There was a little store on the outskirts of the Universe. It didn’t have a sign because it had been blown away by a hurricane. The owner of the store didn’t bother to put up another sign, since every local knew that the store was selling dreams.
The store offered a tremendous choice. One could buy almost anything: huge yachts, mansions, marriages, a position of a vice president of a corporation, money, children, an interesting job, an attractive body, a victory in a contest, big cars, power, success, and a whole lot more. What you couldn’t buy were life and death: those goods could only be ordered from the head office, located in another galaxy.
Everyone who came to the store (it must be noted that there were people who never crossed its threshold: they kept dreaming their dreams at home) would inquire about the price of their dream first.
Prices varied. For example, to get a good job one had to give up stability and predictability, and had to be able to plan forward and to structure their life, believe in their own power, and let themselves work where they wanted, not where they had to.
Power was more expensive: one had to shun certain personal convictions, find a rational explanation for everything, learn to say no to others, know one’s worth (and the perceived worth had to be high enough), be able to say I and talk about oneself in spite of others’ approval or disapproval.
Some of the prices seemed weird: marriage was dirt cheap, while a happy family life cost exorbitantly much: one had to pay for it by being responsible for his or her own happiness, being able to find pleasure in life, knowing his or her desires, suppressing the urge to match others’ expectations, being able to appreciate what they’ve got, allowing themselves to be happy, realizing their own worth and importance, refusing to be a victim, and carrying a risk of losing some friends and acquaintances.
Not everyone who entered the store was ready to buy a dream immediately. Some people looked at the price, turned back, and left. Others stood there for a long time, counting their money and trying to figure out where to find more. Others started complaining that the prices were too high, asked for a discount or inquired about a sale.
Certainly, there were people who pulled out their wallet and paid full price for their dreams. They got their dreams packed in nice rustling paper. Other visitors of the store looked at the buyers with envy, rumoring that the store owner was the buyers’ friend and that they received what they dreamed of for nothing, without any effort.
People would suggest to the store owner to lower the prices so as to make the dreams more affordable to more people. He always declined to do so because in that case, their quality would drop, too.
When asked if he wasn’t afraid of going bankrupt, he shook his head and said that there would always be the brave souls who are ready to risk and change their lives, giving up on the routinely and predictable way of doing things, capable of trusting themselves, and powerful enough to pay for the realization of their dreams.
There was a note on the door, which read, “If your dream doesn’t come true, it hasn’t been paid for yet.” The note was up there for a hundred of years or so.
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds