Anyway, enough about my life. The post today is going to be a short story showcase from me. I don't normally write short stories but now that I'm in a fiction writing class, I have to write quite a few for homework. The prompt for the following story was the word "gone." I haven't edited it, I didn't even share it in workshop (because there wasn't enough time, not because I thought it was bad or whatever), but I think it's pretty good, so that's what you guys are gonna have to read today. I mean, if you want. Or you could just look at this puppy. And these kitties.
So yeah. Here's my short story and hopefully next week I'll do a real blog post if I'm not bogged down with French homework again.
In my dreams, it is real. It only exists in the corners of my eyes and the tip of my thoughts during the day. An entire forest, reduced to wisps of leaves.
At night, it is vivid and alive. It crawls with life, with wild things. Fireflies burning out symphonies in the hot summer air, or white ermines burrowing paths through the snow. Indigo flowers burst from nothing to form chains around my hair. Rain that I can drink.
I don’t dream about it every night. I don’t think my brain has the capacity to create such real sensations so often. To create an entire world running up and down my neurons.
You dream about people a lot after they’ve gone. You can even dream about people who haven’t gone, but they might as well have. Walking ghosts can stop being ghosts when you’re asleep.
Like when Esther, my best friend, stopped talking to me, back in the seventh grade. I hadn’t known that that was a real thing people did, just stop talking to each other, until she did it. We had been growing apart a little, but not enough for her to ignore me when I spoke to her, when I yelled at her. I had dreams for weeks after that, of Esther and me idly swinging on the swings in the playground, talking about nothing during lunch. All the everythings and nothings that were forever gone.
I’m not the only one who fills up the suddenly blank spaces in my world when I’m asleep. Gabrielle told me that in high school, after she’d broken up with her boyfriend, he’d haunted her dreams for months. “I still dream about him sometimes,” she said, staring at the ground. “Just walking with me. I wish I could fall in love with someone else so he would get out of my dreams.”
I am the only one, however, who dreams about things other people have lost.
My grandmother died before I was born, and yet my first memory was of her kneading bread dough, over and over in the warm tiny kitchen that was not mine. When two-year-old me woke up, I could feel the loss stinging in my lungs, constricting every breath. I knew somehow that this strange woman was never coming back. And then I’d seen her in a photograph in my mother’s wallet.
People’s lost things clutter up my dreams. Not people, though, or living things, not a lot. It’s too much work for my head to suck the grief out of the air around us every night. I can tell when I’m dreaming about someone else’s loss- the cat lurking into the room feels sharp, like an intruder, and the caramel-warm relief I feel when I pet it is not my own. The burn in my eyes and throat when I wake up and remember, without knowing how, that the cat is dead- that burn is not mine.
The forest I dream about is not mine.
It was real, once upon a time. How someone lost a whole forest, I have no idea. I wish I knew whose head these dreams were meant to be in, so I could ask them.
When I dream about the forest, it fills me up to the brim. It fills up any holes I ever could have had torn through the fabric of my life. And when I wake up, it hurts like I’m suffocating. When I wake up, it’s cold, grey winter, no matter what season it is.
Well, thanks for reading! I'd like to remind everyone (looking at certain people) that this is a fictional short story, and while all short stories are somewhat based in reality, they are not direct copies of my life. So I don't have the power to dream about other people's stuff, nor am I mad about a friend leaving me, or a breakup, or whatever else you may be assuming.
Anyway. Sorry if I sound super grumpy. It's because I still have twenty thousand pages of French to read.
See you next week,