crying, and as I watched the cerement lowered onto his invisible body, I missed him. Yes, he is still here, and he still watches over the Dreaming, but it’s not him. It is a different him. It won’t ever be the same. And I miss what has now come to pass.
I will miss him visiting Bast. I will miss him verbally sparring with Desire. I will miss him comforting Despair and Delirium, growing close to his sisters even if he doesn’t think he is. I will miss his family, especially since I know that once I wake up from this dream, I probably won’t see them again. I will miss Delirium’s dresses, her candor, her sense of humor, her wonder. I will miss Death. I will miss her truth.
I will miss his poetic sense of justice and revenge. I will miss him overreacting. I will miss his moments of staggering wisdom distilled in a sentence. I will miss the way he changed his appearance for different people, to make his perception more palatable.
And I will miss the stories. Oh my god, the stories. They are what give me life. They give me anger and rage and happiness and wholeness and sadness and too many other things that it would be silly to list. I will miss the lord of stories.
I know that I’m waking up soon, and when I do, the events of this wake will pass through me, and I’ll only be able to recall the feeling of it. I know that when I wake, I’ll feel a bit more complete, as if a chapter has finally ended in my life, one that I’d been secretly craving for a while, now satisfied that it has gone by. But while all things must end, I know that at the very least, I can continue the story in some way. That’s what he would have wanted, right? He would want the stories to never end, to fold into one another, to find new ways of telling us that we aren’t so alone and distant after all. That’s the only real obligation I feel to his memory, which is already fading away. Keep telling stories.
I can’t say I knew Dream very well. I miss him.
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