In the morning, still persisting in the dozing that the hair-raising shriek of the alarm could not change into sharp wakefulness, they would dutifully tell each other about the dreams they had had that night. Head to head, caressing each other, mingling hands and feet, they tried to put into words the world they had been living in during darkness. Traveler, a friend from Oliveira’s youth, was fascinated by Talita’s dreams, her mouth, tight or smiling according to the telling, the gestures and exclamations with which she would accentuate it, her ingenuous conjectures about the reason and meaning of her dreams. Then it would be his turn to tell about his, and sometimes in the middle of a telling his hands would begin to caress and they would go from dreams to love, fall asleep again, be late everywhere they were going.
Listening to Talita, her voice a little sticky from sleep, looking at her hair spread out on the pillow, Traveler was startled that everything could be like that. He stuck out a finger, touched Talita on the temple, the forehead. (“And then my sister became my Aunt Irene, but I’m not sure”), he would test the barrier so few inches away from his own head (“And I was a boy naked in a pile of straw and I was looking at the raging river as it rose, a gigantic wave …”). They had fallen asleep with their heads touching and there, in that physical immediacy, in that almost total coincidence of attitudes, positions, breathing, the same tick-tock, the same stimuli of street and city, the same magnetic radiations, the same brand of coffee, the same stellar conjunction, the same night for both of them, tightly embraced there, they had dreamed different dreams, they had lived unlike adventures, one had smiled while the other had fled frightened by herself one had taken an exam in algebra again while the other was coming to a city built of white stone.
Talita would put pleasure or doubt into the morning retelling, but Traveler would secretly insist on looking for correspondences. How was it possible that his daytime companion would inevitably turn off into that divorce, that inadmissible solitude of the dreamer? Sometimes his image would become part of Talita’s dreams, or the image of Talita would share the horror of one of Traveler’s nightmares. But they did not know it, it was necessary for one to tell the other on awakening: “Then you grabbed me by the hand and told me …” And Traveler discovered that while in Talita’s dream he had grabbed her hand and talked to her, in his own dream he had been in bed with Talita’s best friend or had been talking with the manager of Las Estrellas circus, or swimming in the Mar del Plata. The presence of his ghost in an alien dream had reduced him to the status of a tool, with no precedence whatsoever over manikins, unknown cities, railroad stations, stairways, all the paraphernalia of nighttime reproductions. Next to Talita, wrapping up her face and head with his lips and fingers, Traveler could feel the impassable barrier, the dizzy distance that not even love could leap. For a long time he waited for a miracle, that the dream Talita was about to tell him in the morning would also be the one he had dreamed. He waited for it, incited it, provoked it, calling upon all possible analogies, looking for similarities that would bring him to a recognition. Only once, without Talita’s assigning it the least importance, did they dream analogous dreams. Talita spoke about a hotel that she and her mother had gone to where everybody had to bring his own chair. Then Traveler remembered his dream: a hotel without bathrooms, which obliged everyone to take a towel and go through a railroad station to take a bath in some imprecise place. He told her: “We almost dreamed the same dream, we were in hotels without chairs and without bathrooms.” Talita was amused and laughed, it was already time to get up, they were shamefully lazy.
Traveler kept on hoping and waiting less and less. The dreams came back, each one on its own side. Their heads would fall asleep touching each other and in each one the curtain would rise on a different stage. Traveler thought ironically that they were like those two movie theaters side by side on the Calle Lavalle, and he lost his hopes completely. He lost his faith that what he wanted could happen, and he knew that without faith it would not happen. He knew that without faith nothing that should happen would happen, and with faith almost never either.
—Chapter 143 of Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar