Saturday morning I woke up with a lump in my throat. I woke to sunlight streaming in through white plantation blinds and crusted sleep in my eyes. I sat elbows resting on my knees, fingers pushing at the hair in my face, swallowing, and swallowing again, the lump as stubborn as I was. The quickly fading dream took the ache in my chest with it and began to subside the lingering emotions.
“Are you hungry?” his deep voice interrupted my quiet.
I looked up and saw him standing in the doorway, tall, bed-headed, and for a moment my mouth opened to tell him about the dream I had just had. The dream that kept my voice from forming words, but instead, I simply shook my head. The sound of his steps retreating on the wooden floor echoed and I sighed in relief.
My cat, Drew, meowed as I walked past her and the tangled gold comforter on the floor. In the bathroom I locked the door, stood hands braced on the cold porcelain, and exhaled, long, from the depths of belly. Three years later and the dreams still came, some good, some bad, today’s had been good, but still a punch in the stomach that never managed to make the guilt completely disappear.
I took a deep breath and let my mind relive the dream again, before I would have to shove it down inside myself with the rest of them. I sat at dinner with friends laughing as my phone rang. When I looked at the display screen it simply said, “Ita”. I swallowed deeply and answered.
“Como esta la chavala?” her voiced crackled with laughter.
“Who is this? It can’t be you Ita, you’re dead,” I looked around as panic welled up inside, threatening to drown me. My friends at the dinner table kept talking and laughing as I looked around, and the colors began to blend together.
“No mas te quiere dicir Prieta, que te quiero mucho, eh?”
“Ita? Ita is it you? How is this you?”
I woke up seconds later. Now I just stood in the bathroom tears quietly dropping from my cheeks into the sink as I willed my memory not to forget.