The Dream Breaker
by Les Floyd
And again, she summoned him to her dreams.
With hands raised and fingers intertwined, taking the weight of each other on pressed palms, they kissed; behind closed eyes, a swirling euphoria.
“I missed you,” she said, breaking away and looking up. She smiled. Her arms slid tight around his back as she nestled her cheek against his chest.
He held her, placing a kiss on her scalp.
They were on the shore, as dusk settled. The sinking Sun lit mountainous grey clouds in gold and red, and they drifted across the horizon on a canvas of powder blue and swirling pink that faded to indigo overhead, then on to inky darkness and the glitter of starlight behind. It was a skyscape never seen beyond this place.
They walked in the sand, barefoot, as the lazy ocean yawned to and fro, the sigh and thump of gentle waves a slow drum roll in lament to their lost love.
She hadn’t remembered that, yet… but she would, as she always did.
At the edge of the expanse of ocean and heavens, they found a throne of rock, carved from millennia of wind and tides, and there they sat, together. She curled in to him and held him like he were priceless, her head in the nape of his neck, her face turned towards the zenith of a blood red Sun that would never set.
“Do you remember when we first met?” she said, words warmed from the heart.
“I do. You were the most beautiful woman in all the Universe. You still are. I knew from that first moment together that I’d love you for all of my days.”
She hugged him tighter.
“You didn’t believe me when I told you that. You never did,” he said.
“I believe you now.”
The screech and cackle of a flock of seagulls passing high above lifted her eyes to the flickering starlight and, puzzled, she looked again towards the setting Sun.
He whispered in her ear. “Let your mind rest. It’s not important.”
So easily, as it was when she remembered, the tension left her body and she was at peace again. Her thoughts were gone and she drank joy from the vision on the horizon, letting it frame her moment.
He looked down and gazed at the light in her eyes, and smiled for the smile on her face. It was the last time he would see it.
“We can’t see each other again,” he said, as he had to say.
She sat straight and looked at him, locking eyes, biting her lower lip and drawing it into her mouth. For a while, she just stared, watching his face.
“Don’t say that. Why?”
He stood up, lifting her with him, and took her hands again. “Because for all these moments of perfection, they have a far greater magnitude of pain in the other place.”
“I don’t understand. What ‘other place’?”
“Do you remember my funeral?”
She jerked her body away and fixed an intent glare. “No!” she protested, her voice breaking as the fog of confusion began to clear.
“That’s because you didn’t go.”
“We hadn’t seen each other for nearly a year. You didn’t want me in your life.”
A sob rose from her chest and she fell into him again, wrapping herself around him.
“I felt guilty,” she said, as she cried.
“It wasn’t your fault. I don’t think anyone could have anticipated what happened. I was as surprised as anyone.”
“But if we’d stayed together; if I’d kept you close, you wouldn’t have been there. You’d have been safe.”
“Or we’d have been there, together.”
“I don’t care. I would have been with you.”
“You didn’t love me, so why do you grieve for me?”
With a sharp exhale, she withdrew and looked at him through tearful eyes. “How can you say that?”
“Every day, you wish me back; you wish I were there, that I’d never gone; that you’d never pushed me away. And every time you dream, I come back to you.”
“Because I love you,” she said.
“And every morning when you open your eyes, the elusive sorrow of that parting claws against all your day, and you destroy yourself, over and over again, mourning a love that never lived.”
“But I loved you!” she insisted.
“Loved… emphasis on…” he said, and they fell silent for a while.
“If I had lived until I were eighty,” he supposed, “you’d never have seen me again and I’d have barely crossed your mind, except when you were walking up the vegetable aisle of a supermarket.”
A brief smile lit her sadness.
“I was just someone from your past; someone you cared about but didn’t love, and, like the others, I would have dwelled in vague and dusty memory. But when you heard what happened, you let it crush you. You tried to bring me back and held those memories so tightly that they became as dense as diamonds, cutting your hands as you clenched them.”
“You’re alive, with me, now – here and now,” she said. “Isn’t that where you always told me was the most important place to be?”
“You are in love with your memories, not me. If I'd have lived, you’d have held on to all the things that made you push me away. It’s time to let them all go; to forget me.”
She balled her fists and softly pounded at his chest, tears dripping down her face again. “I don’t want to let you go. I don’t want to forget you.”
“But you must…”
“Why?” she cried. “Why must I? Why do you keep coming back to me if you’re not in love with me? Why would you end this for us?”
“Because I love you. I loved you to my dying day. In my dying breath I called for you… and then on, here, eternal, I love you… and this agony has to end.”
In her grief, the stars twisted in the sky and fell like jewels, slapping the sand as an angry wave thumped and rushed the shoreline, spray whipped up from a following squall.
Putting his hands on her shoulders and looking at her one last time, he said, “Wake up.”
Resigned, she closed her eyes and held him.
A great wave swept in, impossibly high and fierce, and under its pounding weight the dream was broken.
And so she awoke, compelled to rise from her bed and, without knowing what, she sensed that something was different – something good.
She had no memory of the flash in his blue eyes, his grin, the smell of him, the timbre in his voice, the sound of his laughter, the warmth and protection she once felt from his arms, and she breathed deeply and smiled, standing at her bedroom window, gazing out over the patchwork fields, bathed in joy from the early morning Sunlight.
He was gone. The path they once walked had been brushed away, to be forgotten, almost forever, until the moment that all trails converge.
Peace bubbled up from the unblocked spring inside her.
It was a new day and true love approached.