Awake again

Awake again

A Story by Kevin Chelsea

You know what it's like to wake up and remember the truth? Sometimes it's worse than a recurring nightmare.

    We waited for the train.
    A train that delivered death.
    A little thing that shouldn't have been, in all the wrong ways. A little thing that could have been, in all the right ways.

    I had my arm around her shoulder, both of hers wrapped around my waist. People talk about the numb that descends from on high. I didn't know what they meant, how could the mind close all things out at a time like this? The things I could sense were only the things I could touch. My eyes stung with tears, again, but they would be the last for a while.
    Her. I could only think of her as 'her'. Her hair smelled of the shampoo she used. The warmth she radiated, but she'd begun to cool to me. We'd have to get through this last little bit together though. Her gentle sobs and shake of her body as she wept into my chest are memories. I gently kissed her above her ear and kept whispering things that I can't remember. Nothing was alright and it felt as though nothing would ever be again. We just had to get through that day.
    We walked to the platform from our vantage point above the track where we had waited. Off in the distance, we heard the rumble of steel on tracks and the heavy diesel pull along. It only reminded me that I lived in the same way. Dragged my entire broken life behind me. The last bit of happiness was in my arm, yet I felt even that slide away. The train stopped right on cue at the right spot.
    In front of us was a small hatch that was more like a bus' baggage compartment door. A conductor came along and gave us the briefest of looks. I couldn't really tell if he knew exactly what his haul was, if he maybe gave us the briefest moment of consolation in understanding. Understood what he'd been bringing home.
    Things like home became distant concepts, things for people who still have their remaining lives intact. Something that we'd never know for a very long time, if ever.
    A perfect oddity of images washed over the scene and all I knew was that I held a small white casket. The handles at the head and foot of it were barely wider than my shoulders. Inside, something even smaller. Something that didn't even have a chance to smile. A life that only measured in days. This small casket held so much joy and anguish. Questions of fairness weren't anywhere near my mind, nothing was.
    I stood at the train platform for a while, surrounded by a deep and dull gray fog. Stood with the only thing in the world that mattered. I spoke of a Her, but she didn't even enter my mind. I wished that the cold numb would break and I could feel again. That I could cry, to break the terrible coldness.
    The journey home was only a series of blotted out pictures. Colours that didn't match the scenery. The things I do remember seeing seemed to filter through coloured filaments. Houses and yards that were all reds. Purple playgrounds. Yellow wishing fountain. Green parking lots.
    Pulled up to a home that would have been bathed in happy family shades, but were only melted grays. A home that was already crumbling away into dust and ash. I know that there were people there. Her family, my family, both drifting apart at the speed of glaciers, yet, inevitable.
    The casket, I place in a room that was all wood paneling and bookshelves. Placed in the center of the room on a heavy wooden table. It's a grim mockery of the elegant old dinner table. A feast of sadness that we all have to take a hearty meal from.
    The scenery only passed me through the time lapse version in my mind. People must have tried to comfort me. Tried to talk to me, but I sat and stared at the small closed casket. Night came, something that I both dread and welcome. A time when I could wander outside and think. When She was with me, it'd be a time of warmth and intimate love. When I am alone, it'd be a time for the shadows to begin to grow claws. On that night, outside would be a garden of night terror. Seeds falling from my mind and nightmares would bloom. So I stay beside the casket.
    I needed to look.
    Once more.
    I felt no fear, I dreaded no reprisal from the dead.
    I pulled the casket cover open and I see what I expected to see. The form is grayed in the night. Looked more like a carved doll of marble. I sat back down and just looked. Let thoughts wash over me. Still, no questions of fairness came. Again, I wished for a break in the numbness. I wondered why there were no tears. Am I broken?
    I sat alone with the tiniest marble doll that I have ever seen. Yet, I knew it's only an illusion, it's really made of ash. As I sit and contemplate how those small lips will never know everything from the first word to a first kiss. Never know a smile. I know I shouldn't, but I lean forward and begin to reach. My hand got closer and closer to the marble statue of what will never be. I know that if I touch, it will only crumble into ash, but maybe for that split second, maybe I can feel. My fingers do not tremble in the slightest as I reached.
    Just before my fingers made contact.
    I wake.

    Slowly, I open my eyes and realize that I had been dreaming again. This time about something different, something ultimately worse than the other dreams. I remember flashing images, flashes of what I didn't feel and wished I felt. Then all the pain falls in on me. Buries me in the darkness of my room. Never have I felt the misery of the world crash in so hard for so long. A pain, that I'd dulled over years of pretending to smile and laugh again, has been honed by my own mind. That pain comes back on top of the nightmare.
    Again, I remember that She was the one who had died so long ago. That we never had the chance for a child. It was something that we didn't even have time to contemplate since we were so young. My mind had constructed its own dismal hell and had sent me images of losing our baby that we never had.
    It was the perfect nightmare. It had been years since I woke up and felt that pain slip into me again. Living everyday, begging whatever there was up there to just let me forget. To just help me to let Her go. That did happen a few years ago, but sometimes, I think of this nightmare and wonder what it meant.
    I'd like to tell you that this is the end, but I'm the one who has to carry this load. Some days, it just comes back.

© 2012 Kevin Chelsea

Author's Note

Kevin Chelsea
The nightmare is an actual nightmare I had. Just the one time, but I always think about it. The waking up and remembering that She was the one who actually died. That's true too. One thing I wanted to add, but there seemed no real place to put it is that a grief or sadness that long standing makes you wish that you could just forget. Which makes you feel like such a selfish jerk. Still, there are good memories and those are the ones I get by on now.

By the by, soundtrack for this one is probably "Call me Call me" from the Cowboy Bebop sound track, or "Blue" same soundtrack. On the bad nights, I go outside and look into the sky and wonder if She's still there? Waiting I hope.

Yeah, I guess some people wouldn't even call this a nightmare, but it was to me.

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Or perhaps, as odd as it sounds, by living on a piece of them continues living through you. At least I hope they do.

Posted 9 Years Ago

This is absolutely heartwrenching, the details pitch-perfect, everything rendered so realistically and in such a deep and heartfelt way that it's difficult not to cry during it. It almost in some ways reads like a prose poem. This line stood up and smacked me: "Dragged my entire broken life behind me." This is how I feel about my own life, and I've never heard it described in quite that way. Brilliantly evoked.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Ha! This was clever constructed, it is sometimes such stories like this one: reserved and restrained, and this makes me read them almost in one breath. Like artists and painters, truly gifted writers seem to have this special something to tell us their tales, elegantly written while still leaving much unsaid. I liked how you describe the psychology between two people which made them to appear like someone I can meet anywhere. I enjoyed this a lot.

Posted 10 Years Ago

People have their own terros, and what brings forth that agony is indeed a nightmare to us all. This peice shows grievance and in a way, anger. Just as you said, also selfishness...but it is true, the bruden is none but your own. You carry the load, and for you, this burden pertrudes into your phantasm. I'm not going to say I understand, because I don't. But I do see how this could be a nightmare to you and I respect the fact you have connected it to your everday life, you sought out why you had this nightmare. That is exactly what I hoped people would do.

Considerably a great read.

XWayOathX - Thank you for submitting. :)

Posted 10 Years Ago

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4 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on April 25, 2010
Last Updated on July 14, 2012
Tags: nightmare, death, loss
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Kevin Chelsea
Kevin Chelsea

IR#4, The Cariboo, Canada

►My Blogger website, Stories from #4 I'm just a happy-go-lucky-guy from the rez. Working on putting the links to the stories I moved to blogger here, just smaller. I'll still upload new st.. more..


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