In Dreams (30 Stories — 8)

In his dream, Eliyan is running.  Not from something, not in fear.  He is on a beach in the clear sunlight, the salt air in his face.  He can hear music but not well enough to know what he’s hearing.  He could stop and listen, but all he wants to do is run and run and run.

When he wakes up, he doesn’t remember the dream, doesn’t remember dreaming at all.

“You were busy last night,” Verna says.

He comes more fully awake, turns to look at her.

“And having a good time, too, from the sound of it.”

He sits up, surprised to see that she is curled up in the chair beside the bed.

“All night long,” she says, nodding.  “And then laughing.  And I mean  laughing, great, huge, body-shaking laughter.  All in some deep, whispery, old-man way, like: HUH, HUH-HUH, HUH-HUH.”

“Sorry.”  He looks at his inert legs beneath the sheet.  “Did I hurt you?”

“I’m fine,” she says and unfurls from the chair, stands and stretches.  “What were you dreaming about?”

“No idea.  I can’t remember dreaming at all.”

She gives him a sideways look.  “That’s always your answer.”  She shrugs, turns to leave the room.  “Have it your way.”

Eliyan shakes his head. He can’t understand her jealousy, her disappointment, but he recognizes them.  This is where they’ve been so many mornings — his memory gone, her disgust.  As if she thinks he’s keeping something from her, hiding his true happiness on the other side of a line she can’t cross.

He drags himself up and to the bathroom, stares at his reflection.  He is rested and exhausted at once.  And afraid.  Afraid Verna is right and, as long as he can’t remember his dreams, he’ll never cross that line, either.



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