In the dream I am sitting on the edge of a pool, sand instead of tile at the bottom, feet dangling in murky water. The pool is in what is and is not a room because it has walls and a door but the walls are just parts of the land and sky pretending to be solid. I could put my hand through it and still meet plaster, if you know what I mean. There is a commotion outside the door and my brother opens it, though he wasn’t there a moment before.
“You’ve got a guest,” he says and then sees himself out as Riley catapults herself at my face, tail wagging. I can feel her tiny tongue on my skin and her teeth nipping at my ear. The texture and the saliva; my mind deceives me.
I know he’s there before I look up because with one always comes the other.
“What are you doing here?” I say like I’m over him because in my dream I think I am. But, even in my dream my heart bursts up into my throat and pulsates there, where an Adam’s apple would be.
He looks at me steady, as if we held eyes long enough they would regurgitate our past from our hearts and let us start anew.
“You told me to come back.”
So simple. That’s when I realize I’m dreaming and I wake up.
There’s something to be said for drinking too much and too often in a short span of time, say, three days. There’s less time to mull things over. Less time to let my subconscious pull me back into these murky emotional waters. More time to just do. Just be.
All these hearts hitched to me in chains. All these lives I’m not living. Marley’s ghost.
I have nothing for you but hangovers, blurry nights, and hands. Hands at the small of my back; on my shoulders; on a curve. Hands that shape wood and build. Hands. My hands, gloved, warming his ears in the bitter cold.
The end of another long night. Hands tucked up under my chin, cradling my head in what is at last a blissful, dreamless sleep.