Some dreams hit so vividly they feel like life, inexplicable as they might be. This dream from last week has stuck with me. I always wanted children, but besides my ex not exhibiting much rational judgment, I have some health difficulties that may make it troublesome. A bit of an outlier of a post, considering my content so far.
But I wonder, what dreams have stuck with you? Do you attribute meaning to them? I usually can trace the thought processes that are my brain working out problems in my sleep, if I put effort into it. My dreams have always been extremely vivid, and I’ve only recently realized that isn’t always standard. Anyhow. Sometimes the muse demands I put words to page, so here they are.
She stands, bright pink backpack pressing up against the musty brick wall as she scuffs the toe of old sneakers into the concrete. Children and parents mingle in the late afternoon hubub after school’s released, but no one has arrived for her yet. I pick her out immediately, despite the sea of other blonde heads and pale skin.
“Bye Abi!” another girl cries out midst the general clamor, rushing past to pop the back door of her own parents’ minivan and clamber inside. The girl against the wall waves, then hooks her thumb into the straps of her backpack. Matching the thumb on her other hand, she hugs the bag close behind her as she pushes the straps forward.
I stand near a close-cropped field dotted with yellow, the simple four petals of a flower poking out lazily from beneath my left foot revealing these bright blips of earthly sunshine as buttercups. A crumbling cement block, long and thin, marks the end of the parking spot before me, and I move forward to prop the toes of one foot upon it as I wait. As I watch. Fascination and longing and curiosity all tangle together with my heartbeats, and I try not to stare, even as I drink in as much information as I can.
Her hair hangs straight and loose, unlike mine, whose hair curls and lengthens according to the day’s humidity, the heat of the sun, the sweat dripping from my hairline and apparently, those unexplained days, according to the pull of the gravity’s moon. We share the same color though, that shadowed dishwater blonde, with the glints of pale honey that emerge after any time in the sunlight. The eyes that slip back and forth, wistful, are my mother’s blue, bright as they pick up the blue of her clothes.
She is mine. And yet I have never met her before.
A pang lurches up from my gut, tightening my chest, it’s crawl only halting when it reaches my throat to strangle my words and breath. How do I approach this little girl? She can’t be more than nine.
Will she want to know me?
Will she hate me?
What is she like?
From watching her interactions, she seems quiet, waiting and still against the brick wall of the school-building. Yet many of the other children are waving and calling to her as they swarm by, off to their own homes and afternoon activities.
There is a slight absence in her gaze though, and I wonder if, like me, that distance means she watches stories of her own imagination, crafting them in her mind’s eye. Or is she simply preoccupied with the things that fill a child’s life? My hopes of similarity are coloring my assumptions. I know this, even as I want so desperately to know her.
Yet as I open my eyes, wakening from that strange dream, I find only a wistfulness for a child that never was, and a name. Abigail.