An entry for the DREAMS Competition.

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1. -

Haze.

 

It’s like I’ve opened my eyes for the first time. Like I’m seeing for the first time. I’m blinking. My head is foggy, full of cotton clouds. There’s light trickling in through the worn, golden curtains behind me. The sun is too bright. When the sun is too bright, it will damage the pink leather on the sofas, so we keep the curtains drawn across the large panes of the window. Still, some naughty streaks always seem to trickle their way in. I’m sitting on that rug, that rug we had since we moved in. I was about 10 years old when we came to this place. The carpet between my fingers is rough and unmoving, still, I try to draw patterns in its coarse fur.

 

Someone’s sitting in front of me on a stool.

 

My jaw drops, my mouth open wide. She’s holding a plate in one hand, and a morsel of food in the other – bringing the morsel close to my lips. I take it. An intimate exchange. Rice and curry. My favourite. Her specialty. I chew, staring at her. I can’t think of what to say or how to process what I’m seeing. I refuse to believe. I swallow.

 

“I thought you were dead,” I say to her.

She ignores me, and feeds me another morsel. I can see her rolling her eyes.

“Don’t worry about that,” she replies, edging a little closer to me, “It didn’t happen.”

“What do you mean it didn’t happen? I saw it. I saw… you…” I say, but she stops me.

“You’re spitting food everywhere, don’t talk with your damn mouth full!” she scolds me and takes in a sharp breath, “There was a mix up. You got it wrong. The hospital got it wrong. I’m fine.”

I take another morsel of food and think.

 

I’m elated.

I’m frightened.

 

“How have you been?” she asks me.

“Fine,” I say, the question is alien to me. She and I never just talked.

“Just fine?” she presses, looking at me with a furrowed brow.

“Yes,” I reply, “Just fine.” I pause, “I wish I knew. I wish you had told me.”

She holds the plate away from me, “I happy that you’re okay,” she says to me, and starts to get up.

“Wait!” I tug her clothes, not wanting her to leave, “Where are you going?”

She smiles at me, “Just to the kitchen, where else would I go?”

 

I watch her leave, a smile breaking on my face and get up – my legs numb from sitting for so long and run–

 

–out of bed. Ready to tell everyone. She’s alive! My mother is alive! She told me! I saw her, I swear I saw her, she’s alive, there was a mix, with me, with the hospital, she didn’t die, she’s alive, she’s alive, she’s alive.

She’s…

I look around.

I’m on the floor. No rug. No golden curtains. No sun trying to break in through the window.

It was a dream.

I shouldn’t have watched her leave.

We should have just talked.

But she and I never just talked.

I look at my hands.

There’s tears.

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