by Tim Hillebrant
photo by Tim Hillebrant
Who’d have thought a fanciful idea to help me fall asleep as a kid would lead to something so great? I didn’t, that’s for damn sure. Lying in the darkness on my back, I’d close my eyes and visualize a doorway forming in my mind, which let me escape my body to explore the world and the people in it. I call it Dream Surfing.
Carrie caught my attention almost immediately when she joined our company. Smart, beautiful, and full of life, just talking to her left me feeling like a newly charged battery. Too shy to do more than exchange pleasantries, it hurt to see others making her smile or laugh, whenI wanted to be the one to do that.
To quell this desire, I started dream surfing her. When I did, she greeted me with a warm smile and a hug and we’d talk about everything under the sun. It only gave me more to love. In those dreams, we became the friends I imagined we could be.
When Mom suddenly died of a brain aneurysm, it hit me hard. I took time off and went home to be with Dad to try and put the pieces back together. After the service was over, Dad wanted to be alone. I returned home a mess. I spent my days sitting alone, staring at nothing. Sleepless nights became my routine. I wanted to talk to Carrie, but I couldn’t surf my dreams if I couldn’t sleep.
One night, while lying in bed trying to sleep, I heard something in the silence. A cool draft wafted across my face, and a familiar scent filled my nose.Thinking sleep was close at last, I took a minute to register the weight on my bed. I wasn’t alone. Adrenaline instantly shot into my system.
As I prepared to bolt, a voice broke through the panic. “Hi, Will. It’s been awhile.”
Carrie! But there was no way it could be. Fearing for my sanity, I opened my eyes and there she was. Smiling, she reached out, brushing the hair out of my eyes. Her touch sent shivers down my spine. Until now, she’d only ever touched my hand or arm.
“Aren’t you going to say hello?” She asked.
“Sorry, I wasn’t expecting to see you.”
“I know. I heard about your Mom. I’m very sorry.”
And she was sorry, I could see it in her eyes. I noticed she wore her favorite bed clothes of a long t-shirt and socks.
“Thanks,” I mumbled, “I guess I got to sleep.”
“What makes you think you’re sleeping?”
“Aren’t I? Whenever I see you outside of work, I’m dream surfing.”
“Is that what you call it when you show up in the middle of the night to talk?”
“Yeah, that’s what I call it. I can only do it when I’m asleep.”
“That must be how I got here then. I wondered.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I knew you were back from your parents. I was worried when you didn’t come see me after a few days. I missed you.”
“You missed me?” I asked, trying to hide my shock.
“Sure, why wouldn’t I?” Carrie’s question caught me up short.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you.”
“It’s okay, I just neededto know you were alright.”
“I haven’t slept, so I couldn’t dream surf and see you.”
“You can call me, you know. You don’t have to just talk to me at night.”
“You wouldn’t mind me calling you?” I was dumbfounded.
Tilting her head,a smile tightened her full lips, sadness filling her eyes as she said,“No, I wouldn’t mind you calling me. I think I’d like it, actually.”
“Really?” I couldn’t hide my surprise
“Really. Is there some reason why you think I would?”
“No, not really.” I lied.
“Why won’t you tell me?”
I thought it was obvious. Even so, I couldn’t bring myself to say it. It was one thing to know I’d be rejected, and another to admit it out loud. It felt like giving up that last glimmer of hope.
“Please, Will. Talk to me. You know we can talk. Hell, we talk all the time when you visit me. Why is this any different?”
My simmering emotions boiled over. The loss of Mom, Dad’s recent rejection, and knowing it was impossible Carrie would ever return my feelings, hit me like a battering ram.
Tears blurred my vision and wiping them only made way for more. Pulling me into her arms, Carrie held me while I cried. It felt so real, her arms around me, soft voice cooing in my ear. Her fingers stroked my cheek, wiping away the tears.
As my tears subsided, Carrie pulled away. “Will, tell me what is this about.”
“Why do you want to know so badly? This is a dream. Does it matter?”
“If it’s a dream, and I’m not really here, why not tell me?”
Taking a deep breath, I sighed as the last of my defenses crumbled.
“Carrie, I really like you. You could even call it love. But no matter what I feel, nothing’s going to happen. That’s what hurts the most. If only I could talk to you and be with you in reality like I am here…”
“What makes you think I don’t feel the same way?”
“Because this is a dream, and I have to wake up.”
“It doesn’t sound like you want to wake up.”
“No, I don’t. I don’t want to go back to that world. Back to a place where I’m always rejected. I’d rather stay here with you, sharing our dreams and fears, where I can make a fool of myself bawling and no one will ever know.”
“I know about it.”
“You’re part of the dream.”
“So, since I’m part of your dream, tell me what you could never tell me in person.”
“That I love you.”
“You said that already.”
“Fine then, I’d want you to know how much I love you. How just seeing you makes me so happy I could burst. How hearing your voice is like a song in my head. And when you find someone to love, even though you’re not with me, knowing you’rehappy will make me happy too.”
“What do you want, for you?”
“I’ll never have what I want.”
“But if you could have it, what would it be?”
I lowered my eyes and whispered, “I’d want for you to love me. In all the ways I love you.”
Looking back at her, the tenderness I felt was reflected back at me. She leaned in closer.
“What’re you doing?” I asked, nervously.
“Giving you what you want.”
“What do you mean?”
“Only this.”Her lips touched mine. Hesitantly, both seeking permission and giving it. Coherent thought abandoned me as I fell into her kiss and returned it with my own.
What began gently, escalated, and the heat with it. Carrie’s hand pushed up under my shirt, moved along my chest, and she removed the material from my body. My heart thundered in my ears, and the room became blazing hot. Our bodies slick with perspiration, we poured ourselves into each other, gasping for precious air as we made love.
As the glow of release tingled through me, I held her close. She melted into my arms, exhausted, and we lay entangled in my sheets.
My head lay pillowed by her tummy as she absently stroked the hair above my ear. We sighed contentedly at the same time, and her quiet chuckle made me smile.
“That was so much more…”
“I know. I don’t want to have to wake up from this,” I groaned.
“I’m going to hate being apart, even for a short while.”
I mused aloud, “I wonder how I can dream something as real as you, as this was tonight. I wonder why I dreamed you here? Usually, I visit you.”
“I told you, I got worried, so I came.”
“But you don’t know how you got here. You even said you wondered how earlier.”
“I didn’t realize it was by… what do you call it? Dream Surfing?”
“It’s a nice name for it, and something I realized I could do as a little girl. One night I dreamed about finding a cat that had gone missing. I was lying there in the dark, just thinking how badly I wanted to find the kitty. Soon after that I flew over the ground and I saw it in a rain culvert. It was scared and wet…”
“Wait! You mean to tell me you can do it too?”
“That’s what I just said, isn’t it?” She punctuated the question by kissing the top of my head.
“I thought I was the only one.”
“Guess again, my love.”
“What was that?”
“What was what?”
“What was that you just said?”
“You mean when I called you my love?”
“Will, look at me.”
“What?” I refused to look up at her.
“Please, Will, look at me.”
I did as she asked.
“I know you find this hard to believe, but I love you, Will. I have for a long time, and I wanted you to know. That’s why I came tonight. That’s why I don’t mind when you visit me…”
“I told you, I dream it all. That’s what this is, it’s just a dream.”
“No, Will, it isn’t.”
“You’re kidding, right?” I snorted.
“No, I’m not. Here, feel this?” Carrie took my hand and ran it over the sweat drying on both our faces.
“How about this?” She asked as she wrapped her legs around me and I could feel the heat emanating from our recent lovemaking.
“You’re saying you’re really here?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Isn’t that what I’ve been doing?”
“But I need tangible proof.”
“Tangible proof?” Carrie took a pen and drew a love heart on my chest. “Meet me for lunch, when we are both wide awake, and I’ll tell you what I drew.”
Tim Hillebrant is an author/photographer from Southeast Idaho where he was born and raised. Currently living near Boise, Idaho, Tim is a husband, father, and passionate reader. His other interests include camping, fishing, cooking, movies, music, and trivia. Tim can also often be found helping out with Writers Carnival, where he serves as a member of the administrator’s community support team. You can see other examples of his work at www.writerscarnival.ca