Something jolted me awake. I had been asleep for a long time, dreaming. A sound, a memory, a fragment of a dream -- something triggered the morning.

The square was full of people wearing overcoats and exhaling mist. Pigeons poked about, watching the people. One of the pigeons saw me watching them watch the people, so they called it off. They flew away in a cloud, and my eyes followed their flight until I saw you. You were watching me from across the square.

I ducked into the underground station and headed back eastward. When I changed lines you were on the next train going north. I tried pulling the emergency stop, but it didn't work. No one seemed to notice me at all -- except for you.

That's when I realized I was still dreaming, which came as a great relief, really... So I walked over and kissed you on the mouth... It was supposed to end there but then I realized it wouldn't end until I stopped thinking about it.

We sat on the bench and watched people go by. Occasionally people would stop and sit on the other benches. They would read newspapers or talk to one another -- or watch people go by.

The benches, the square, the trees . . . The buildings that rose like dirty walls on all sides, the sky with its shifting clouds . . . Nothing seemed to be real in itself. Everything existed only as scenery, as the stage for people flowing through the square.

It took me several years to be at ease with you and speak frankly. And even then it took a long time for me to realize that other people wouldn't be listening to everything I said -- and it didn't matter if they did. Up until this time, I guess I had been suffering under the delusion that I was the only real person, and that everyone else was just trying to capture some of the reality of my life. At least I thought they were all walking near me in hopes of hearing what I had to say.

As I said, it took me several years to realize this. When I finally turned to you to express these thoughts, everyone in the crowded square simultaneously began to laugh at me. They all stopped dead in their tracks and stood laughing at me. Except for you. That's when I realized that you and I were the only ones who were really awake. Which gave me incredible power: I made them all disappear!