Friday, March 16, 2012

5 Dreams

by R. Welch

for Judy


The storm had been raging for two days. A neighbor had taken Annie and the girls out during a lull in the previous day's deluge and they had returned with tales of fallen trees, flooded roads and boats ripped from their moorings, one of which had been deposited in the middle of Shore Drive, blocking traffic in all directions. "Its like a battle..."Annie said, drifting off mid sentence. "It's a battle...a war..." She faltered again.

"Are you trying to say its like a war zone?" Adam asked, and Annie nodded, visibly relieved as her fingers touched the row of stitches over her left ear.

The remnants of a Nor'easter was battering the north shore of Massachusetts, with hurricane force winds, astronomically high tides and horizontal rain, streaking across the glass as Adam watched from their upstairs bedroom window. Despite the weatherman's assurances that the stalled storm system was finally moving out to sea, the winds appeared to be escalating again, bringing back the torrential rains. Annie and the girls remained huddled in the bed behind him where they'd all watched the non stop storm coverage until the electricity had cut off a few hours before, abandoning them to the roaring dark. The street below was a paved river that gushed against the oak tree at the end of the driveway where its roots had heaved the sidewalk. From the bedroom dormer, it looked like the corner of lawn nearest the oak had washed away. It was hard to tell.

Chloe crawled into Annie's lap, deliberately displacing her 3 year old sister while trying not to disturb the bandage that wrapped her mother's head. "Mommy, is our house gonna blow 'way?" Chloe asked.

Lily watched her mother's reaction to her big sister's question, chewing nervously on her thumb. "Chloe said we're gonna go to Oz Mumma" she said, popping her thumb out of her mouth. "I don't wanna go to Oz Mumma!" Annie smiled and shook her head slowly. She rested her cheek on the top of Chloe's head and reached for Lily with her good arm. "We'll be - okay," she said. "Daddy'll keep us safe."

Adam sighed as he listened to Annie struggle to speak. It came and went, like the wind. Sometimes she was perfectly lucid, and other times she couldn't find the most basic word. Doctor Black had said she would become "less like herself." Listening to Annie struggle for a word seemed about as unlike herself as she could get. Adam sighed and returned his attention to the window. Concentrating on the drama outside was preferable.

Even in the darkness, Adam could see the damage would be extensive. The maple in the back yard had already fallen, and a section of the Nilson's new stockade fence floated down the middle of Forest Avenue with its length of copper downspout standing perpendicular, like the broken mast of an abandoned raft. Adam could see a strange fluttering at the corner of his roof that suggested the imminent loss of shingles when a sudden pelting of rain streaked across the window and distorted his view.

The giant oak at the end of his driveway, whose roots the gush of water had exposed, appeared to be leaning and Adam pictured it crashing through the ceiling plaster and raining the attic contents down on their heads. His daughters huddled with Annie, their backs pressed against the headboard as they watched him pace. It felt as though he held their heartbeats in his hands.
He moved toward the computer, thinking he would look up their insurance agent's number when he remembered that without some juice, it was little more than an expensive piece of junk. He'd been doing that for hours, lurching from stereo to microwave to telephone. Fucking electricity! It was amazing how dependent they were on things he barely understood. Even the beam of the flashlight seemed miraculous.

Should they retreat to the basement? Was that what people did when a storm threatened to take the house or would that just mean they'd be buried in the ruins? Staying where they were seemed foolish. The basement seemed equally so. Even if the house survived, the basement was likely to be full of water, now that the electricity had killed the sump pump. What if there was a live wire sparking in the water? They'd all fry.

Another gust of wind shook the house and he met Annie's worried expression with one of his own, shrugging silently at her raised eyebrows when a nuclear flash of light silhouetted the contents of the room, turning night to day and back to night in an blinding instant. A clap of thunder sounded immediately, with a huge ripping sound directly over their heads. It felt like the roof was coming off. For one terrifying moment Adam thought he could feel the floor moving beneath his bare feet and wondered if the house had been bucked off its foundation. His children were whimpering in the dark. He didn't know how to protect them and felt a kind of shame burn his skin.

"What do you think?" Annie asked over the heads of the girls and Adam tamped down an annoyance that threatened to surge into panic, fueled by the anxiety the storm had produced.

"I don't know!" he answered, knowing he'd spoken too quickly and in a tone she'd done nothing to deserve. Annie was always presenting him with situations he had no idea how to resolve! The Volvo's engine light was on again. The refrigerator was making a strange noise. The light switch in the bathroom didn't work. His response was always the same. "That's why God created the yellow pages," he'd say. His lack of handiness had achieved legendary status and tales of his ineptitude were told and retold at neighborhood barbecues. There seemed to be a litany of things that required tools he didn't own and skills he didn't possess and, conveniently, had no interest in acquiring. And now, Annie was sick. Adam's teeth ached from clenching his jaw ever since the ER doctor had read them the radiology report. Everyone knew how this was going to end, and no one could bear to say it out loud. He wondered if the yellow pages would have anything to offer regarding a grade 4 glioblastoma. Doubtful.

"Maybe we should go down to the basement," Adam said. Even in the darkened room he could see Chloe's eyes widen. Chloe hadn't been down there since she'd encountered a spider in her dollhouse and the can of RAID her father emptied had failed to reassure her. He stopped now and took her face in his hands. "Don't worry sweetheart!" he told her. "It'll be a lot less noisy in the basement, and we don't like all this noise."

"I'm bringing Brady!" Lily announced, referring to her new kitten.

"Definitely," Adam said. "Brady needs to come too."
The kitten had been under the bed for 2 days. Maybe that's what they should do. Maybe Kitty knew best.

As he pondered following the cat's example, there was a deafening crash from downstairs, followed by another and another, as if someone, or something, was pounding on the front door. Had the storm torn something loose? They heard a splintering of wood, that sounded right outside the closed bedroom door. The girls screamed again and clutched their mother as Adam went to investigate.

It was immediately clear that something significant had happened. The hall was at least 20 degrees colder and the storm many times louder the moment he opened the bedroom door. Adam stood on the 2nd floor landing, aiming the flashlight's weak beam toward the bottom of the stairs but it only made the darkness visible and did nothing to illuminate its depths. He took a few tentative steps down, squinting in the dark when another flash of lightning revealed the front door had blown open. There was a hole in the plaster where the doorknob had smashed into the wall. The door itself, its splintered hinges intact, was lying on its side against the arch leading into their living room. Rain spattered across the oak floor as the wind tried to lift the big watercolor of Swampscott Harbor off the wall.
Adam stepped back in shock and almost tripped over Lily directly behind him when he heard the shuffle of footsteps from the base of the stairs, suddenly audible between claps of thunder. Adam froze, frowning in the dark. He wondered if the water color was about to crash to the floor and waited for the sound of breaking glass. It did not come. Scooping Lily in his arms, he returned to the bedroom.

"The storm blew the front door right off its hinges!" Adam explained, amazed, as he dropped Lily back onto the bed. "I've gotta see if I can get it back up somehow. The rain and wind is pouring in. You guys stay up here for now, okay?"

Pausing at the top of the stairs, he became aware that Lily was at his heels again. "Honey! C'mon now. You're gonna get your slippers all wet! Go stay with Mommy and Chloe now, okay?" The little girl shook her head frantically back and forth, in a motion that made her father wince. Adam knew he perceived her as more vulnerable than she in fact was, with anxieties that seemed to mirror his own. It was always difficult for him to deny her - a tendency she had, at the age of 3, already apprehended and was learning to use to her advantage. "I'm scared Daddy!" she whimpered. "Wanna stay with you!"

There wasn't time to argue. He directed her to a step 3 or 4 down from the upper landing. "You can watch from here, but no further, okay? I don't want you to get your feet wet and there are splinters of wood everywhere." Lily took her place on the designated step and clutched the banister's spindles as she watched her father slowly descend to the foyer.

The wind and rain soaked his clothing instantly. He had to jump over the fallen door in order to lift it back into the damaged frame. A splinter of wood pierced his palm as he hoisted the door and the sudden pain caused him to drop it with a bang on his bare foot. He cursed loudly. Lily ran up the stairs and Adam heard her excitedly announce "Daddy said shit!" before returning to the staircase, 2 or 3 steps lower than the one her father had indicated.

The door appeared to have pivoted as it tore from its frame and now rested on its opposite side but the layout of the foyer left little room for orienting it back into the frame, let alone rotating it so the knob would be on the proper side, and after much struggling and more cursing he was forced to return it to its place with the exterior side turned inward. It hardly mattered. The displaced hinges had ripped out half the molding, leaving the door standing loose in its frame and vulnerable to another gust of wind. Rain continued to pelt him through the gaps in the wall as Adam leaned against the door, using his weight to hold it in place while trying to think what to do. A hammer and nails would be needed to insure it did not fall again, but in his house the odds of finding either, let alone both, were unlikely.

A flash of lightning raised unfamiliar shadows in the living room. And then he heard it again, a creaking of the floor, as if someone was moving nearer. What was that? He felt the hairs on his arms lift as he tried to listen over the storm until the wind redirected his attention to the door, pressing against his back. He reached for the telephone table with his foot and used it to brace the door while he retrieved a dining room chair to wedge beneath the bent knob. He stepped back to observe the damage. Maybe Annie would know where the toolbox might be. He depended on her for things like that and and felt a grim despair at knowing those days were probably gone for good.

He was about to tell Lily to run and ask Mommy if she knew where to find a hammer when he noticed a crack in the door's center panel. Frowning and perplexed, Adam bent at the waist, holding the flashlight inches from the door as he traced the crack with his finger. It looked like something had struck the door with great force. There was a black smudge with a tread like pattern along its upper edge that blurred into a downward smear. He considered and rejected a series of explanations as he slowly straightened. Had a free rolling tire jumped the curb and rolled up the walk to smash into his front door? It was the least preposterous explanation he could come up with on short notice. He bent to look again.

There was another smudge slightly to the left of the first, like a double exposure, and a third to its right, far more clearly defined than the other two, revealing what appeared to be a toe and a heel. He jerked upright, his heartbeat suddenly audible in his ears. The storm hadn't blown down the door. Someone had kicked it in.
He felt a chill course through his body, marrow deep. Someone was in the living room. Right now. Right behind him, breathing in the dark. In one terrible instant he understood the series of bangs they'd heard, and the footsteps and the strange, angular shadow he'd only peripherally noticed when he'd crouched to lift the door. The floor creaked again.

At the instant Adam turned to look, the lightning flashed and something lunged from the shadows of the bookcase. He hadn't realized Chloe had joined Lily on the steps until he heard them both scream. Adam tried to tell them to run; to hide - but couldn't find his voice.

It was too late. The walls had been breached. He felt the disembodied howl tear from his throat before he heard the sound it made.


Adam had never seen rain like this. It fell perpendicular to the ground with a tremendous, ricocheting force. There did not appear to be any individual drops, just a solid sheet of water pouring from the sky in a steady gush.

A vague anxiety nested in the cavity it had carved into his chest. Where were they? Annie had taken the girls to Whole Foods and Adam considered driving over to see if he could find them. The changes in Annie's motor skills were so incremental, it was easy not to notice until something happened that brought them into stark relief. She'd dropped and broken two coffee mugs that morning, one right after another, and was reaching for a third when Adam found her standing barefoot in the kitchen, surrounded by the broken mugs littering the new tile floor. It had been part of a renovation project they'd started and then abandoned when Annie was diagnosed. Five thousand dollars worth of architectural plans were rolled up in a corner of the dining room, diagramming an addition that would never be built.

He should have done the shopping. If she couldn't hold a coffee mug, how could he have possibly let her take the car? Given that the store was only a half mile away, if even, it had seemed a reasonable risk at the time, but now this rain mocked him Even worse. It made him stupid.

He glanced at his watch and noted 3 minutes had passed since the last time he'd looked. He tried to take a calming breath, but couldn't fill his lungs. Why weren't they home yet?

He shouldn't have let Chloe and Lily go with her. He considered again driving to the store and worried over how that would look to the girls. He'd taken them with him to Photographics last week and on the way home Lily asked, point blank and out of the blue if her mommy was going to die...with Chloe wide eyed in the seat beside her. He'd told as much truth as any of them could bear. "Some people with Mommy's illness have died - " and both girls had started to wail. He had to pull the car off the road and get into the back to try and calm them. "I don't want Mommy to die!" Lily shrieked as Adam tried to reassure her, but her indignation broke his heart. Everything did. It was astonishing how many times the heart could break over the same thing, into smaller and smaller pieces. Soon, there'd be nothing but dust.

The scene in the car had provided quite enough drama for one week. They'd been clinging to their mother ever since, and had begged to go shopping with her. Having Daddy show up in the aisles of Whole Foods would surely set off their alarms again. He was loathe to do it.

He went to the dining room window facing Forest Avenue. The street was a river and probably impassable at this point. He wouldn't be able to get to the store anymore than they could get back. He cursed and his breath clouded the window pane. An enormous branch swept down the street and crashed into the oak tree at the end of his driveway, creating a flare of water until it was pulled back into the current and disappeared. He couldn't believe his eyes. The world was washing away and his family was out there, caught in its wake.

There was a sudden lurching that nearly knocked Adam to the floor. A cracking sound, deep and profound seemed to come from inside the walls. Adam gripped the window frame as a vibration moved through the floor, opening gaps between the bleached oak slats and rattling the teacups hanging in the china cabinet. He felt the molding move beneath his hands and watched, hypnotized, as the foundation, with a wrenching screech, slid from under the house and drifted across the muddy pool that had been his front yard. The house dropped several feet as the walls exploded in clouds of plaster dust and the chandelier tore from its mounting and hit the table with a tremendous crash. Adam watched helplessly as the foundation pivoted into the rushing water where it broke into pieces and disappeared. The window shattered in his face and there was a sensation of a great weight pressing on his shoulders, as if they were the only thing between him and the collapse of everything he knew.


Would the rain ever stop? When they bought the house in the little town by the ocean, Adam had joked that the hill it sat upon would keep them safe from any rogue tsunamis, but now he worried the non stop rain would send them tumbling to the sea. Jesus! His windshield wipers could barely keep up as he wound through the Olmstead district to Lily's baby sitter's house. It used to be Annie's job to pick her up at the end of the day, but she couldn't drive anymore. She'd refused to surrender her keys after the seizure in the parking lot of Best Buy. They'd argued about it. But when she broke her arm in a fall down the stairs, it settled the matter. Lily had frowned when Adam picked her up at Suzanne's that afternoon and listened gravely as he tried to prepare her for another bandage. "You can use your new markers and draw flowers on her cast!" he'd said. She hadn't asked any questions and stared out the window from her car seat as they drove home. She was dead weight as he carried her across the yard. They paused at the door and Adam pressed his lips to her ear. He had to say it. It was irresistible. "I'll always take care of you my Lily," he whispered, and she started to cry. Lily knew a lie when she heard one.

Adam had altered his hours at work until they could figure out a different arrangement. The battery in the Volvo was already dead from sitting idle while Annie drifted toward the horizon of their lives.

Suzanne lived in a colonial at the top of a long drop towards the sea, her house crowning the crest of the street. Its porch steps ended in front of the graveled half moon she'd carved from her yard, allowing visitors to pull in and out without reversing from an otherwise blind driveway. Adam parked a few yards from the base of the steps and noted that just walking around the car to the shelter of her porch would leave him drenched. He released his seat belt and considered his options. Exiting the passenger door would save him a few steps. It wasn't until after he'd crawled over the console that he saw he could have pulled up another 6 feet or so and further reduced the distance he had to dash through the rain. Shit! Rather than crawl back, he slipped the car's stick shift into neutral and released the hand brake in order to let the car roll forward a few feet. It only took a second for him to understand he'd made a terrible mistake.

The car didn't move forward in a slow roll, but lurched into motion, and Adam realized he couldn't steer the wheel and work the brake from where he sat. It bounced onto the rain slicked pavement of Walker Road, driverless, as Adam tried to scramble back behind the wheel. But the strap of his raincoat sleeve had caught on the handle of the passenger door. He fought to free himself as the Accord picked up speed.

He tried maneuvering his leg over the console to reach the brake pedal while holding the wheel with his left arm and struggling with his right. The handbrake was no help and while he could steer the car well enough, he could do nothing to slow the descent.

The road ended in a 90 degree turn, just above the cliffs along Shore Drive. Adam knew, without a doubt, he would not be able to make it at this speed. He was going to hit the guardrail and there was a moment of detachment as he considered the damage his car was about to sustain. Every swipe of the windshield wipers brought the intersection nearer and he braced for the impact to come.

Just before the corner, the road dipped precipitously and with a tremendous bump Adam felt the Accord become airborne. There was a sudden silence as the tires left the pavement. He watched the guardrail pass beneath him as the front of the car tilted into free fall. The rocks rushing toward him were wet, and covered with black seaweed.


Adam turned off the radio and listened to the hiss of his tires in the rain. The trip had been a horror show, navigating flooded highways in torrential downpours. The last stretch he'd spent dodging rock slides and road closures, turning what should have been a 2 hour drive into a 16 hour ordeal. But now, finally, he thought he could see the glow of Boston in the distance. There was just a little more to go and this nightmare would be over. He couldn't remember the last time there'd been some blue in the sky.

A river running alongside the highway had risen to the level of the road and was starting to wash over the pavement in huge puddles. It looked oily in the dark. Adam was exhausted and his arms ached from gripping the steering wheel for so long. But finally, after hours of gridlock and backtracking on alternate routes, he was moving fast enough for his tires to raise some spray.

He was desperate to get home. Annie was barely holding on. Dr. Wen had said "days." Adam had promised the visiting nurse he'd be back by noon, and now it was almost midnight. He was too tired to remember what had happened. He'd left to run an errand and got lost. All he knew now was that Chloe and Lily needed him.

His vision blurred at the thought of their names. Protecting them had become his obsession, but it could not be done and his failure had made him complicit in the collateral damage that swamped them all. He could shake his fists at the heavens for the rest of his life, and probably would, but the heavens didn't give a shit. It was best not to dwell on it too much. It made the nerves in the back of his neck constrict and was generally unhelpful.

They'd considered hospice. But Annie wanted to die in their home, surrounded by the people and books she the hospital bed they'd installed in the living room...draped with the antique quilt, embroidered with butterflies that Lily had taken from her bed. Annie could not walk or talk anymore. Adam took over at night, after the nurses left. He fed her and carried her to the bathroom and slept on the floor of the living room in the event she woke during the night. "It won't be long," Dr. Wen had said to him. "Days." He was amazed and appalled to find himself comforted.

In fact, Adam had wanted Annie to go to the hospice. It seemed to him the girls could not be exposed to any more. It was obscene. How much could they be expected to endure? Hospice would give them a gentler transition, and wouldn't include any more ambulances screaming up the street and parking in their driveway. But the truth was, her illness had gnawed the flesh from his bones. They'd been so determined to fight this evil when it began, but it had beaten both of them, stolen their happiness as it took Annie bit by bit and forced them all to watch. He knew a part of him opened its arms to welcome the inevitable with something that felt like relief.

The car hydroplaned briefly where the river pooled on the pavement. There was a tunnel ahead, carved into the New England granite, and Adam welcomed the respite from the constant rain. Once out the other side he'd just need to get across the causeway and he'd be home!

He urged the car toward the dark maw of the tunnel and felt a peculiar sensation of being swallowed as he entered. He could sense the weight of the rock walls and roof enveloping him as he turned off the windshield wipers. He was wishing for a cigarette when the taillights of the cars in front of him flashed brightly, then held steady. Not a good sign. Had there been an accident? Adam skidded to a stop and exited the car, stepping into several inches of icy water as traffic lined up behind him. There was no place to go! He walked forward a few steps and felt the water rise to his ankles.

A huge section of the highway had collapsed, leaving a deep hole in the center of the road that made it impassible in either lane. A 5 inch ledge of pavement still clung to the sides of the tunnel, but the hole in the road was too deep to cross. You couldn't see the bottom of it in the darkness. Adam joined a small crowd, splashing about near its edge.
It was immediately clear that the only way out would involve the coordinated effort of an endless line of cars operating in reverse, stopped now in two long rows, one behind the other. There wasn't going to be time for that.

The highway sagged beneath his feet and the rush of water nearly toppled him. He began inching his way along the ledge of pavement, clinging to the tunnel walls just above the chasm that had already filled to its brim with a thick, churning water. When he reached the far side of the collapse, the road turned upward, away from the flood. The thunder seemed nearer than before and Adam moved towards it instinctively, his fingers groping the tunnel walls as he inched deeper and deeper into the dark. He immediately grew disoriented and couldn't make sense of the sounds he heard. Was someone weeping?

There was a strange rumble that grew deafeningly loud. It sounded like an oncoming train. He clamped his eyes shut as a swirl of wind and dust swept past him. He pressed his body against a shelf of rock as the echoes of screaming faded in the distance. He decided to follow them.

The pitch of the road steepened abruptly. He blundered forward, his arms outstretched and descended in a widening loop into the main tunnel again. There was only a monochromatic expanse of gray mud as far as he could see. The abandoned vehicles were covered with it from top to bottom, surrounded by twisted mounds that looked like bodies. The eerie silence was broken only by the sound of dripping water as he floated forward, searching for his car. It was the only thing he could think to do.

And suddenly he knew it. Annie was dead. He knew it all at once and he bent at the waist as it scorched through him. He couldn't breathe. It felt as if he'd swallowed a sharp stone that turned in his throat, embedding itself. It would leave a scar.

Annie... He covered his mouth with both hands and fought a sob, certain if he gave in to one there would be no end. He would do that later. It would be sweet and welcome, but not now, not yet. First he needed to get to Chloe and Lily.

Adam thought he could see a light of some kind, pulsing against the night. It didn't look like lightning. There was no flash, no flare. Just a forlorn flickering in the distance. He began climbing over the entombed cars like a bug, inching towards the mysterious gauze of light that grew larger and clearer as he approached. Someone's house was burning down.


It was June, at last. Adam loved the beginning of summer - when the warm weather was no longer a fluke and the promise of more to come stretched ahead for months. He stood as the train pulled into the station and gathered his things, following the line of commuters as they shuffled off the train. He was slipping his book into his backpack when he looked up and saw her, standing alone at the end of the platform, waiting for him. Annie. She seemed completely unaware that she had died 3 months before.

He regarded her warily as he approached. Her hair no longer dulled and brittle from the chemo; the scar over her ear vanished. She cupped her elbow in one palm and tucked her chin into the other, waiting patiently at the end of the platform until Adam reached her side. And then she leaned into his arms, the stiffness in her spine relenting to his tentative embrace. Adam's heart raced. They'd stopped touching long before - one more thing the tumor had taken. Neither of them could bear the tears their lovemaking triggered. It had been a long time since he'd felt her body bend to his.

She took his hand and led him from the station and they started to walk home. Annie listened thoughtfully as Adam talked about the girls. Chloe was going to try out for her 2nd grade soccer team and Lily wanted a puppy that Adam had, so far, managed to postpone. With every step they took, the reality of Annie's presence chipped away at his disbelief. They'd bought a new couch he wanted her to see. The house was a different color. There seemed so much she'd missed!

They'd gone some distance before Adam noticed that Annie had yet to speak, as if her voice had been the price she'd paid to meet him. It was like the mermaid in Chloe's favorite video! He tried to remember what it was that broke the spell and gave the mermaid back her voice, but could not. Chloe would know. He tightened his grip on Annie's hand. The girls would get her to speak. She'd never be able to remain silent at the sight of them, and Chloe would remember what they'd have to do to restore her mother's voice. A sense of urgency swept through him, coursing over his shoulder down his arm and through the hand she held.

She'd taken a different way home and Adam didn't know where they were. The more they walked, the more foreign everything seemed. At every bend in the road he glanced nervously for something that might look familiar but the light seemed different here. It was difficult to see and he was afraid to let her know. Admitting it would just confirm her deepest fears about him.

They came to an intersection where several boulevards converged and finally, he confessed. There didn't seem to be any other choice. A bell tower sounded in the distance. He had a sudden sense that time was running out. "I don't know how to do this Annie," he said. "Forgive me. I'm so lost..." He threw out his hands and watched in the fading light as she took them in hers again. Her beautiful hands. Adam had always loved her hands, with their long fingers and perfectly manicured nails. Annie had never allowed herself any vanity, except for her nails. They were as delicate and lovely as ever.

There was a quickening; a suddenness that seemed to freight the air and Adam knew she could come no further.
He felt a familiar stab of guilt and grief as Annie knelt and tied his shoelace, even as her image crumbled piece by piece, like a sand castle left to tides.

They'd been standing on a sidewalk that bordered a little park, where couples strolled and mother's pushed their carriages. Adam sat heavily on a bench and watched the sand scatter from the spot where Annie had stood. The hand she'd held was flecked with mica that glittered in the fading light. He rubbed it with his thumb. He wasn't sure how long he'd sat until he looked up through a tangle of branches and saw a perfect patch of filagree against the witness of the moon.

Adam took a deep, ragged breath and tasted salt on his tongue. The ocean. He could smell it. He could hear it too. It sounded close. He knew if he could find it, he could follow it home. He glanced at his watch. Lily and Chloe would be waiting. There'd be a place along the way he could stop and get them something for dinner. He walked to the end of the block, and turned at the corner toward the sound of the waves.



  1. Your writing is amazing. Each of these dreams could be made into a book. The first dream I think is my favorite. There seemed to be more going on.
    But all of them were amazing. I don't know what else to say about them. Wow.

  2. Amazing writing. I couldn't stop reading. I loved them all and agree each dream could lead us into a great short story or book. The water and storms are so symbolic of life. Really good writing.

  3. Ric honey, you are an exceptionally visionary writer. Your own pain is so easy to touch in this piece, and I thank you for sharing yourself with us. To describe your writing as "very touching" seems to almost cheapen the experience, so I won't go there. I am inspired, however, by your command of the metaphor, and at the powers of observation that bring these characters to life. Kudos, my dear friend. You're definitely on the road you dreamed of being on--already. I suspect you shed blood to create this piece, because it certainly drew blood to read. I love you.

  4. Excellent writing. It grabs you and impels you to keep reading. It is always devastating when death enters your home, but one has to remember that life was there too. Keep following the waves.

  5. After reading the one about your father, I went looking for more, and came upon this perfect gem. You have an eye for detail that is impeccable and your subtle use of metaphors is very powerful. Unlike many writers, you trust your reader to make the connections. The final dream, with the tying of the shoe laces and finding your way home...just brilliant. So moving and powerful.