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With Love


Dayna Rae

I dreamt last night that I was in the house of my childhood. I walked in through the front door, it was open, inviting me in. The lights were low in the living room. The TV was on but it was mute. No sound issued from the flicking movements of the box. I only glanced at it, for my dream-walking had a purpose. I moved around the crowed room, maneuvering between the coffee table and my mother's chair. I reached the hall and stopped. To the left of me was my bedroom but it was as when I was a child...Winnie-the-Pooh was painted on every wall as were his friends. Tears came to my eyes and my hands felt their wetness as I wiped them from my eyes. I wanted to go into that room of happiness, that wonderful room with the trees that reached to the ceiling and spilled over onto the sky-ceiling. But in my dream I had another purpose, and so I turned to the right, to my father's study.

The door was closed but I could smell the sweet incense of his cigarettes. He had always smoked a strange brand---a clove cigarette. The smell was perfume on the open air. It beckoned me forward. I put my hand on the door knob and it turned within my grasp. The door swung open. I saw the cloud of smoke around the monitor of my father's computer. I moved so that I could see if it was really him hiding there. It was. He was writing something on the screen, just as in life, he was a writer and a sculpture of words. He paused and turned toward me. He smile at me and motioned to me. I moved in close. He put his cigarette in the pottery ashtray. Still he did not speak. There was a golden silence unpunctuated only by the humming of the primitive machine and the wonderful spicy sweetness of his clove.

Finally he spoke. "Son. How have you been? Please sit." He motioned toward the bed. I sat. He swiveled his chair and looked me in the eye. There was a tinkle in his. He was waiting for my answer.

"Oh...I have been alright, I guess. I miss you...and mom. I don't have anyone now."

He laughed. "You still have us, Son. You know that."

"No, I don't. You're gone and this is just a dream." I was defiant.

"Oh, come now. I watch over you. Just yesterday you went out with that what's-her-name, didn't you?"

I felt little-bitty again. I felt myself pouting. I felt abandoned. Lonely.

"Didn't you?" He demanded an answer.

"Yes, but she said let's just be friends. You always told me that when a girl says that it's time to move on."

"I did. But I didn't use my energy to get here talk to you about her. I wanted to let you know that I hold you in my heart, son. Remember that. Now I'm going in the kitchen to get some of your mother's chicken fried steak. She always made the best."

I closed my eyes against the pain, raw, hard, cold, the strangely burning pain, of having lost them both at the same time. When I opened them again he was gone and I felt the loss a thousand times fold. I called out in anguish,
"Dad? Dad?"

He was gone. Just like that. I sat on the bed of the study knowing that I would not find him in the kitchen of this nostalgia-dream. The smell of him, sweet and spicy, lingered. I turned to look at the monitor.

He had written,

"Love from your mom and me. Dad."

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