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A Dream of You

by Kelly Peppe 6 months ago in Short Story
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It feels nice to rest my eyes.

Illustration by author

I sit at the same red light where your life ended so abruptly. Your tire marks withstand the elements and I wonder if they'll be there forever, just to remind me. The light turns green but I don't budge. It is about the same time of night you were on your way to me, there is not another car in sight from any direction. So, I sit and watch as the light changes. Green, yellow, red. Green, yellow, red. Green, yellow, red. On the third red light I proceed, tracing your tire marks with my own. I watch as my speedometer passes 10, then 20, then 40, then 60. I’m not sure what I’m doing here, I can’t even recall why I left my apartment. I just couldn’t stop thinking about you tonight.

It’s been seven months since the night I told you I was unhappy. We had been together almost a year, and you hadn’t yet expressed any kind sentiment with me. Never told me you loved me, only in response to when I said it. I didn’t want things to end for us, I just wanted some sort of reassurance, but your response left me with no other choice. Your lack of response, I should say. You just stood there looking at me, lost for words.

It’s been three months since you were on your way to me. You said you had things you needed to tell me, but things you could only tell me in person. You never had the opportunity. They said you were going 85 in a 30, too fast to slow down for a yellow light. I sat impatiently on my front steps, staring at the message that said you would be there in ten minutes. I sat for forty, crying because I really hoped something had changed in you. Hoping that the time apart had forced you to miss me, even love me.

I went inside, quietly not to wake my roommate, hating you. Wishing you had never reached out to me, just as I was beginning to get over my feelings for you. Hating myself for loving a boy who clearly didn’t value me.

I wrote back things I wish I could unsend, and then I blocked you. I never wanted you to make me feel unloved again. I’m ashamed of the things I wrote now, even though I know you never read them. I realize that someone must have read them eventually and I wonder what they must think of me.

There was a moment in our relationship where you looked at me with such adoration, I swore that you loved me. We were sitting on the overhang of your garage and I had just finished telling you an embarrassing story from my teen years. We did nothing but laugh that night, loud enough for you neighbors to stretch out their windows to hush us. We stayed there till almost three in the morning talking, regardless of the fact that I had a class at 7.

You tried teaching me how to draw that night, you were quite talented. I, however, was not. You talked to me about art school and how you felt art was the only thing you could imagine yourself doing. You told me how much you loved art and I wondered if you loved me as much as you loved it. I'd kill even for just a sliver of that. So, when you said you had things you needed to tell me, it killed me when you didn’t show. And when I found out you were dead, I think I died too. All the screaming and whaling did nothing but upset my roommate.

I slam the breaks and my head hits the steering wheel. The tires squeal and everything seems to spin. Round and round like the clock that night I waited for you. Then everything is very still. Still like the moment I was told you were gone forever. My arms dangle above my head, my face is warm and wet. My car horn blares loudly, it is deafening. But a man appears at my window, mouthing words I cannot hear. He is upside down, or maybe I am.

I look forward, there is a silhouette of a man in front of headlights. Familiar long legs walk towards the car. The man at my window yells and reaches for me. He tells me to brace myself, for what, I’m not sure. He undoes my seatbelt and I fall into oblivion. A massive black hole swallows me entirely and I am no longer on this planet. But here you are, standing in front of me smiling. A soft yellow light fames your face, making your features soft. Everything is hazy, like a dream. Like all the dreams I’ve had of you since that night. You say nothing, but take my hand in yours placing a piece of paper in my palm closing it into a tight fist, then you kiss me. Again, I'm falling, but this time backwards.

Suddenly I can feel everything at once. My eyes open, I am frantic. lights pass above and two nurses run by my side. They yell to one another, but I cannot focus on anything but the pain in my head and my hand clutched at my side. My knuckles are white and inside my fist is a crinkled piece of paper. I desperately try to lift my arms to open it but they are so heavy, it feels like I’ve been tied down.

One nurse yells at me to stay awake, but I feel that is entirely out of my control. I try to speak but any noises I make are muffled by a mask around my mouth and nose, I realize it is feeding me oxygen. I look desperately down at my hand, afraid that my eyes will close and I will never know what was inside. With all the will I have in me, I muster up the strength the lift my arm. The nurse on my right noticing my despair retrieves the paper from me, un-crinkling it from its current state. My head rolls to the side and I only see it for a moment. It is a sketch of me sitting on top of your garage, just like that night. The night I swore you loved me. The lights around me are so bright and it feels nice to rest my eyes, just for a moment. Only a moment.

Short Story

About the author

Kelly Peppe

Writer and illustrator from New York.

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