Lucid White
By Jon Edwards


The snow. I wonder, how something so blindingly white, yet so dark, can fill one with such a warming happiness, yet cause the best of us to succumb to its depressing, cold, clutches. To me, snow was my dream. To others, a nightmare. A dark nightmare of white. But this desire and happiness at this point, was just a dream, waiting to be realised. Ear-full’s of dangers and warnings crept out of my family's and friend's hearts, a common one; "dreams are not always what they seem, especially when interpreted into reality". I did not care for such warnings, nor did I remotely allow them to enter my mental space, and utterly destroy my dream. My dream, which could have no wrongs, not a pessimistic thought, no need for warnings. To me, it was perfection, my dream was perfection. But as the saying had stated, my dream was altered and changed when brought into reality, not into the beautiful white snow that filled my heart with happiness, but into the other side, the side of the cold and caliginous icy reaches of the Antarctic. The side of darkness of the pure white.

Chapter 1

Deep in sleep, I can dream of what awaits me tomorrow. It's amazing the sense of reality one can grasp from the fictitiousness of dreams. The cold outside air, which exasperates the lungs when inhaled, the slight choking feeling swims around in this chilly, Antarctic air. Exhalation leaves a visual reminder of the cold, as the water vapour dissolves into wisps of nothingness.
The snow was ever so blinding, yet hard to look away, hard to keep oneself from touching. I grasped a hand full of snow, and cupped it to my mouth. One bite. Ignoring the tooth ache caused by the snows temperature, I pondered the familiar taste of salt that one would get from the sandy beaches of home.
All the senses were indulging in this new and unusual place of the Antarctic. A sound, one of remembrance, forcing me to think. That sound, so vague, yet so familiar. The more I listened, the less attracted to the scenery of the snow I became, until it became apparent. Ripped from my slumber, by the alarm that I set, I realised where I was. Rugged up by my doona, warm, and comfortable, laying spread eagled on my bed. And then, the onset of nervous, but excitement filled butterflies, brought on by what awaits me this day, filled my stomach.
Today is the day my dream is realised; I get to leave reality, and subside into the unknown depths of my imagination. I leave for Antarctica, the cold and icy, southernmost tip of the world, via a cruise ship. It is during this cruise, that my imagination will overrule my reality. I roll over, and take a quick glance at my alarm clock. 7:45 am, 45 minutes past the time the alarm was set for. At first I didn't believe it, denial crept into my head.

"No Joel, you didn't day dream for 45 minutes," a split second thought that raced through my head.

I was split into two minds, my inner self, and my outer.
The inner questioned my outer, "or did you slip into imagination for 45 minutes?"

The inner started to taunt, "go on Joel, check the time, see your mistake, if you don't look now, you may never leave your bed".

The inner conquered the outer, and I rolled back over to complete the double take, my initial reading was false, it was now 8 am, and I had to be at the cruise ship by 8:30, "record traffic time is needed," I thought, as I jumped out of bed and ran to the shower.

It’s amazing how traffic seems to go slowest when you need to be somewhere, or when you are in a rush. The onset of butterflies of nervous excitement, had quickly shifted into nervous dread, and thus brought on the nauseating thoughts of what if I don't make it in time? The dream could still be shattered.
Moving bumper to bumper in the traffic seemed to take hours; the strain was shown in my face. I looked in the mirror; the mornings rush had taken its toll. Bloodshot eyes, messy 5 o'clock shadow, yellowness of my teeth from not brushing, and let's not forget the bed hair. It wasn't just my appearance I was worried about, it was the smell.
The stale and musty scent of morning breath seemed to join in with the strong onset of body odour, yet I cared not for the distaste of others. Today was my day, no one else’s. All that mattered to me was getting onto this cruise, and as far away from the boring, repetitive, insignificant place of which I grew up.
My imagination crept up on me once more, and I could see the cruise ship, sailing off in the distance, as I watched my lifelong dream disappear over the horizon. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes, and the nervous shake that encompassed my body. My stomach churning, I felt the hot burn of acidic stomach juices climb my oesophagus and explode out of my throat, mouth and nose, leaving but a mess in the ocean, as I bent over the jetty, desperate to be on that ship.
A sudden snap and I'm back into reality, only to find the remnants of the cross section of imagination and reality. To add to the smell, there was a fresh pile of vomit, sat warm in my lap. I looked in the mirror; tears were streaming out of my blood shot eyes, adding to the collection of bodily fluids on my lap.
I was stuck behind people doing under the speed limit; my blood was set to boil. My face turned red, only to change back when I saw another person in the same position as me. Face red with anger, mouth opening and closing violently. With each word, more spit was flown from his violent mouth; the muffled words were inaudible by his windows and my own. It was then, that I looked at my situation and laughed.

And it returned, my inner, taunting my outer. "You've lost it now Joel, you have lost the plot".

My outer ignored this and continued laughing maniacally. Until I saw it, the jetty, the cruise ship still in dock, my rage induced, psychotic laugh completely stopped, as I was left in awe at the size of the ship. Karma seemed to grant me a favour for not completely indulging in my rage as the man in traffic next to me had, as there was a perfect little car park, right in front of the jetty, saved for those who would have their cars taken to storage to be kept safe. I could have asked a family member to bring me, but I couldn’t bother dealing with more warnings and lectures of staying safe. I switched off the ignition and I knew it’d be the last time I would drive my car for a while.

I tapped the steering wheel lovingly. “Fair well buddy, I’ll be back before you know it.”

Again I had been sidetracked, and I slapped myself. “Wake up Joel,” I said to myself as I watched the long line of people boarding the ship begin to shuffle slowly on board.

The butterflies had died, and left only a tired, sleepy, energy deprived rock in my stomach. Now lining up to board the cruise ship, with about fifty odd others, my mind was at peace, able to rest until my dream had broken through into reality. The line was oddly familiar to the traffic I had just travelled in. Instead of bumper to bumper, it was stomach to back.
The characters seemed to be oddly familiar, as though my morning was a play put on for my own entertainment. Another man, just like the one spewing hatred in traffic, seemed to be imminent to explode in a similar manner.
Once again, seeing another's anger, frustration and overall pessimism to the current situation they were in only made my life seem better, and ultimately made me a happier, relaxed and overall optimistic person. I even managed a sleek smile to creep upon my messy, unbathed face.
I noticed people staring at me, in both disgust and in awe. I could only wonder why I was getting such filthy, unrelenting looks. And then it occurred to me. I was the image of crazy, the epitome of insane. The physical representation of an unstable mind. Messy hair, unshaven, filthy breath, vomit-stained clothes, and to top it off, a big, fat, cheesy grin resting so noticeably upon my face. A look that screamed, I am content with being this way.

"To hell with them" I thought, unmoved by the fact that 48 of the 50 people boarding this cruise ship were staring at me with utter shock.

Had I said that out loud? It seemed only myself, and the man cursing and shouting about the time it was taking to board, whom I was staring at, were the only two not staring at the crazy, puke soaked man, waiting in line, to climb into his lifelong dream.
Fortunately, this only lasted for 10 minutes or so. The screaming man's wishes were met, we were finally moving, stepping up onto the stairs to board the cruise ship.
Luckily for me, this was a long trip, and I had booked first class.
The personal bathroom and bedroom were just what I needed at this time.
Luckily, the clothes I was currently wearing were not suitable to the freezing temperatures of the Antarctic, so they could just tossed overboard, and left behind, like the life I was living. The life which after this trip would no longer exist.