Friday, August 03, 2012
WE MEET AGAIN
We are at Silver Dollar City, close to the roller coaster. I can hear the delighted whoops of people enjoying the hit of adrenaline that comes when you think you might die. We start to hug but the air between us grows thick. We settle for a small wave.
"Been a long time," she says. I nod in agreement — we haven't seen each other in ... what? Eight years? Nine? She looks older but still ethereal. Her eyes still glow with the power of a seraph.
"Do you remember coming here?" I half-shrug, half-nod. I don't tell her the truth: that it's been impossible to stop remembering those days. So I fill the silence with lies: I'm happy, all is well. I tell her one truth: I've published another book. She tells me she read it on the plane coming here to visit her parents. She lives out east now, where life is perfect.
I know this is all a lucid dream, and I try to tell myself to stop the conversation and walk away. But my legs won't move. All at once my head fills with the memory of other dreams I once had about her — vivid nightscapes about executions and a humiliating white wedding. I feel dizzy.
"But they weren't all nightmares," she says. "We went to the Pantanal, remember? I held your hand and told you to be quiet." And now my brain goes to that sweet dream.
"How did you do that?" I ask. "How did you know what I was thinking?"
She gives me That Look. It almost feels loving. "I've always been able to do that," she says. "I always know what you're thinking."
She hands me a gift bag. "Right now you want to run away as fast as you can." She half-sings it, like Kanye. "But you can't. You want me to believe you're happy. But you're not. You never forgot me. You never got over me." She reaches over and touches my cheek. "It's alright. Just take what's in that bag and everything will be better for you."
I look inside the bag, pull out the cup of blue liquid. A big wave of gratitude and love washes onto the shoreline of my brain. She is right; she has always been right.
I meet her gaze and lift the cup in tribute. My heart finally feels full again. She smiles, leans in, awards me a gentle kiss.
"Relax," she says. "This won't hurt."