Two mornings ago, rather than getting up immediately upon waking, I remained in bed, arms folded beneath my head. You see, I was replaying the first dream I’ve been able recall in well over a year. I don’t know exactly when the ability to have them, or recall them, was lost. I imagine it must have been around the time that nights became long and hard for Alicia. The details of the dream are irrelevant. It consisted of the usual mix: bizarre plot line, invented characters, and abrupt ending. I had all but forgotten what it felt like to dwell in that space between wakefulness and sleep, savoring the last impressions of the dream before the details start to fade with the coming of day.
To what did I owe this? I’d like to think it was the fact that Ben, Caleb, and I had spent the previous evening watching home movies of their much younger selves. Though Alicia was extremely camera shy, we nonetheless caught glimpses of her. More importantly, we heard her. Her voice was forever altered as the tumors progressed in her mouth and neck – that sweet, beautiful voice that I longed to hear each month when I could afford a phone call from some noisy street corner in Spain. Our boys were robbed of hearing their mother articulate her ideas so eloquently and clearly as her tongue lost mobility and became ever more painful. On more than one occasion have they mentioned to me that they couldn’t recall the sound of their own mother’s voice before she had cancer. But for a few sweet hours that night, we were bathed in her infectious laughter. We were audience to her sharp wit. I got to witness, once again, what beautiful creations she and I made – products of our sincere love for each other. I was reminded how fully and deeply I loved that girl. How I love her still. It was more than my heart could bear to see her nurturing our children, caressing them, tickling them with her slender fingers and hearing their muffled laughter in the carpet. To see her carrying our second born in her lovely womb. My brain must have been awash with love chemicals as I saw anew the first girl I ever dared to really pursue. Deep in my brain, some tightly bound knots must have been ever so slightly loosened, if not undone just yet. And yet, it was enough space for the memory of one nonsensical dream to slip through into my seeing mind.
Featured Image: The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí