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The Dream of Once Was

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Happiness can only be obtained by the ignorant.

Entering the ward, I hurriedly found my way to the room. Upon first glance, I understood the silence of the attendants. For it was not something I would believe if told; it had to be shown. While out, my beautiful wife was strolling through her gardens as she always had, fingering the tulips, tasting the apples, breathing the air. Every breath was one with the ability to sing to the trees and touch my heart. Though, this time she did not return as she was. She had collapsed.

The reasons elude the doctor and nothing else can be done. My eyes transfixed on what was once my vision of beauty, and strength. Now had become nothing more than a humble shell of what she once was. Pale and exhausted, she still greeted me with a smile. Yesterday it would have warmed my heart to see this. If all else was lost, I could press on knowing I could one day see it again, but this smile was different. It was not like the rest, it was a true smile, one that can be only adorned by a man or woman when they are in true accepting of fate. With my vision blurring and my steps faltering I clambered to the bedside, sobbing for the first time since becoming a man. I fumbled through the sheets and grasped for her hand. Finding it, I was startled by the cold. Frightened, I clasped it with both hands as if trying to return the warmth. She reached up and touched my cheek. She gazed into my eyes with content and love. Unfaltering she said not a word but watched and smiled. As if by some sort of magic I was no longer afraid.

My hand slipped through my wife’s hair and behind her head, the other went under her knees. I lifted her up as if weightless, and carried her through gates and out to the field. I sat her down carefully leaning her upon the trunk of the once mighty oak. Next to her, my arm around her waist and her arm across my chest we sat in silence, knowing what doesn't need to be said. We watched the sun peek at noon and set at dusk. When unexpectedly she reached up and turned my head. She leaned forward and embraced me for the last time. I watched as her eyes rolled back, and her hands slipped from my face. I cried once more, hugging her as if it would bring her back. Sobbing into the nape of her neck, my heart dimmed and my soul became lost.

I did not start to live until I met her, and I do not remember life without her.

I couldn't remain. I stood up and began my walk home. Every sight reminding me of her. The road we always took to the market. The lake we swam in. I could not escape her. Wandering the streets I found myself home. I solemnly walked up the stairs; the house which once felt warm and inviting felt nothing but cold and alone. Trembling I reached out to the door and pushed it open. I could not enter. I collapsed to my knees and wept into my hands until I could hear the birds chirping. At another time it would have pleasantly awoken me from sleep alongside my love, but today it made me feel bitter. Strange how a simple bird can invoke a feeling of such loss. I had to stop it.

I reached for the nearest item and threw it at the window, shattering it and scaring off the bird. Suddenly I wanted the bird back. I miss the sound, the memory. My head spun with endless thoughts. Unable to grasp at the nothing that was there I became overwhelmed by everything. Every picture, every piece of furniture, everything slapped me in the face. She is gone. My life, my dreams shattered before me. I walked on a path of glass, but my feet were made of stone. Every step I tried to take only threatened what little sanity I had left. I had no escape from it. Finally I entered the room. A mistake at heart but a feeling of necessity compelled me. Upon opening the door her fragrance hit me like a spear into the heart. It hurt but it comforted me slightly. I walked to the bed and fell upon the mattress, falling asleep comes easy to the weary.

Many believe dreams are gateways to the soul. Mine must have been in hell.

That day we decided to go to the market. She needed some peaches to make us some cobbler so we left early to get the freshest ones available. When we got there we spent hours searching the market for nothing. Exhausted from the day, we returned home, had a pleasant dinner and went to bed just like any other day. I awoke the next morning feeling her presence beside me, I rolled over assuming she would be there, but she was not. I suddenly realized that it was just a dream and nothing more. What kind of torture is this? My own mind tearing me apart. I could not handle another dream so I did not sleep. Days went on I watched the couples outside my house. I began to hate them. I began to hate love. Why shouldn’t I? It betrayed me; it left me with out a word and attacks me when I can't fight back. When life takes your lemons, you're left with just an empty glass

I have not slept in weeks. I eat only when it becomes unbearable. I keep the curtains drawn, and the lights out. I do not like the light, it has become unwanted. My neighbors come in uninvited to check on me. I am no longer trusted to live life myself. They say its concern, I call it intrusion. But still they come and make me wash myself and change the bandages on my wrists when they got dirty. They try to comfort me, but I reply to them harshly. I like their company but I do not want it. I just want to be alone. I wanted to slip into a sleep and dream of her forever, but I did not want to wake from the sleep. That would hurt far too much. They don't understand my loss. None of them do. I know what has to be done. I know how to be happy. When all is lost and you stop looking, you are lost.

I waited until just before dawn. I used the darkness to conceal me. I do not know what I was concealed from, but it was comforting. My pack slung behind me I ran out of the city. I can finally be happy again. For the first time in a great while I was excited. The old oak was still there.... unchanged from that day. I climbed up the tree giddy as ever. I perched myself on the highest branch. I tied the knot pulling it tight. Staring at the sun as it crested the horizon I slipped from the branch. And finally fell asleep.

...I didn't dream, I could no longer dream.

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