“It’s a beautiful day,” I muse aloud. “Couldn’t ask for better picnic weather.” The breeze floats lazily across the hillside as the sun beats down. We sit together beneath the shade tree, as we do every Sunday after church. “I know you always enjoyed the spring. It’s certainly been a beautiful one.” We sit in silence for a minute, soaking in the pure energy of the beautiful day with a smile on my face. Scientists say something about the sun and Vitamin D, but I believe the energy we receive from the sun is much purer than that; we are receiving vitality. Life force.
“I had a dream…well, a nightmare, really.” I take a deep breath before launching into my story. The fresh scent of wildflowers and the musky scent of freshly turned earth are apparent on the breeze. “We were back in the art museum, just like our first date. You were as playful as ever, and of course I wasn’t exactly being mature myself. We were back to making fun of some of the more ridiculous art, but we never forgot to appreciate the true masterpieces. We walked and walked for what seemed like ages, and I was okay with that never ending. I would’ve walked to the end of the earth with you.
“As we walked, I had this sinking feeling. I knew this wouldn’t last, between us. I barely noticed it at first, but you started to fade. It was like you were made of smoke, and you were just drifting away from me. We kept walking, and I tried to keep a tight hold on your hand. The artwork was dark and frantic. The museum started to feel oppressive, like a tomb encasing me in a memory. I looked over to you and you were a haze, like mist floating on cool morning air. Your hand slipped out of mine and I started to grasp you, trying to hold on, but there was nothing physical about you anymore. The way you looked at me was almost peaceful, like you were okay with drifting away.” I felt a tear peek its way out of my eye and drip down my face. I reached over to her to steady myself. Her gravestone is smooth and cool just like my tears, now flowing freely.
“Before I knew it, you were gone. I could hear my own screaming all over again, just like when I lost you the first time. The sound has rattled through my mind every second since you’ve been gone.” I’m shaking my head in despair at this point. The dream hurts in a way that is more true than the sun, the breeze, or the grass beneath us. “I started running all over looking for you, but of course I couldn’t find you. I’d lost you again…
“No matter where I went, I could feel your presence. I chased after it everywhere I could. The faster I ran, the faster you faded. My own mind is taunting me, preventing me from being with you even in my dreams. I was chasing after every wisp of your existence to no avail. My screams never stopped the entire time, echoing through the hole that you left in me. I was trapped in the museum without you, and I couldn’t escape my own sorrow and anguish. After a while, I couldn’t tell if I was chasing you or running from my pain. All I knew was that I needed you back.”
Despite the blazing sun, my skin feels like ice. Thinking back on that dream brings back painful emotions for more than one reason; the screams were real. They were the screams that tore through my voice the day I lost her.
Tyler completed his English Literature degree with an emphasis in Creative Writing at Lindenwood University in 2021 where he was a member of the cycling team. He’s been published previously by journals like Pulp Modern Fiction and and Rural Fiction Magazine. He works full-time as a project manager for his company, TDR Creative, which he has been running since 2018.