:: previous – Snake Charm
You’ve occupied my dreams once more.
I write, hoping to see your spark in future slumbers… Although, our talks and your touch would be most pleasurable.
For now, please enjoy a retelling of my dream.
Moments ago, I was inside a university classroom resembling a drab gymnasium.
I’m situated at a long table connected to other tables and young adults using them.
It’s crowded inside, full of chatter and laughs. Scents of physical education class linger in the air.
And it seems… normal.
We’re all working on something, I think. Collaborating, perhaps.
I look around, hoping you’re here, when I spot you a few tables down from behind. You’re looking to your right, wearing your favorite silky peach blouse and smiling as you listen to the person beside you more than speaking.
But, I feel… You don’t want to be here. It’s uncomfortable because you aren’t very chatty.
I know I can change that.
Until I make the grave mistake of turning away, seeking sudden clarification on the blank assignment in my hand.
Unfortunately, my inquiry transforms into a vote of what everyone would prefer to eat when our instructor announces he’s buying.
I look for you again, remembering your favorite things, wondering what you’d like…
But your spot is empty.
And the heartache I feel from your absence carries over to my awakened state.
Luckily, I hold you in my mind. My cure for writer’s block.
Everything changes when I remember you… I sail away in an ocean of letters to another world.
And you… You’re with me, somewhere behind the clouds.
My sunlight, my inspiration.
I love you.
Return to me.
Twenty-second day of the fifth month, ‘52
. . .
There are only letters.
Letters I’ve yet to imagine.
Letters. Letters. Letters. Every hour, every minute, down to the morsel of a second. Filtered from brain to fingers. Arranged with care and precision.
Words alive on paper.
Alas, today, we are strangers.
Bitter foes absent of a remedy.
Twenty-six doors lock me out from their grace like a scorned lover whose heart I failed to mend.
They no longer wish to know me.
But they’ll return, like they always do. On my paper.
In my books.
Into countless eyes…
I turn to the doom hanging on the wall of my study: the self-imposed deadline. Tragedy. Birthed by my own lips. It haunts me, dancing behind every letter I type. Stabbing me in the back of the brain with its incessant reminder that it will come.
What a mighty enemy I’ve ushered into consciousness. The blank assignment in my dream.
I must finish or face disgrace…
Why must this block occupy me now?
“Wow! Look at this place!”
Someone yells outside.
I set my pen in the crease of my journal and look out the window.
A woman in a flowing fuchsia dress and oversized brown sunhat leaps from the passenger side of a beastly black truck parked next door.
“It’s beautiful!” She holds her hands at her heart, looking up in awe. Her long black curls drape over her bare arms. “Aw, grapefruit trees!” She exclaims, bursting with glee. “Mm, I can smell them!”
Flashes of gold light shimmer against my windows when she ascends the stairs of the wrap-around porch.
“Quiet neighborhood.” A man says, walking from the truck. His voice is deep and foreboding. “That’s good.” He approaches the home, accompanied by a realtor reading on her tablet.
“Oh, yes, it’s quite calm. Perfect for relaxing.” She taps on the tablet screen. “So, this home is two years old. It’s an old Earth mid-century modern meets farmhouse revival style. There are three floors, including the finished basement. Three and a half baths, four bedrooms. That’s three on the top floor, including the master suite. There’s also a loft up there and a den you two could use as an office since there isn’t a closet. The other bedroom is on the main floor downstairs, I believe… Oh, and the private study is on the main floor also, like you preferred…”
Her voice fades as they enter the home.
As I go to a side window to see more, the woman in fuchsia parts the dining room curtains, giving me a clear view inside.
I read her lips.
“There’s so much space!” She says.
Her arms spread out wide as she paces backwards, then spins, her eyes fixed on the high ceilings. “Everything is so nice!”
“So, what’s this one going for?” the man asks the agent.
They talk business while the gorgeous light wanders out of the dining room.
I head out to the backyard.
Just like I thought…
She dashes through the back door and hurries down the deck stairs. Her strappy sandals swing from her hand as she runs across the lush grass.
“It’s enormous back here!”
The immaculate backyard has a garden filled with full blooms of wildflowers and another section for edibles already sprouting with an assortment of herbs and vegetables.
There are fruit trees and rose bushes, a fire pit with cozy seating perfect for cool weather gatherings, and—
“Wha—? A pool!”
She runs to the pool’s edge and sticks her hand in.
The sunflower on her shoulder imitates her, diving in without worry.
“No!” she laughs. It splashes and dances in the glittering water. “You’re all wet, silly!”
It hops out and shakes itself dry in front of her. She giggles and turns to the side, blocking its splashes with her raised arm.
We lock eyes.
They’re like mine. Gray-blue and shimmering.
She smiles at me, then dashes back to the deck, leaping into the waiting man’s arms.
“Oh! I love it, Mili!”
He’s grinning and holding her close as she gazes up at him. “You loved the other house on Gun Powder Lane, too.” He says.
“No, no, forget Gun Powder. This is the one.” She beams. “129 Long Rifle Drive!”
This is the one.
. . .
From that day forward, writer’s block vanished.
Deadlines are no longer a bother.
Words pour at my command, like a turn of the faucet.
How lucky I am to receive such a gift. My muse.
I check the time. Ten on the dot.
Anticipation bubbles inside me.
“Sir?” A library page stands in my office doorway. “She’s arrived.”
“Ah, yes. Thank you.”
I close my journal and follow him out to the balcony where rich scents of sweet grapefruit rises from the atrium below. The morning sun casts a golden glow on the soft pink leaves of the fruit trees as Misa Honey emerges from beneath them, admiring their enchanting beauty in awe. She’s polished and magnificent in her peach-colored blouse and navy-blue trousers. And her curls are up… Tied back in a voluminous ponytail, flowing gracefully down her back.
Our gazes collide when I descend the staircase.
She smiles timidly, but her eyes, grayer than blue today, shine with hope.
“Good Morning, Mr. Paper.” Her voice is pleasing. So benevolent and tranquil.
She carries her diary in one hand. The other is closed at her side like she’s guarding a mystery.
“Good Morning, Misa.”
Tenderly, I take her hand in mine.
A small rock tumbles into my palm… A sky blue celestite cluster known for its calming properties. Likely to soothe her first day jitters.
Ah, she makes me smile.
I return the rock to her hand as I escort her up the stairs.
“Welcome to Black Mountain Library, my dear.”