It was a dream, I told myself.
She lay motionless, naked, on a concrete slab about waist high. Her eyes were shut, her makeup done, her face beautiful; perfect, but cold. Lifeless. Her entire body was exposed, except her nipples, which were oddly covered by the white tabs of a keg.
Somehow, I knew her death had been asphyxiation. Nobody told me, we were alone in this afterworld, just her and I - but somehow I knew. I kissed her, hard. It was a kiss I wish I could have given her in life. One that told her how much I loved her, how much I missed her, how I longed for the feeling of her body against mine. Now, suddenly, the opportunity for that feeling would never come. Around us was nothing but horizons. But the image of the sun setting was not of yellow and red and orange. It was black, purple, dark blue...the colors of absence, of distance, of loneliness.
Dreams have always been a quizzical entity to humans. The Italian author Cesare Merli believed that dreams were formed during sleep when bodily spirits freely circulated inside the human organism. Some believe that dreams have divine meaning, divine guidance.
Suddenly, I wanted to shake her. I wanted to remind her of all those times we woke up hand in hand, all the places we traveled together when we dreamt side by side, of the mornings spent over the oven, cooking breakfasts full of love; of the nights we spent lost in the nightlife, fearing nothing with each other arm in arm.
I wanted to make her recollect those times we'd share an energy that was unprecedented in every other part of my life. I wanted her to treasure those moments when she held my eyes, when words weren't enough, when we communicated in what must have been telepathy, when the stars aligned in our name and the skies begged us to stay close and the world cheered for our love and I had lost a part of myself because she had taken it but it was okay because she had given me some of her, too.
In the blink of this universe that has been my lifetime, dreams have come to me in many different ways. They’ve been frightening; I remember having reoccurring dreams as a child where my parents were cloned over and over again and they were in every room of my house at once, eyes red, until they all suddenly converged on me. Nothing about that dream seemed to be a wish of mine.
I missed her, and I wanted to know she missed me too. I had surrounded myself with so much love and resentment and friends and enemies and had succeeded in distracting myself from the idea of love, but it would rush back at moments when I least expected it; it would come back in a torrent that was so strong and so overwhelming that I would begin to fray.
So here I stood, over her dead body, my dream world pulsing with life, my brain firing on all cylinders, wondering how I could join her in the world she was in. She had left me in a more permanent way than ever before. I cried and pleaded, begging her body and the skies to show me life, the fiery world around me to offer forgiveness; a second chance at life, at love.
But, with her gone, lost in a world that I could not understand or relate to, it seemed unlikely she would return. How could I let go? How could I concede? It was not me to quit or to give up. If I loved her, I wouldn't ever give up. That's what I thought. That's what I knew. She wanted me to fight, her death was a deception and her distance was a test. So I took everything I had ever told myself, every moment of security in my pride, every time I said to leave the past, and I threw it all out.
I’ve had dreams of sex, dreams of death, and dreams of lost friends. Almost every person I’ve known that has left me in death has come to me in dreams. Whether we spoke or simply stared, or caught each other’s eyes in a glance through a large crowd, I have seen those friends or family we no longer consider “alive” in a state of mind that comes off as more alive than any other. Maybe death is a place where people return, the beginning of a journey into a past that may be your future – or a future that may be your past.
I followed my heart and I fought. I gave it everything I had and eventually the color came back to her skin and her eyes twitched and the hands that were limp in my hands moments ago began to grip mine, to return the hold. Her eyes opened and they were more magnificent than I remembered. She let out a gasp that only someone who had just been given the gift of life could understand. She reached up and wrapped her arms around me. I held her tight, a hug like I had never given before. It was as if all my calls for help and wishes and hopes had been answered and in this single moment all my fears and jealousies and anxieties were swept away.
And then I woke up, for it was just a dream. And I sat, now motionless, now lifeless in my own way; loveless. And I lay on my bed like she did on that concrete slab only moments ago. It was just a dream.
In the dream, the brain is in a place where its defense systems are down. What you want to see or need to see no longer matters. Images will simply come. Journeys are simply taken. Truths are simply told.