Mistakes

Busy week and I managed my time very poorly. That’s also true for my diet. But all is not lost. I found some time to blog, and for that I consider the weekend a win. It’s something I failed to do for years. Again–little steps.

Thanks for reading.

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“I have nightmares,” he apologizes, awake as Hannigan stands nearby. “I’m more awake at night., when I sleep. That’s why I scream, why I wake so often, why I hear sounds and voices. Most things take place in my dreams, while I’m trapped on the outside.”

Hannigan nods and slants his fedora in front of his eyes. “I understand.” He sounds sympathetic, as if he’s dealt with dreams and nightmares for far too long. “I dream of the past, of her, but I’m never in my dreams. I’m always watching other people live my life. I watch Cecie fade away, fade away. I scream her name so loud I wake myself up still screaming her name. I’d tell you to go back to sleep, but you’ll never truly sleep again. You’ll shut your eyes, and you’ll rest, and all the while you’ll live new lives and old memories, and nothing will ever be the same.”

“And this will last forever?” he asks, eyes shut, ears already hearing the piano music from his dreams.

“Life gives us things we can never return. At least you have something to keep you awake at night. Some die without that, without ever caring enough. We’re lucky.”

“Are we?”

“No,” Hannigan says. “And yes. You can be lucky for awhile, then unlucky for the rest of your life. I don’t think Cecie dreamed, and if she did, she never told me. Not once.”

His eyes open in the darkness. Clusters of stars high above. Night is colorless. His thoughts are black and white. “The woman I can’t remember…she told me her dreams.. Maybe not all of them, but enough. She shared so much, so quickly, and I as well. Enough.”

“Enough?” Hannigan asks.

“Enough to know that she, and the dreams, were real. Our dreams possess meaning and purpose, right? People appear in our dreams to show us something, reveal hidden truths. Our subconscious controls our dream and our dreams control us. They’re everything, our deepest desires and darkest secrets, the pieces of ourselves we don’t show the world.”

“Maybe,” Hannigan says. “We’re all fucked, and as for our subconscious, maybe those are fucked too. We dream for reasons, if that’s what you’re asking, and you are. We dream to teach and torture ourselves. We’re all fucked sadists. Subconsciously, at least.”

To be whole, you must first let yourself be broken.

He watches himself write these words in a notebook no larger than his hand. The pages flip before him, and words, ink and graphite, fill the spaces between the lines.

There’s much to be read, between the lines.

There’s a picture of an elephant, a rose, and a giraffe.

“To be whole, you must first let yourself be broken,” she says, her back to him as she reaches for a book on the higher shelves. She is lithe and tall, the book bulging and dusty from years of solitude. She glances over her shoulder and smiles at him, knows he has been staring and is gladdened by it.

“My words from months ago,” he says, picking up the nearest book just to hold something. The aisle is narrow, shelves of books endlessly high to both sides. Weathered floorboards below, a white cat nestled in the corner atop a big red book.

He reads the title of the book in his hand. A diary of a woman.

“I know,” she says. “And I remembered them. The things you say sometimes. I don’t think you realize it, the impact of words, how they can change everything.”

“That’s all I am. Words.”

“Not actions?”

“Actions, I suppose, but words before actions.”

“Didn’t someone say that actions speak louder than words? I’m pretty sure someone said that.”

He shrugs and turns away, listens to his shoes against the floorboards, the rain outside the wooden shack. A cat meows nearby; it is not the cat sleeping on the book. At the window he stops and stares out into the rain, the day so overcast he can barely see the stone walkways meandering through the grass outside, and the white house on the hill is nearly undetectable in the morning fog. Rain falls in sheets. It is not soft, and it is not warm, but hard and cold and forcing the world indoors.

“Sometimes,” he finally says, “actions are more than words. But words are often all we have. When we can’t act, we’re reduced to words.”

“You sound like these authors.” Her voice is right behind him now.

He turns, and she’s there, so close. He breathes in her scent. Spring flowers and rain. Shadows darken her already dark skin, her eyes almost black and watching him watch her. A dance they dance, a game they play, from the beginning of beginnings.

“No. These people write words for others to read. I just say what I think. For you, I guess. Most things I do are somehow for you, often before I realize it.”

She smiles and leans forward through the shadows, her lips brushing his before she pulls away, eyes wide as she realizes what she has done. “I’m sorry,” she says. She’s still staring at him; this is the longest she’s ever managed so without blushing or turning away. “I didn’t mean to. An accident. I just…”

“None of this will ever be an accident,” he says.

“None of what?” she asks.

“Accidents imply that something has gone wrong.”

“What if…”

“No,” he says. “You must trust me. I’m finding a seat to wait out the rain. You can stand here, terrified by an accident you didn’t make, or you can trust me and yourself.” He turns, again, and finds a seat away from the window and away from the rain, where he can only hear it drumming against the roof.

She eventually finds him, trusting.

He wakes on the roof to see that the stars have vanished with the dawn. The day is overcast, as it always is, but the clouds aren’t as ominous as usual. Hints of light hide behind and within them.

Hannigan is already awake and sitting beside his tent, polishing a gun and humming a song to himself.

“It will rain today,” he says, sitting up, shaking the dizziness from his head. Or at least trying to; he fails. His eyes are cloudy and trying to shut, as if he needs another week or month of sleep. A week or month of dreams.

Hannigan studies the sky. “No, no I don’t think so. This day is brighter and warmer than most. It hasn’t rained in a very long time. These clouds aren’t rain clouds. They’re just clouds.”

“It will rain,” he repeats, entirely sure. “I dreamed of rain.”

“And what you dream always comes true?”

“No, but it always has some truth to it. It will rain. Trust me.”

“Cans,” Hannigan says, pointing to the silver pile. “Cans with food inside, for breakfast when you’re hungry. You toss and turn all night, rolling back and forth, thrashing your arms, speaking and screaming to yourself. You must be hungry after that.”

“Did I say her name?”

“No names. But you’re worse than me, and I thought I was bad. Is what you don’t remember truly worse than what you do?”

“It’s knowing I have the same memories you have, only I can’t remember mine. Imagine yourself forgetting everything about her but knowing there’s a world buried deep down. Imagine forgetting her face when you wake then seeing it again when you sleep, only to forget it. Her voice fades. Everything is forgotten. But I remember the dreams. They remain, as she flees from one to another, and I chase her. Forwards through time, backwards. I don’t know anymore. I can’t catch her.”

Hannigan pales. “Not things I want to imagine. I’m sorry, but I can’t help. Maybe someone out there can, but not me. I just stay here, waiting for my train. I’ll board it, fall asleep in my seat, and wake up in a different, better world. I’ll do that. What will you do? I’d offer you a seat, but the train is only big enough for me. I must ride alone.”

“I’ll find what’s lost and keep it safe. I’ve done it before.” Has he? “At least once.”

“What did you find?”

“A girl. But then I lost her again. I still have a piece of her, sohe’ll never be as far away as she was in the beginning.”

Hannigan says nothing, slides the polished gun across the rooftop; it comes to a halt against his sleeping bag.

“I won’t need it,” he says.

“The world is smaller than it once was, but it’s still big and still dangerous. There’s more than stargazers and people like me. Madness lurks out there. People trying to rebuild through bloodshed and fear.”

But he just shakes his head. “I won’t see them and they won’t see me. I’m just trying to remember. That’s all this is, all I am. My path won’t lead me anywhere but where I’m supposed to go, and if I’m meant to die, then I’ll die. A gun won’t save me. If I’m not meant to be saved, nothing will save me. Sometimes you can’t be saved.”

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