The memory of a ghost that would fade away, once the ash that coated her tongue had been brushed away by spearmint reality. This dream in particular felt translucent, a ripple in the water used as a mirror. Too vivid to ever be considered a moment in reality.
That’s the thing about moments. Some of them get extra time. To stretch or fold however they wish. Occasionally they have thoughts of their own.
Melody danced along the vivacious colors, stepping between them, a partner in tune with her movements. They cocooned her into a sense of comfort, lulling her further into safety. Beckoning her to stay with them if only for a few moments more.
Whispering for her to ignore the pull of her eyelids.
She skipped along the riverbeds of plush pillows.
Why would her dreams echo the voice of her sister?
“Mel. I need you to wake up.”
Urgency had crept into the tendrils of her voice. Certainly, this was meant to be a delight instead of a nightmare.
“MEL. MELODY. Wake up please…”
Melody’s amber eyes struggled against the crust that had formed around them.
She had never been a truly sound sleeper. Instead of utilizing the unrest in her bed tossing and turning, she would opt for using that time to be productive. Might as well get something out of those potentially wasted moments instead.
Her thoughts struggled to surface as she curled her toes and stretched her arms out unceremoniously. The crick in her neck indicated that she had most definitely fallen asleep on the couch again. Soft foam cradled her feet, she hadn’t even taken off her strawberry covered plush slippers.
“Saffy.” She rubbed her eyes, mind already aching for a cup of coffee. “What time is it?”
“Thank sweet gum drops you’re awake.”
Melody felt her sister hug her tightly. Shocked by the feeling, she was able to blink away the rest of the hold that her deep slumber still veraciously clung to her. How long had it been since her sister and her had a tender moment between them? Where did sweet gum drops come from? Most importantly, where was the coffee?
“Why are you… what?” Melody struggled to fold together a decent thought in the morning on the best of days.
“I thought you were never going to wake up.” Saffron pulled away from her sister to hold her by the shoulders.
Her sister was in her pajamas as well. Graphic band t-shirt from one of those bands that her sister was always claiming would get signed soon. Always knowing at least one member, a friend of a friend she would say. She dragged Melody to a few of them, but for the life of her Melody could never remember any of the names.
Something about never wake up finally struck Melody’s subconscious.
“Wait what? How long have I been asleep for?” If she had overslept for her class this morning, she would have to come up with a better lie than, I fell asleep on the couch and the crusties in my eyes kept me there.
“Who cares!” Saffron threw her hands up in the air in disbelief. “Melody look around, we are on a train! How did we even get on a train!”
“Well, if we are on a train. We most definitely still are sleeping.” Melody sat up on the bench, she could have sworn was soft as the feathers on a duck’s behind just moments ago. Now, it bit into the back of her legs making her wish that she had chosen pants instead of shorts to fall asleep in. What a strange dream indeed.
Saffron reached out for her sister again. Melody had hoped it would be for another hug, the chill in the room starting to creep towards her. Instead, her sister reached forward to pinch her.
“Ow what was that for? Fine, I’ll make the coffee. Jeez.”
“Mel, if you can feel me pinch you… what does that mean?” The eyes that still struggled to clear the fog of sleep urgently stared back at Melody. “And forget about the coffee will you?”
“Oh… OH…. OH!” The unrealistic form of reality they were now facing finally set into Mel’s subconscious as she hopped up onto her feet.
“OH WHAT?! I HATE TRAINS. HOW DID I GET ON A TRAIN?”
“THAT’S WHAT YOU GOT OUT OF ALL OF THIS!” Her sister screamed back at her, also on her feet. “I’VE BEEN TRYING TO WAKE YOU UP FOR A HALF HOUR AND ALL YOU CAN STRING TOGETHER IS THAT YOU HATE TRAINS!”
As the two started a cataclysmic argument only the bickering of sisters could produce, non-images of colors and things whizzed past the windows. Bleeding together and nondescript, as if they never wished to be held onto for too long. The two of them were so enraptured by the concept of how one of them was most definitely not getting her morning coffee, and the other upset about the factual reality of them being stuck on a train, that they hadn’t taken the time to let their surroundings sink in.
If they could stop hurdling childhood insults at one another they might have noticed the door to the next compartment had mysteriously become ajar. Pushed open by the progress they had made. If only they could actually take a moment to take a deep breath to apologize for their harsh insincerities to look around they would be able to find a way out.
“Look, I…” Melody pinched the bridge of her nose, fighting off the headache that was threatening the sides of her head. “Saffy, I’m sorry. Ok? I’m sure you’re very confused. I’m very confused. The reality of our situation is that we both woke up on a train, even though we went to bed, respectively where we should have. It’s not your fault.”
“It’s not your fault either.” Her sister added before she could finish.
Melody wanted to be angry. She wanted to be frustrated and mad. She wanted to be irate and most of all she just wanted to be caffeinated. Above everything though, she wanted her sister to be ok. Because that’s what older sisters do isn’t it?
Melody couldn’t help but look at Saffron with her arms crossed and contemplate how they got here. Not here on a train which was obviously absurd, in which Melody had no doubt she would have to get them out. But, she meant here, with this chasm between her and her sister. They had been close once, hadn’t they?
“How about we try to start from the beginning. Let’s figure this out together.” Mel would try to muddle through this insanity for her sister.
“Like, I said. I woke up here.” Saffron gestured around to the empty benches that lined the walls of the normal, or apparently normal, passenger train.
“Well, not here, here.” Saffron’s hands added character to the story. Wafting imagines to life. “I woke up in the caboose, at least I think it was the caboose. I thought it was a dream at first too you know but when I went to stumble around for the bathroom and saw you passed out on the bench… I thought you were dead. It seriously took so long for you to wake up.”
Her sister paused as if she wanted to say something more but instead she just looked at Melody, willing her to understand.
“Are you ok?” Of course, neither of them was ok.
“Yeah.” Saffron crossed her arms over her chest again. “I was just scared, I guess.”
“Ok well, now that I’m awake we can be scared together.” It was the best Melody could muster, but it seemed to do the trick.
“Now we both get to be in this nightmare. It could be worse though.” Saffron cracked a smile, dimples, and all to her sister.
“Ah, don’t you say it.” Her sister had a pension for the sarcastic.
“Could be raining.”
Just like magic, there was a crack of thunder that sounded across the compartment. What Melody could only assume was the fire sprinklers, let out a low whine before dribbling perspiration from the ceiling. The two looked up in astonishment for a moment before realizing they were about to be very cold and very wet.
“Jiminy cricket Saffy!” Melody tugged her sister toward the exit that was conveniently located closest to them.
“What! It’s not like I made it rain!”
The two made it for the door, focused on getting too caught in the water.
The urge for Saffron to make light of the situation urged her to turn to her sister once more.
“It could be worse Mel.”
“Don’t you say another word.”
Her sister did anyways.
“I’m just happy it’s you. Obviously not that we are stuck in this insane situation. But I’d rather do this with you than with anybody else.”
“Come on you dingle hopper we have to get this show on the road.”
Sometimes there are no words for the situations we get caught up in. Sometimes I love you just isn’t enough.
Mel and Saffy knew that whatever the train or the universe threw at them they would be all right. They had each other, didn’t they?