Dreams are messy things. They take the daylight, and turn them into the surreal water colors of Monet or the darker themes of Picasso. I usually take the ride without too much damage. Lately though I’ve been having trouble determining my day from my night.
A knock on the bedroom door distracts me and I put the pen down next to my notebook.
“Gail,” said the male voice on the other side of the door. “Are you dressed? Are you ready to go?”
I’m still wrapped in my blanket, underneath I’m wearing an old ragged T-shirt. I have quit wearing nightgowns because by morning the nightgown would be wrapped up around my neck and I would shake with cold. Nothing has felt too good against my skin except cotton. I can’t endure the lycra and polyester. Even wool is too scratchy.
“I’m coming,” I say to my roommate. “David, I’m coming.”
I lost my mate so many years ago that I have forgotten what it is like to have that male energy in the house. David and I are friends. We have known each other for years and have both known the loss of mates. I was so tired of being lonely and so I agreed to having David as roommate. We shared the house and shared the cost.
If I had had a child, maybe I would have given this house to her.
I dress quickly, pulling on elastic waistband pants and another T-shirt. I rolled my hair in a bun and stuck my “murder needles” a type of hair stick securing my bun. I looked quickly in the mirror. My eyebrows disappeared into my face. I hadn’t used make-up in years and it made me look unfinished. I smeared some lotion on my face and then opened the door.
David was a small gnome of a man. He was tall enough to reach my chest. He looked up and gave me a huge smile, “Good morning, gorgeous.”
I smiled back. “So handsome, where are we going?”
Although David was the height of a child, his beard and roughened hands denied any childishness. Even so he almost skipped as we walked out the door. “It’s a surprise.”
I had had few surprises. Most of them were not fun. Today though I felt the sun warm my bones and I moved more easily than I had in years. The arthritis in my joints loosened as we walked down to the corner to a little diner. David opened the door and we found a booth.
We ate here every Sunday. I would order bacon and eggs and David would order a ham steak. I would sip my coffee and listening to the murmur of the customer’s voices. The little diner knew how to brew a good cup. I hummed as I drank.
“What is the surprise?”
“After breakfast,” said David. He grinned.
Okay, I could wait. I wasn’t the spring chicken that I used to be. But I felt a little anticipation. I hadn’t had that spark in a long time. The smells of bacon relaxed me and the dream of the morning seemed a long ways away.
I swear that I burped when I finished my breakfast. I didn’t want to leave the warmth and the food. David heaved a huge sigh and paid the check. We then left. It was so normal and so right. When my husband lay dying, he told me that I would miss this. Someone to come home to, someone to eat with, someone to talk to– I hadn’t believed him. He was right. Thinking of his death brought a tear to my eye. I dashed it away. Joy and pain.
We rambled down the sidewalk away from the diner, talking of little things that you forget. I think you call it, making memories. It wasn’t far, but I had started breathing deeply and needed to sit down when we reached the strand of trees.
“Come on,” he said. “It’s just a little farther. I haven’t seen one of these in years.”
David supported me and I got my second wind. The trees grew closer and closer and I could feel the bark, rough against my hand. I could smell peppermint and decaying leaves. I took a deep breath and continued.
The trees opened into a small clearing. The trees were tall sentinels and in the center they guarded a fairy ring. The mushrooms created a circle in the grass. I stared at the thing. A strong beam of light lit the area and I looked at David.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
He looked at me patiently. “Gail,” he said softly. “I’m taking you home.”