Nightmare Redux


The street is steep and lined with a canopy of leafy trees casting shadows and waving slightly in the breeze. A long line of hotels runs for several blocks on both sides – fancy, decent, run-of-the-mill and run-down – all sorts, but I generally stay close to the larger ones. I duck into a Sheraton and walk through the lobby and along the endless hallways of its convention space. A swirling pattern on the carpet adds to my disconcerting journey, and the hallways form a labyrinth so convoluted it is difficult to find my way out.

Eventually, I do. Back on the street the sun is trying to shine through the clouds and the trees. I walk down and pass more hotels, marveling at high high they soar on such an incline. Suddenly I see Andy ahead of me. I call to him but he starts running. I run after him, but he is too fast. He ducks into a hotel and I follow him, then he escapes. Scrambling through more hallways with more patterned carpets, I struggle to find the street again. When I do, I see him just ahead. I call to him again but he hurries away. I know something is wrong because I can usually catch him. Now, I am too slow. He turns around and looks at me, but continues on. I try screaming to no avail.

He reaches a long set of stairs that goes down and down into darkness. I get just a little closer, but he is still so far away. He turns around and looks at me. His sunglasses hide his eyes. I think of how cute it was that he always kept his Ray Bans in a holder attached to the visor of his car, pulling them out whenever the sun got to be too much in the morning on the way to work. I sit down at the top of the stairs and he pauses for a moment. I am crying because I can’t go on chasing someone who doesn’t want to be caught. I can’t see him through my tears. I do not know if he is coming back, or descending on the rest of his journey.

Then I hear a voice. It’s not so much a disembodied voice, but a universal one that comes both from without and within.

“It’s ok,” it says calmly. “It’s ok.” An incantation that soothes a tortured heart.

I wipe my eyes and stand up. Here, on the top of the stairs, it is sunny. I am not in the shadows. I look down for Andy one last time. He stands on the edge of darkness, near the end of the stairs. I cannot tell how far down they go, and I want to pull him back and tell him to stop before he disappears. He is looking up at me, but I can’t see his eyes through the sunglasses, and I don’t know what he is going to do. I turn around and walk back up the hill. I won’t go down with him. With a whimper, the dream ends.


I awaken and feel Andy beside me. I reach out to put my hand on his. It is still winter.

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