no steam by kingabrit
I woke up with the sun in my face. I got up. I went to the bathroom. I brushed my teeth. I made breakfast and ate eggs that tasted like onions. I drank coffee and stared out the window. I sorted through the images left from my sleep and separated them from the events of the day before. Slowly, they began to make sense.
I dreamed I stood on a mountain and threw off the shackles that bound me. I dreamed I kissed an angel. Her lips felt like feathers. Her arms encircled me. I was angry, but I didn’t know why. My heart raced. The clouds moved slowly. The world spun like a wheel. I was delirious. I stumbled and fell, but I couldn’t feel pain. My father, who died when I was fifteen years old, caught me as I dropped to the ground. His arms were strong. I was weak. He taught me how to fly.
“Why didn’t I die?” I asked my mother. Her answer was upsetting.
“I loved you like a son,” she said, as she bent her head down, “but you have not been a son to me. You’re the one who should have died.”
I drove into a blind curve and let go of the wheel. My feet scraped against steel and glass as I flew out of the car.
I’ll show her, I thought.
Tormented by dreams, I still sleep. I should swallow pills, but my doctor tells me I’m stupid. “Only the sick take medicine and you’re not sick.”
“So why do I come to you?”
“Because you’re stupid!” he said.
The tangles of my thoughts become the life I live in my dreams. And the dreams never stop. It is not imagination. It is real, only it never really happened.
My brother bought cough syrup with codeine. The pharmacists made him sign for it, but he’d hop from pharmacy to pharmacy until he had enough bottles for both of us. When I dreamed on codeine, I was still awake. I could manipulate my dreams. I watched them like a movie and inspected the characters as they spoke.
The room was dark. We turned off the lights to enhance the music. Jimi Hendrix curled his guitar strings around my ears, his music biting at the end of the scale. He smashed his guitar on the window panes of my mind and broke them like glass. My dreams shattered. The pieces spun deep into the back of my eyelids. Indigo colored lights and crimson shadows flashed inside my head.
I didn’t take photographs. I remembered. The images I saved became the stories I told my children. My mind became filled with pictures I collected through the years. Some of them were dark and somber. Some of them were vivid and filled with life, funny. I loved to hear my children laugh. It made me feel I had been a success. Now they’re grown, I’m glad when my stories make them stop and think.