My landline didn’t ring. But your name appeared on my call display.
I grappled for the grey handset. “Marcus? How are you!”
“Hi, don’t go anywhere,” you said. “I’m on my way.”
After all these years, I still recognized your voice. “What do you mean?”
“I’ll see you in awhile.”
I glanced out the window – still on the phone – and you drove up in a silver vehicle. You parked the car – illegally, since you were in the middle of a street. Minor detail. Just as I didn’t know whose house I was in. I could see your ear-to-ear smile.
I felt my heart drop. In a dream. You jogged inside, and you leaped up the wooden stairs into the foyer. You were younger. The same age you were back when we were almost an us. I ran to meet you. And you held me.
“Hi,” you said softly.
“Hi,” as I pressed my head against your chest. I felt safe. Secure. Happy. And at peace. “You’re here. You’re really here.”
“I said I’d see you soon.”
Then, the mood of the dream changed. “I need to finish something,” I said. “Then I’ll introduce you to him.”
“I’ll wait here,” and I left you in the foyer. I kept looking back at you, and we exchanged suppressed grins. I headed towards an ex – you know the one.
He and I were removing a large photo from a beige wall. A photo of what, I’m not sure. But the photo was surrounded by a thick, embossed, gold frame.
“Ready?” I asked, and he nodded. “One, two, three,” and we hoisted the photo off the wall onto a table with a tub of water. “Wait,” I said, and I carefully held my camera over the frame – snapping a photo. “Okay,” and I watched him submerge the photo.
“Come on,” I said, reaching out my hand. “I want you to meet him.”
The three of us stood in the foyer, and you shook his hand as I made the introductions. However, I introduced you as my husband. And the three of us laughed, but you and I (us) walked away from my ex, who kissed my cheek and departed the house.
You and I strolled down a long hallway with framed photos on either side. I kept saying, “I can’t believe you’re here, I can’t believe you’re here.”
“I missed you,” you said, and you grinned that shy grin. You know the one. We stopped walking, and we stared at each other, and you brushed my face and …
I woke up. I sleep with music playing, and “How Can I Fall” was playing – a fairly quiet ballad – so I doubt it woke me. I was hungry, and I scarfed down a banana and glass of milk. What I consider a sleep-aid.
And I feel asleep. And you came back. If only for a moment. I was standing in a room watching people dance. I sensed you were behind me, and – sure enough – I felt your hand on my right shoulder. Gently pulling me. I turned my head to see your lips near. I tilted towards you as our lips drew closer and closer, and then …
I woke up with my head stretching over my right shoulder, smiling like an idiot, as “We’re Here for a Good Time, Not a Long Time” played. I saw little humour in this because it took a moment to realize it’d been a dream. It almost happened. But it didn’t.
We were an “almost”, Marcus. We were almost an “us” again. We were almost the perfect couple. We were almost a reconciliation. We almost had the perfect sunset ending.
But who determines perfection? Probably people who see perfection in their dreams.
And maybe our almost was perfect.
It just wasn’t long enough.
*Names changed for privacy