It’s only just a dream.
But it’s the kind of dream you can’t shake, not so much for the images they reveal, but for the emotions they evoke. The emotions that seem so all-consuming, so powerful, so full, so…
I dream of him, though I don’t know who he is, and yet he doesn’t change — it’s the same presence, the same calm demeanor, the same quiet confidence. He doesn’t change, but maybe I do…
It’s a dream. I can’t quite tell.
But the feelings…The feelings always remain the same.
Knowing that this is something…or maybe it will be.
Knowing him…Though I don’t know him.
Knowing that this exists, that it’s real, that it’s lasting…
Until I awaken.
Until once again, it’s only a dream.
But maybe if a dream is a wish, then this is my wish in my secret heart of hearts. What does the dream mean, when you strip it to its core? And what are you left with when the alarm rings under the greying guise of dawn?
And how do you awaken to emptiness and loneliness after fullness and happiness — how do you anticipate without being certain that you should anticipate, without being certain that love can exist like that, so true, so inspiring, so breathtaking, so full?
Maybe if there’s one feeling to hold onto, one feeling to remember…it’s hope.
We’re on a beach, surrounded by sun and sand and friends, on a sun-kissed afternoon that’s srpinkling the ocean with light as it turns to dusk. He takes my hand and leads me inside a beach house where dozens of handmade greeting cards are standing upright on a long dining room table. I read them all — notes from friends and family. Some funny, some tearful, but all fill my heart.
And then, his. A simple white cardstock folded over. I reach over, pick it up, and flip the top open. It’s empty. I turn to him. He’s smiling, and suddenly I’m smiling.
I’m waiting. Not now, not yet; maybe it’s not time and maybe it never will be…But see how love exists in all of its forms, see how you’re loved as you are now?
We’re making polite conversation at our first introduction in an empty cafe. His eyes hold charm and confidence, his smile shy and uncertain. Genuine. I know him, though I don’t know him, and it’s the one thought that silently echoes as we fall into easy banter: this is something.
The setting changes — a glitz-and-glam party where I don’t belong, wondering if we belong. Questioning, wondering. Worrying. I’m standing on the beach alone, shouts of a volleyball game coasting on the air, waves rushing to meet my bare feet before pulling away again. Then, he’s there, reaching out to hold me, pressing a kiss against my hair, his own eyes shining with tears and reminding me of the way the light reflects on the water. Neither of us want to let go.
We don’t have to.
I’m all alone, and then I’m not alone. And maybe that’s what changes everything.
I don’t belong. But we belong to each other, and maybe that’s what matters.
I’m lying in the grass on a sunny day, the world bursting with its color. I’m looking up at a house — his house — that now stands empty in his absence. I know he didn’t want to leave, though he’s not there; I know he’s gone, though we never said goodbye. I try to pass the time and continue on — work and friends and a secret-government spy training session that my waking mind can’t figure out — but his absence fills me. And through everything, there is the simple, heartbroken knowledge that he’s not here.
The warmth of the sun and the softness of the grass beneath me sends me to sleep. When I awaken, the sun is higher in the sky and someone is near. I blink against the brightness, trying to clear my vision, and then, he’s there. I throw my arms around him; he holds on. And I know this now…he’s here now.
I wake up and the feelings remain. For a little while at least…
For a little while, there’s wonder again. For a little while there’s hope.
But forever, I’ll believe
that love exists in more than dreams.