Rosalyn found herself, to her surprise, quite cognizant of the fact that she was in a dream. She looked around, bewildered, and was quite startled to find herself in a bedroom. An antique vanity sat across from a four poster bed, flowers bloomed in the bay window, and outside everything was so brilliant: the oranges and reds and browns of early fall seemed so vibrant. The arching branch of a maple tree cut though the horizon, and Rosalyn began to remember. This was her room, but it seemed unfamiliar somehow, it seemed so bright and warm – not the drab and lonely bedroom she returned home to each night.
As if guided by an invisible hand, she crossed the room and sat before the vanity, noting the expanse of makeup and jewelry, trinkets she recognized but hadn’t seen in years. She looked up at her reflection and froze. Her hair was dark brown, with vibrant red highlights, and not a hint of gray.
She was getting ready for a date, she remembered. She was going out that evening. She had met a man, a wonderful and handsome man, and she was joining him for coffee – a simple act that would resonate in both of them for years.
And suddenly she was years older and miles away, wearing a magnificent blue gown, her favorite pearl necklace around her throat. Her husband was across from her, looking dapper in his back suit and complimentary blue shirt. They were out to dinner with a family he knew. He joked and laughed with the couple next to him. She remembered where she was, and when, and a feeling of dread passed through her, a cold shiver, a breeze that cut through to her bones. This was the very last time they were out together; the evening where suddenly he collapsed and never stood up again.
In her dream she knew how it happened; she anticipated his movements. She fell asleep thinking about that moment, she relived it every morning that she woke and he was not next to her. She could picture in her head with chilling detail how he stood without warning and clutched at his chest, tearing at his tie as if it were choking him, how he suddenly turned and stared at her, a look of sad resignation in his eyes, and collapsed without a sound.
But this time was different. He stood, his back arching in pain, clutching his chest, tearing at his tie. The patrons of the restaurant gasped, scattered, and in her dream she was frozen – intensely aware of everyone else in the room, aware of their thoughts and their fears, the startled expressions – but this time he turned, he reached out a grasped her arm – and in the dream it felt so real, more real than anything she had felt in a long time. He dug his fingers into her arms until she cried out in pain. His mouth moved, trying to form words, he was so close she could feel his hot breath on her face. Finally, finally a sound escaped his lips.
“You must find him,” he said, his voice throaty and hoarse, carrying a sadness and regret so unlike him. He stared deep into her eyes and she felt open, naked, somehow completely exposed. She started to respond but found she couldn’t speak.
“You must find my son,” he finally said. He looked at her as though she was no longer there; she realized he was looking through her, looking at someone else far, far away. His eyes relaxed, a look of recognition crossed his face.
“He will find you,” he said.
She woke with a start, sure she had been dreaming but uncertain of what, if anything, she had seen. Fragments of the dream seemed to surface, like fish breaching a pond and disappearing underneath rippling waves, and she felt a sudden desolate loneliness, a frantic desperate need to remember. There was something she was trying to grasp hold of, something she needed to know, but the dream was lost. She looked over at her husband, watched his deep, rhythmic breathing, and for reasons she could not explain, she began to cry.