Today feels like Christmas, and I woke up crying.
I’ve never had one of those dreams when you start crying in your sleep then wake up and realize. It’s kind of puzzling, the transition to consciousness and the realization that you turned on the water works without you even knowing really. And of course, it’s hearbreaking. I sat up and continued crying, then walked through the cold house to the bathroom and brushed my teeth as I wiped my tears.
I dreamed that my little sister was dying. *knocks on wood* She was on her deathbed in the childhood room I shared with my older sister. Her eyes were closed and she breathed heavily, and she would open them only once in a while when someone entered the room or said something. When I came home, I lay down on the bed next to her. “Annalise, my love,” I whispered and caressed her cheek. Her skin was warm and smooth under the glow of the yellow light.
She opened her eyes and peered at me calmly. “Hi, N,” she said. “Hey baby,” I smiled, trying hard to hold back the tears.”I’m not leaving anymore,” I said, and she closed her eyes again.
Throughout the night, I whispered to her sweet memories we had together…the time when I pulled the gates open of a museum and dealt with the guards, or when we walked through my campus singing, had dinner together at a fancy Thai restaurant, then slung broccolli by accident on the wall. …
“What was your favorite memory, baby?” I whispered again. She didn’t answer for a while, her eyes still closed, her cheeks warm. And then, an essay was suddenly transcripted on an electronic plaque near her face. She talked about the museum mainly, but other things too. Said there were too many good times, that she loved me and coudln’t wait when she’d get better so we could go play again. The end was signed by a woman, whose job apparently was to read dying people’s thoughts when they were too weak to speak and submit them through this gadget. An ad for Cadillac was under her name.
When I finished reading, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I started crying softly but hard, and tears started spilling on my little sister’s face. My mom walked in and was surprised to see me this way, and my older sister too, who had always scoffed, said now with a half-smirk, “OK, Why are you crying?” As if telling me that we all miss her, but only I’m making a scene. I got angry then. “Because I LOVE her,” I persisted quietly, “and I can’t believe she’s leaving, and I don’t know what I’ll do without her, and I can’t believe I was gone for so long.”
“It’s OK, sweetu, you and the little girl had a different relationship than the rest of them,” said a voice in the room. It was Art. He wasn’t there, but his comforting voice rang softly with me, slowly guiding me through the calamity, just like it had through many others.
I cried more, and tears spilled on my little sister’s eyes and trickled down her nose as if they were her own. But they weren’t and she opened her eyes and shifted a little. “Ah,” she cried, lifting an arm in annoyance. Then she looked at me in the eyes, as if seeing me for the first time.
And that’s when I opened my own eyes, and puzzled to be crying, I realized I was in my bed, sweating under the soft blue covers. It was 9:30 a.m., Saturday, December 19. I sat up and looked outside the window, still crying, muffling it with a pillow. The church across the window was serene and the sky white. They say it might snow tonight.