In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream.”
Hand in hand, we walked down the street toward one of our favorite restaurants. He was particularly animated this time and seemed to have much to say. I took advantage of the time and studied him, absorbing every detail. His sun-kissed skin. The callouses on his fingers. The exact shade of brown in his eyes. His contagious smile. The warmth of his touch. He was just as real to me in that moment as he ever was.
He was in the mood to reminisce, recounting memories of things we used to do, places we used to go. I loved these visits the most. He talked a lot so I could get lost in the tone of his voice and the cadence of his speech, adding sound bites to my memory banks. He laughed a lot and seemed happy. Unlike the visits where he seemed to be trying to tell me something or comforting me through a stressful period, these memory lane visits were all about remembering. He didn’t want me to forget him. As if I ever could.
As we neared the restaurant, the scenery started to change in that wonky, disjointed way of dreams. That was the usual sign that our time together was almost over. It made me a little sad but I had learned to accept it. I pulled him into an embrace and felt his arms tighten around me. I put my lips close to his ear and whispered, telling him how much I loved him. He said it back to me and I could feel his breath and the vibration in his chest. I told him to come back and visit again soon. I held him in my arms until he was gone.
I used to wake up from those dreams crying, empty and lonely. After he died, I was angry and raw, lashing out at anyone and everyone. I was so broken back then and the dreams only made his absence harder to bear. As time moves me along to different points of my grief journey, the dreams actually bring me peace and comfort. In some capacity, they are a connection to him that I am thankful for. I realize the dreams may not be real and may in fact be, as some people believe, my subconscious creating a pretty piece of fiction for my heart. Maybe my brain is projecting him into my dreams to pacify and comfort me. But maybe it really is him. Maybe whatever dimension in which his soul now resides allows him to actually visit me in my sleep state. It certainly feels real to me and that’s all that matters.