Tuesday, April 23, 2013

THE LIGHT, THE HEAT

"You are not real," I said to her.

"Of course I am," she replied. "Just because this is a dream doesn't mean it's not real."

She got up from her seat in the restaurant, came around the table and pinched my earlobe. I jumped. "See?" she said with a satisfied smile. "If this wasn't real you wouldn't have felt a thing." She sat down in the chair next to me and began eating a rib. "Everything you're experiencing at this moment is really happening."

I shake my head. "No, it's not. This is ... what's that whole Macbeth thing? The heat-oppressed brain. That's all this is. I'm dreaming of demons."

"Thanks a lot," she pouted. "Now I'm a demon? You must really hate me."

"You know I don't."

She shrugged. "Thanks, I guess. Doesn't matter, anyway." We sit in not-uncomfortable silence for a few minutes. Outside there's music playing. I know this place. We've been here before.

"Good memories," she says, pulling the thought from my head. "Like the weird Asian-Jewish museum. Or that place with the great bacon. Those things are as real as this dream, and they belong to us. Quit running away from them."

"Nothing belongs to us anymore," I said. "Everything is ruined."

She shrugged again. "Your choice. Your loss. You don't know what the future will bring, unless you decide there's no reason to have a future." She finished her beer and stood. "I hope you decide to live."

"I miss you," I said as she walked away. She turned and looked back at me, gave me the little wave that she picked up from me.

"I know," she said. "I know."

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