I meet you forever, again, as if for the first time. Melting in your presence, I dream of how many times I’ve relived this moment. You are the same, the eternal turning and walking of the characters on a Greek vase or an Impressionist painting. Why can’t I follow? You hold a tender finger to my lips as you take my hand. Time can be rewound. Love can be eternal. Your faithfulness is the proof.
The sounds fill the room, those which I have not heard for a very long time. In an instant, I see him. He is reclining on his chaise in the garden, looking up at me as the record spins to a halt. The girls in white sash dresses are surrounding him, the setting sun twinkling in their eyes as they laugh and talk together. I am leaning against a wrought iron fence, pushing my torso over the top so I can get as good a glimpse as possible. Just when I was certain he had somehow forgotten me, he excuses himself from the white clad throng and ambles across the garden to the place where I stand.
At first he says nothing, but I see the recognition in his peaceful eyes. I sigh and feel the strange mix of longing and joy course through my body. My fingers fumble with the gate when suddenly he lays one of his hands on mine, stopping me.
“You cannot come in,” he says tenderly.
“Why not?” A tear starts to fall from my eyes. “I miss you.”
“I miss you, too, but this is not a place for those who are…”
I nod my head in understanding. Neither of us wanted to say the word alive.
“Have you met all of them?” My curiosity was getting the better of me.
“Oh, yes!” His eyes sparkled with joy. “My questions are answered. Only this time, unlike when I found that rare 78, I can’t share. Not yet.”
“I know,” I whispered as I held his hand, looking down for the first time at my emerald dress. They wore the spotless white of perfect peace, but I still wore the color of leaves swaying in sunshine. Until I did not belong to that world, I could not join him.
However, as I walked back the way which I had come after bidding him goodbye, I at least had the cherished assurance that I would indeed enter the gate one day.
What does it matter as long as its soft sides are caressing away the harmful truths and the thunderstorms cannot reach you anymore? Why should anyone begrudge a wink, a whisper, a quiet tune? I was literally a different person then, and my granite was not erased away. I did not see. I did not know.
But not so now. You floated in again and I glimpsed in my heart the right thing to do. Pulling out all the pink crepe paper and sugar to fly through the snow globe, I twirl with you as I always should have done. It is beautiful and if I didn’t have attachments to the outside world, I think I would stay here. I might linger in the beds, your hammocks tied to the wall so a tropical breeze can never shake them away. I’d embrace the woolen love and never let it go. I would subsist on the succulent fruits that hang from the coat trees by which you light your way. The dogs would run and you would laugh an honest, happy sound for the first time in your life. Yes, I would make my home here. With you.
But, it isn’t my bubble, after all.
As soon as I saw what was in your hand, I drew in my breath and hid behind the door. It was dark and humid, yet pleasantly fragrant in the room in which I turned the lock. It made an echo that seemed louder than the beating of my heart, and I stretched out upon the slate floor, my feet touching cool porcelain and my head pressing against a roughened wooden door. I laid in state for you, the days going by in darkness. Cushions rose up around me, cradling my form as I scratched at the bleeding scraped bumps that rose from the skin of my elbows. The little bits of rain that fell from the sky did little to comfort me as I waited. But, on a snow-crusted night, you appeared.
The water is running and my tube of grapefruit sugar smells inviting to scrub all over imperfections, flaws in skin. First my moistened fingers find the dry skin on lips, then travel to roughness of shoulders and tiny white lines as well as burning pink bumps of the springtime rash.
My black hair falls in my face as I work past the knees, brushing it out of the way is a mere formality because my fingertips serve as my eyes. It tickles my face, which is already coated in sugar crystals. I have rubbed away the pain, where the headaches have struck and insistent end upon lodging themselves into my eyes. I close the futile hazel orbs and think of the way the sugar rotates under my nails.
Climbing into the shower, the hot water melts the sugar and I am cleansed.
I’ve been thinking about the first story in my dream story collection. Without giving too much away, it centers on a girl at a boarding school who may or may not be what meets the eye. The first time I drafted it, I paid attention to only what I had experienced in my dream. But in order to meet the nano goal and to entertain readers with more than a snippet of images, I am going to expand it. My theater background comes into my creative process here as I live in this character’s skin and ask myself who she is and why she is behaving in her particular way. I have found that, similar to the stage, I must live with my characters a while before I present them to the world. The first one in my collection is promising to be a very interesting person with whom to become acquainted. I hope others will think so, too! The fun thing about dreams is the variation of personas one can take on in the course of ten stories or so.