The Dream

The Dream

A Story by Michelle Leiva

I keep having the same dream. I see you, we dance, share secrets, then it all ends until next time. What does it mean?


I keep having this same dream.

I wake up to the moon surrounded by stars. I'm in a garden. The tall hedges form a maze with long paths and no dead ends. I hold my hand to the wall and walk forward to find my way out. While I’m walking, I notice I'm wearing this ball gown, light pink with a fitted top decorated with jewels. My shoes are decorated with a silver rose and modest heels. I escape the maze and find stairs leading to a balcony. Glass doors reveal a warm golden ballroom, full of people in lavish dresses and suits. I hear muffled music, the smooth violins, gentle harps, and whispers of flutes but no band is in sight. There are couples waltzing on the floor as everyone gazes in awe.

You're there. Dancing with someone.

The music ends and the doors fly open. A woman in a green mermaid dress comes to grab me. Startled, I am ushered on the floor. I recognize some faces but can’t find any names. Teens dressed for something better than prom, they're talking and moving quickly, trying to pair up with someone for the next dance. I'm getting lost in the crowd. Suddenly, I feel a tap on my shoulder. Then I see you. And just like that, the room is calm again and we're standing there, ready to dance.  I move my right hand to hold yours. You move your right hand to hold me. The music starts.

We dance.

I ask, "What are we even doing?"

You say, "Dancing, duh."

I laugh and play along. "Who taught you how to dance like this?"

You reply, "My uncle, although I could never get it right."

"My mother taught me. When I was a kid, I would put my feet on hers and we'd dance to slow songs from the 80s."

"It's a good thing you're leading then."

We talk like everything is normal and I can't feel time pass by. The music fades out and I slowly drift from you. The feeling of your hands holding me lingers. Everyone is moving again and you're carried away to a new partner before I can say anything. I feel myself moving farther and farther until I'm back on the balcony, down the stairs, and in the garden. I look up to the sky; there is no moon or stars.

I wake up.

After that night, it's been the same dream with some details changed. My dress is different every time. The colors change from soft pinks to baby blues, royal purples and warm yellows. It's a ball gown with embroidery and off the shoulder sleeves one night then a satin gown with a train and a bow around the waist the next night. Some nights it's a tuxedo, which certainly makes it easier to walk. Both of us  have the same rose in our shirt pocket.

"Why aren't you usually wearing a tuxedo?" You asked once.

"If I wore suits every time, you'd start to look bad by comparison." You give me an annoyed look. I smile.

I start to learn who is  in the crowd. I see Isaac Faust from English class. Loren Masters from detention. That one sophomore who broke his arm punching the vending machine. Elsie (ugh) and Blanc are here too. I wonder why I couldn't recognize them earlier.

The music changes from sophisticated strings to elegant piano to other instruments and songs. One night it was woodwinds. I started giggling when I heard a saxophone because all I could think of was "Careless Whisper". When I told you, you couldn't hold it in either.

Sometimes, it's a man who ushers me to dance. When I see you, your partner is a different person every time. Sometimes it's Elsie, who still glares at me, even in my dreams. Sometimes, it's Blanc who looks so happy and in love. I see it in your eyes. You're happy too…

We talk every time, sometimes about our day, what we have to do tomorrow, making plans I forget the moment I wake up, telling secrets I wouldn’t even say to the real you.

"I hate Elsie so much; she makes me so uncomfortable. But I bear with it because she's your friend but I know the feeling's mutual."

"You look adorable in your milkman uniform and I mean that in the most loving way. It's not embarrassing, although I'm not the one who has to wear it."

"I think my mother is keeping something from me. I think it has to do with why she never talks about my dad. Or why I don't look like her at all."

"I hope you don't like Blanc more than me…"

I say these things but there's no time for you to react. You are taken from me and I leave. I wonder what you thought and if it would resemble how the real you would respond. 

Sometimes, I cry just before we're torn apart, whispering, "Don't leave, please…" I clutch your hand and pull you closer but nothing changes. I'm ripped from you and dragged back outside, to an empty mocking sky. I'm begging my dream to let me stay but it's like talking in slow motion without a voice.

Painful and useless.

Tonight, I wear a gown the color close to black and blue. The top fits me snugly, the collar covering my neck without choking me. My sleeves are transparent with glitter, looking like the stars that greet me when I wake up. My pale skin imitates the moon on this nighttime sky dress. I look up.

For the first time, I see nothing but darkness.

Through the maze, up the stairs, on the balcony, past the doors, I arrive to the ballroom. I see Blanc and Elsie in the crowd watching you. Everyone is watching you. You and your partner are the only ones dancing. The music sounds off; notes are repeated too often, mistakes are made, there are sour notes.

Why is it so different this time?

The song ends but no one moves. I am not ushered in. Regardless, I make a beeline for you; the tapping of my shoes echoes in the silent hall. Like clockwork, the music plays perfectly again and we come together and dance. I'm a bit embarrassed for being the only ones dancing, but it feels okay with you. 

I ask you this time, "Do you remember any of this, once the night ends?" It's a stupid question. I'm not even talking to the real you. This is still a dream after all. I just want to know what you'll say.

You're silent for a moment and then answer, "Do you?"

I don't respond, because I don't remember all the time. Sometimes, I don’t remember until the dream is happening again. The emotion always lingers but not always the memory.

Even though I don't know the song, I feel it coming to an end. It's been long enough that it could stop at any second. I clutch your hands and plead softly, "Please don't let go of me. Please stay with me." I think for a moment.

I say, "Come with me to the balcony. Before the song ends." You stop and look at me.

We flee. 

We walk swiftly outside and the glass doors shut behind us. We're safe. We lean against the railing and I look over the garden maze. I can't determine where I wake up in it. I close my eyes. I can't believe that worked. All this time I could've just asked! But still... Something doesn't feel right. My mind is interrupted when you tap me and pull the rose out of your pocket. A snow rose, white with five petals. 

“Nothing like a rose except for the name,” I say softly.

"Your favorite. It reminded me of you." I hold your hand with the flower to get a closer look; it's just like the ones on my shoes. I begin to cry, saying I'm scared. You ask me why.

And the biggest secret comes out.

"I'm scared… you don't feel the same way I do. I love you so much it hurts. You're my best friend and my person." Tears are streaming down my face.

"You make me so happy when I'm not and you love me even when I hate myself. I'm terrified I'm losing you. Losing you to time, losing you to Blanc. I'm afraid to face the truth that at one point I was your person and now, I'm not. I'm second or third or seventh or last. I can't get upset because I want you to be happy but I'm devastated that I can't be that person for you. Someday you'll get married and have a new life and I'll be here, loving you and hurting because of it."

I'm bawling at this point and I can't see your face. Suddenly something's caught in my throat. I start coughing to the point of hacking. I can't breathe easy; something's coming out of my mouth.

They're white snow rose petals.

I'm jolted awake; sitting up in bed massaging my throat. My face is wet from sweat and tears.

What does it all mean?

© 2019 Michelle Leiva

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Added on September 21, 2019
Last Updated on September 21, 2019
Tags: teen, dream, fiction, young adult, young adult fiction, ya


Michelle Leiva
Michelle Leiva

Fresno, CA

Artist and Writer, I love to write stories and bring them to life through art. I'd love some opinions on my stories! @Farmersakki on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram more..