< First Love
by Susan Gibb
He comes back to me in dreams, a black bear that is soft as storm clouds in the distance and thunder that rumbles not roars. In dreams I say the right thing. I am eloquent and nurturing. The words flow like a pipeline from my heart. I am good. I am caring. There are children who play in the foamy spray of the ocean, who build castles of sand that I protect with my life. I don't know whose children they are, but I think one has his eyes and my hesitant smile.
In dreams I am clever and witty at parties that go on forever in living rooms bigger than furniture stores and kitchens with Spanish tile flooring and freezers set up like closets down a hallway lighted by stars. I bake pies glowing with still sun-warm berries and cakes that self-frost with ice cream.
There are crowds that stream laughter and the low hum of talk. Now and then I catch him through the people who part like curtains drawn away from a window to see who is there and he beams between them like sunlight shining in through green broccoli trees.
My dreams are loud, my dreams are vibrant with colors that flash like pinwheels yet somehow all match and in daytime I've tried to paint with the life I see there but it dribbles in gray streaks on the walls. The new starts, fresh beginnings I grab in my fist turn to glass shards that cut through my fingers and bleed with the first flutter of eyelids at dawn.
In dreams I don’t sleep and in dreams, I don’t have to wake up.
published 8 December 2010