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Dedicated to Dave
Submitted by Anonymous
He is dreaming of waves and brightly colored fish just beneath them, and of our little son splashing on a black sandy beach. I know this by the way he is breathing, by the gentle movement of his eyes beneath long, still-boyish lashes. He smiles in his sleep and moves, turning on his side, taking his face away from my view. Jake, asleep beside him, turns seemingly at the exact instant, in the same direction; small mirror image, seven years worth of good luck.
The hammock, secure between towering sycamore and sheltering maple, sways with their movement but doesn't capsize. Both smell like grass, and flowers, and the sun, here in our Illinois backyard on a hot August afternoon. They are, for a while, far away from me--somewhere tropical, together in a bright blue boat: Hawaii, of course. I know by the way the dolphins are laughing, by the smile in my husband's eyes over his son's utter delight.
I go to make lunch before they wake, and daydream: Of nighttime, of the beach he and I have never been to, of finding each other there and just being...us, alone; our own, private delight. Of us breathing together and smiling like dolphins with a secret to share.
There was no honeymoon, no romantic escape--we jumped right in, with five girls between us, to make a family. Forward, with no regrets, very little time, and not much money. Ten years younger than his youngest sister, along came Jake. Romance was still real, but it was a look exchanged across a boy's first steps, an insider-smile exchanged in front of oblivious, dancing girls. Romance was my husband teaching Karate, placing hands on my hips to demonstrate a movement, and suddenly between us a shared thought, a quick but meaningful exchange of glances, him blushing and me proud of that fact. Romance was sitting in the car in a parking lot, sipping hot cups of coffee, looking at the vast sunset and wondering if it looks the same in far off places.
Perhaps in Hawaii. But then suddenly I am back again, here in our world. Humming "Over the Rainbow," I slice fresh pineapples; I know by their scent the importance of dreaming.