The Dream

I had a dream.  One of those dreams where nothing is quite like it is in real life, but where it isn’t so odd that it feels completely like a dream.  I was visiting my aunt, in a house that doesn’t really exist, with a beautiful, rugged garden that also doesn’t exist, which I was admiring with her grandson, who doesn’t exist.  When it came time to go home, I had to travel through a basement that was more like a cave.  I was alone at first, walking through this dimly lit cave.  Then I passed a strange man I didn’t know.  Strange men in a dark cave are bound to make one nervous.  I had the unnerving feeling that he was following me, but that he’d disappear, hide, if I whirled around to check.  So, I reached out behind me, thinking I would bump into him if he were there.  Instead, my hand closed around a small hand, a child’s hand.  I pulled the child around in front of me, a child I hadn’t seen, hadn’t suspected was there, a child who’d been following so closely behind me as to be invisible to me.  And I knew, this was my child, my baby.  My lost one.  I knew, with complete certainty, that the others were behind me, too.  That they’d been there all along, just waiting for me to notice. The first child knew that I wanted to see them, so she disappeared, because I couldn’t reach for the others with her there.  One at a time, I could reach back and pull my children to me.  But only one at a time.  Then, somehow, my husband was with me, and all three were in our arms, for one glorious, perfect group hug.  But only for a moment.  And then I woke up.  I fought the waking.  I sobbed in the remnants of the dream, trying hard to maintain it.  I told my husband what had happened, and I cried.  I cried in a way I hadn’t cried in years, since our losses were fresh.  All the comforting cushion of time was suddenly ripped away.  My arms were empty, my babies were gone, all over again.  For days, I found myself blindly reaching behind me, grasping for little hands that weren’t there.  It was a glorious dream.  It was an awful dream.  And I’d do anything to have it again.  Sometimes, I still reach behind me…

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