I thought I might regale you with the tale of the first time that Kyle took me to his hometown. But then I realized that it’s a pretty boring story. Instead, I will tell you about the first dream that I ever remembered. It’s much more cohesive than most people’s dreams. Also, it will make you question what kind of child I was if you haven’t already.
One night, my babysitter convinced me to eat all of my mac and cheese by telling me that if I finished my dinner, I would have the most wonderful dreams when I went to sleep. Fork precariously hanging out of my mouth, I peered into her dark brown eyes skeptically before deciding that she was probably telling the truth. I finished my mac and cheese with gusto. That night, my five year old subconscious Dreamed.
Lightning flashed bright white across the ugly purple sky punctuated with a roaring bang of thunder. Startled into alertness, I looked up from the newspaper at the evening storm raging outside the train car. Setting the newspaper aside, I nervously smoothed my high-waist pencil skirt over my thighs and retied the large bow neckline on my blouse. The vivid sky crackled with electricity as I proceeded to fuss with my carefully coiffed finger curls; lightning illuminated the sky once more.
“We need to go.” A gruff voice growled at me from the seat across from me. Distracted by the sky’s theatrics, I had forgotten about my companion. The weak light from the exposed bulb swinging above us showed me the tan brim of a fedora obscuring a handsome if stern visage. I heard the rhythmic ticking of the train over the tracks murmur like a heartbeat as I surveyed his poorly lit features with curiosity.
He stood abruptly, leaving the spicy scent of cologne lingering in his wake. The trembling light bulb cast shadows across his khaki trench coat, forming half-remembered patterns that sparked some distant memory within the recesses of my mind. He reached over and pulled me to my feet insistently but not roughly. I stumbled slightly in my patent leather pumps, unsteadied by the urgency behind his movement.
“Follow me.” He commanded brusquely as he shoved the wooden panel open and stepped into the narrow hallway. Entranced, I watched his trench coat disappear around the corner before prodding myself into action.
I gripped the door frame and felt my fingers brush against a knot of wood. I was prepared to trot after him when the already unreliable lighting sputtered and died completely. The train swayed violently on the tracks, and I was flung against the door jamb unceremoniously. I fell to my knees on the cherry wood parquet and crushed cigarette ash into the delicate weave of my nylons before regaining my feet.
The lights flickered in and out as I hurried down the tight corridor toward the end of the car where my companion had been headed. A woman’s soulful song broadcasting from the PA system highlighted my progression. The record skipped, and I heard rapid footsteps behind me. I turned my head and viewed my pursuer with horror. A balding man with a sagging belly was chasing me, the dangerous gleam of a pistol visible in his left hand.
The murmur of the train’s progress grew to a deafening roar as I pried open the metal door and moved between train cars with alacrity. I hastened to find my companion, tripping into one of the non-passenger cars. I caught my breath for a moment until the sliding side door of the car crashed open, exposing us to the storm’s fury.
A blaze of lightning revealed the scene to me. My companion was standing at the top of a pyramid of blonde hay bales, his trench coat rippling furiously in gusting wind. He stared unflinchingly out the door of the boxcar at the moving countryside, half of his face aglow from the lightning’s brilliance.
My pursuer’s entrance into the car was announced with a boom of thunder. The sudden brightness of yet another flash of lightning silhouetted him against the open door. Alarmed, I looked up into the shadowed face of my hero and began to climb the hay bales, but my heels impeded my progress. I could feel the cold shadow of my tracker mere inches behind me. My companion thrust a hand down to assist me, and a shiver of awareness ran through my body as I grasped his outstretched hand and felt him pull me up.
The movement pulled me straight into consciousness, and I reluctantly relinquished the dream.