Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
We were there for a vacation. We had been there a dozen times before and yet this was the first time. A fabulous getaway trip, where we would sleep and eat and play and shut out the world and nurture what was just ours. The house–really more of a mansion–was huge and opulent. Plenty of rooms to invite others to join us, once we were ready. But for now, just ours. That night we slept in a tangled heap while the sound of waves lapping the shore drifted through the open windows.
We woke slowly, stretching and rearranging, languidness somehow tangible and delicious.
Then–as dreams do–the scene changed, and it made sense even though it didn’t really.
I was exploring the house, wanting to see just how many rooms there were, and what they contained. You didn’t want to leave the room with the stereo, promising to be there when I came back. As I walked down the hallway I could still see you behind me, lost in manipulating the equalizer and various other knobs and panels to get the exact sound you wanted.
The dining room, late at night. A crowd I had to push through. The wine and laughter flowed freely, and I didn’t know a single person there. Nor did they know me. Panic was rising in my throat… and then I saw you. Surrounded by a small circle of admirers who hung on your every word. You were holding court. Relief flooded me as I recognized several of them… then it stopped short. She had her arm wrapped around you with her hand tucked in your pocket. As I walked towards you an envelope was thrust into my hand. Time ground to a halt as I withdrew the contents. It was an invitation to your wedding. Even within the dream I recognized the absurdity of marvelling at the engraving, wondering how far in advance these must’ve been ordered, given the quality craftsmanship.
When I was able to tear my eyes away from the crisp white rectangle in my hand, our gazes locked. You shrugged and opened your mouth to say something… but the group closed around you before I could hear what.
The house was asleep. Every bedroom filled with these people I didn’t know. I stood in the hallway, suitcase in hand, realizing I didn’t even know the address so as to call a cab. I tiptoed downstairs in the early morning light and started removing books from the shelves. All of my favorites were there; accumulated over the course of our visits until most of my library was transplanted. And it was time to take them home.
With my hand on a title I’d brought that wasn’t one I would miss terribly, I realized it was the last one I needed to pack up. I considered leaving it behind. It would give me an excuse to come back, if I wanted it. No, too obvious. I could take one of yours, instead; less overt, and if I stayed angry I could just keep it. If things changed, I could come back to return it. Scanning the shelves, I quickly located your dog-eared favorite and pulled it out. I grabbed my last book from the shelf and laid it atop yours.
Behind me, a familiar giggle pulled my every nerve taut to the point of buzzing. “Your cab’s outside. You can go, now.” I heard the footsteps retreat up the stairs and back to our–no–your room. I moved to the door in a daze. Books in one hand, suitcase in the other. I set the case down to open the door. There was the cab. Yellow checkered, even. The epitome of cabness. Practically a cartoon.
Then I realized it must be a dream. I looked down at the two books in my hand.
I put mine in my suitcase. I laid yours on the table beside the door, and stepped outside.
The door swung shut; the deafening CLICK of the lock like gunfire, jolting me from sleep.