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Left Hand, Write Hand

by T. Strange 2 years ago in literature
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What is it worth?

I had that dream again. You know the one.

In the dream, I’m standing in the middle of a large, empty room. There’s nothing in it but a black lacquer table that’s lit from above, as though by a spotlight. On the table are two things: a small black notebook and a stack of thousand-dollar bills. Twenty of them. Every time. I know because I’ve counted. Over and over.

I don’t have the dream every night, or even every week, but I’ve been in that room often enough that it’s as familiar to me as my apartment—and about as large.

I once knew a man whose parents dangled two instruments over his cradle when he was an baby. He reached up with his chubby infant fist and chose the violin, so that was what he was destined to play—and he played beautifully.

Mine is a similar choice, only more prosaic.

My choice has played out time after time, letting me follow every path I can think of. I’ve tried everything.

Sometimes I get greedy and impatient and I try to touch both the money and the notebook at the same time and I’m left with nothing as they both crumble to dust.

Some nights I’m too indecisive. I just circle and circle the table, taking in every detail. The way the edges of the bills line up perfectly, neat and crisp and square. The way the sourceless light catches the subtle texture of the notebook’s black leather cover, the crisp white of the pages. If I spend enough time there, I notice the mother of pearl set in the side of the table in intricate patterns that are full of rich meaning until my alarm clock goes off, blasting the answers they hold out of my mind.

When I go to bed hungry or I fall asleep crying because I’m not sure how I’ll pay my bills, there’s no question—I choose the money. It’s never the full twenty thousand dollars, but the next day I always find a twenty-dollar bill in the pocket of an old coat, or a ten while I’m taking a shortcut through a park. Once it was a hundred-dollar bill and I used it to buy one of the notebooks from my dream. It seemed nicely circular.

Once, and only once, I refused the choice. I slammed my palms down on the bare table on either side of the choices and I was instantly awake, with the memory of the cool, smooth wood still shivering in my fingertips as though I had actually been touching it just a moment before.

On the best nights, though, I reach out without hesitation. I touch the notebook and I’m left with worlds spiralling up inside of me. I see all that I have written and all that I will write, and sometimes I’m lucky enough to carry a little of that back with me to the waking world.

After those nights, I awake bursting with words. They come so thick and fast that I can hardly get them out quickly enough. While I’m writing one word, I can feel the weight, the pressure, of all the others waiting to tumble out of my pen or keyboard.

I’m filling the notebook—the real notebook, the one I bought with my windfall—with these snatches of dreams which I’ve caught like ephemeral butterflies and pinned down and made real. Made my own.

I don’t write the words to share, at least not yet. Maybe one day, when I’ve seen more of the bigger picture, how it all fits together—how everything fits together—I’ll put the pieces side by side like ancient relics that click into place when they’re aligned just so and unlock some lost secret.

Until then, the words are just for me. And I’ll take what money I can get.


About the author

T. Strange

T. Strange didn't want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn't stopped reading—or writing—since. She's been published since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM.

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