Echo

I jolted awake just now. My heart is pounding like I died for a minute. It startled me. I haven’t seen it for so long I sometimes wonder if I imagined it to begin with.

I dreamed of it again. I dreamed of that place where we were when you saw what I had seen before. Time and space were suddenly altered, just materials to be molded and shaped as we liked. I blinked and stood on the spot where I knew what you had known.

Then came the storm as it always does. There was so much lightning my heart didn’t need as many beats to keep the rhythm. You were unchanged. You didn’t even flinch as that rain drop splattered on your nose.

That canyon must have been the end of the world. I walked out as far as I could. I was convinced I would see the edge of the universe if I could just balance there long enough to lean out and look. I didn’t worry, not for a second. I knew your hands were there, sturdy and always ready. You’d catch me before I slipped if the rocks decided to abandon their usual resting places. You’d always catch me.

When the cliffs had finally had enough of my trespassing footfall, I reached behind my back for your sturdy hands. They weren’t there. Had I dreamed them, too?

As I slid and tumbled, I heard the echo of someone calling your name. It was loud, booming as if the entire planet was reflecting it back at me. It took the echo of the universe for me to recognize my own voice. Only my voice, alone with your name, new to me as if I had never spoken it outloud.

Just before I hit the ground, I caught the ledge of a bridge made of rock. It must have been there for thousands of years. It shattered in my hand as if its frailty was by design, vengeance for my foreseen trespass.

The shards of ancient rock were still in my hand when I finally hit the canyon floor. I clutched them against my breathless chest and strained to hear the lingering echo until the sky went dark.

My eyes are open wide and I’m gasping for air for what seems like several eternities before a breath finally comes. My ears are ringing with the echo from the canyon. Without instruction my eyes are darting around the room sorting out my surroundings, my mind scrambling to distinguish dream from reality. Did I dream your hands? Were they never really there? But I had never been so sure of something. They had to have been there. So why did I fall?

As my heart settles back to its normal pace, I feel a cramp in my hand. Still clenched in a fist. I relax my hand, half expecting to find the shards of rock. I find nothing but a sweaty palm, and I lay back down as a sadness settles in. Something I haven’t felt in a long time.

I suppose falling is inevitable for all who walk those cliffs so boldly. I assumed myself invulnerable to the forces at work in any of those places because when I dreamed of them, you were always there. Sturdy and always ready.

Almost always.

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SOTD: Double Feature

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