Why do some dreams haunt us? Why do they persist as memories for days? For years? Why can we not forget them?
I remember waking up next to her. Sunlight defusing through the curtain. The mattress indenting around her body. A slight breeze from the slowly turning ceiling fan. The warmth of her through the sheets. The soft hardness of her body against mine. The picture of us on the dresser, smiling, hugging. The slight rasp of her breathing as she slept. It felt like a perfect moment.
Then I woke up. In bed. Alone. Had she gone to the bathroom? The kitchen? I listened but couldn’t hear anything. No running water. No footsteps. No humming. She likes to hum. Then, it happened. A shift inside. A twisting, tilting, turning in my mind and she was gone but not forgotten.
Just a dream, I thought. She’s gone, I despaired. She was just a dream, I rationalized. She was my girl, I insisted, she was just here. No, I was alone. Like I always had been. Right?
I can remember life with her. I can remember life without her.
I can sleep and wake. I can not wake next to her again.
Once, I tried telling a friend. At first he didn’t understand, so I explained more. After he understood, he laughed at me and asked if she had big tits. He made jokes for a month. I laughed with him. I made jokes, too. It stopped being funny for him and he forgot about her. I didn’t. I couldn’t.
I realize she must have been just a dream. I know I should just put her out of my mind. Go on with my life. Forget her. But I can’t. I dreamed a life in which I was happy and woke up… I woke up here.
For the record, she had medium sized breasts.
Author note: This story is based on a dream I had many years ago. I never told anyone but I wrote this story instead.