It was bedtime, and Benny was sleepy but doing his routine where he didn’t want to go to sleep yet. He wanted to ask me questions, even after a bedtime story and to get up to use the bathroom. I indulged him, like I always did. Then he asked me where dreams came from.
I began to tell him the story of how dreams were made. “One night, a smart man named Mr. James Walter Waterstone of Broadbottom, England, sat down and started thinking about a whole new concept that would change humanity forever. It didn’t have a name, but he tinkered with powders and medicines until finally he concocted the perfect formula. He called it “dreams” and he took the concoction one night and by the morning he remembered fantastic things happening to him.”
“That’s not true Daddy,” Benny said. The boy was smart, could see through these bedtime stories without trouble. “Tell me Daddy: where do dreams come from?”
“They come from inside your head,” I said. “They are sometimes about good things and sometimes about bad things. And its OK to be scared about the bad things, but you know what?”
He shrugged, like he always did at bedtime.
“The bad things aren’t real. They are only in your head.”
“But there are real bad things in this world, right Daddy?”
“Yes,” I said. “But you know what?”
“I’m going to do my best to keep anything bad from happening to you,” I lied.