Two of my friends have a little gathering at their new house, a dilapidated trailer on the outskirts of a small city somewhere. The blue sky and dry air make it feel like a New Mexican desert. I am overwhelmed and rushed as I give my friends a hug. They are both in their underwear and dirty white t-shirts. They parade around the trailer showing me various gifts they've constructed for me out of hot dog buns and newspaper clippings. I feel grateful, but a bit jealous at the same time that they've put so much time and effort into making these gifts. I tell them I have to go. They pile hot dog buns into my arms.
I'm in a parking garage with Beckett. We are climbing up a metal ladder to get to my car. She makes it to the top of the ladder and looks down at me. I tell her to stay right where she is until I am all the way up. There is only a foot or two of space to walk on, and a steep 30 foot drop-off everywhere else. I'm afraid she's going to fall. I try to speed up, but my knee aches. I get to the top of the ladder and again tell her to stay still. She puts her foot out and moves over the edge. I watch her fall. I see her land, face-up, still smiling. I'm terrified as I make my way back down the ladder. I try not to sob. I don't want to see her hurt. I don't want there to be anything wrong with her. I choke back tears and scoop her into my arms. She's still smiling and asking me what is wrong. I hesitate to examine the back of her head for blood and broken bones. I'm too terrified of what I may find. She continues to smile. I pull her in tightly, inhaling her warmth and breath into my own. I wake up.
You're happy. Visibly so. There is an ease settled into your shoulders and a soft smile lines your face. You look healthy and svelte and handsome. You walk around my kitchen holding your new infant. Your wife, Holly, is by your side. Her eyes burn with devotion. She wears a burgundy velvet skirt, the same color as her hair. Your free arm is around her waist. I'm relieved to see you both... alive.
I think about how I look to you and whether or not I brushed my hair. I think about applying lipstick. You ask me what I've been up to lately. Have I made anything new? How's the garden? Am I still biking? I watch the questions spill from your mouth. I know whatever I say you'll be ok with. For a change. You look at your baby and chuckle.
These dreams of a sweeter you are regular. They help to resolve my ache. After you tried to kill yourself. After I searched for your body on the railroad tracks. After I called you a privileged white man. After our final words were typed to each other. After we both pressed "send."