I wrote this almost two years ago as the introduction to an idea I’d had for a while. I’m going to continue working on it right now and will hopefully add part two shortly (and and edited version of the below if needed). Also the title is a work in progress and due to change.
Edit: Part 2 is live here
She was dead. I know for certain because I was there alongside her as she took her last breath and faded away. Yet here she was laying next to me (as she was that night, to my left); body full of breath once more, full of life.
Was this a dream? It felt so real. Dreams don’t feel this real, or do they? Perhaps they do feel this real but when we wake up and remember them it feels obvious they weren’t. But as far as I can remember I’ve never questioned if I’m in a dream or felt this much in control, usually it’s as if I’m watching a video of myself. I test this control by clicking my fingers a few times, scratching my rear end, then making a popping noise with my mouth. I’m totally in control.
Suddenly I snap back to the situation I’m in and decide even if it is a dream I’m going to spend every second of it as I would If it were reality. I reach my arm over my wife and get in close to cuddle her, she smiles and I feel my entire being melt to a puddle in the bed. My god I’d missed that smile.
“Stop staring at me” she croaked with a voice yet to adapt to the day, eyes still closed.
“Stop being so beautiful and I will” I answered back instantly just as I used to, our little cringeworthy vomit-inducing inside joke. Only I did not think this response, I’m not sure where it came from. For a split second I had lost my control. I barely had time to think about it as she snuggled up to me and I put it down to old habits.
“What time are we going to your mums?”
“Around 6 babe” it happened again, that wasn’t me. This is more like a dream. It’s as if somebody else takes over whenever she speaks before passing me the control back. Am I able to say what I want or is this some kind of torture?
“I missed you stinky” The first words I’d uttered to my wife, at least by choice, in years and I called her stinky. At least I know I can say what I like, sometimes.
“Missed me?” She asked “We’ve only been sleeping you wally” she cuddles me tighter and my heart drops at what I think I just felt. My hand makes its way to her stomach and I feel my eyes full of tears; our little bump, she’s here too.
“What’s wrong?” She asks, alarmed and sitting up with eyes fully open now.
“I just love you so much” I can barely see for the tears. As I start to blubber like a child wronged I hug her tight. I squeeze her for all I’m worth as my tears soak her top. I can smell her, my god this smell. It’s been so long. After she died I would smell her clothes but the scent was never strong enough and only faded with time. This was the exact smell I remembered, and the strength of her scent was perfect, just as I remembered it. This had to be real, it just had to be. But even so I keep squeezing her for fear this could end at any second.
“I love you, I love you, I love you. Please don’t go” is all I can muster
“Babe calm down, did you have a bad dream? I love you too and I’m not going anywhere”
“Yes I promise. So what was the dream? How bad was it?”
“It was terrible” I tell her between sobs, thinking of the three years I’ve spent barely surviving since she died “just awful”