He dreamed of speeches he may have made, once, as a much younger and more confident man, to audiences he held in awe, of intractable dilemmas he would have resolved, in another age, perhaps another world: what he feared most was his own past. Long forgotten antagonists were reappearing, more menacing, whose names he could not remember, but he knew, how much it had cost him, then, to chase them away.
And, now, they were back, vengeful, demanding, seeking retribution, wanting him to pay for what he had imposed on them, for his treachery, and for being, now, the mere shadow of himself.
It was as if all those distant years were coming back to him, forcing him to replay, to prove, again and again, that he was still able to fend off the Enemy. Like so many tentacles from the depth, voices he did not want to hear, questions he did not want to answer, faces he had thought forever forgotten, all, were surrounding him, insisting, clamouring for his undivided attention, and perhaps, apologies. He was drowning in his own memories.
In the middle of the night he was seeking a lone friendly face, a long lost friend, but only saw the hordes of maleficent creatures from his distorted life. In the morning, grateful for the dawn, he asked himself: is this hell?
Image: The Appearance of the artist’s family via Marc Chagall, via https://artist-chagall.tumblr.com/