Improbable Warmth

Dearest Rachel –

I suppose I should be thanking you, yes you showed up in my dreams last night. Twice, in fact.

The first time, you were just lying in bed here beside me. Just reaching out to me, asking to be held (with, perhaps, the offer of a little more than that). The one thing that stood out to me, however, was the fact that you seemed to be improbably warm. Not dangerously so, like a pan that’s been taken out of the oven that’s so hot that you need potholders or the like. No, your skin held that peculiarly warm sensation that suggested that you were suffering from sunburn – or that I was somehow overly chilled. Except I was – as I still am – bundled under several layers of blankets (it is November, after all), so it shouldn’t have been the latter issue. And it wasn’t like it was uncomfortable to hold you; it just felt like it didn’t make sense that you would be so warm.

Indeed, I didn’t want to let go of you. But you know how dreams are, you don’t control them; so it (and you) faded away, leaving me in the dark trying to make sense of it while also realizing I needed to get back to sleep, as it was far too early in the morning to do anything else, even write about it.

And while I was aware of passing through several other layers of sleep thereafter, I did somehow reach you yet again later on. The scene was completely different, but no less incongruous. Somehow, it was supposed to be your family home, but it wasn’t anything like it, and I knew it in my heart and soul. For one, the walls were paneled with wood, like a faux-rustic cabin, and they went up to a height of at least fifteen (and probably more like twenty) feet to a skylight. It was beautiful, but it wasn’t your home. For another, it was well and truly decorated for Christmas, complete with holiday messages seemingly engraved into the wood paneling, along with the more expected trimmings of pine garlands and red ribbons and so forth.

We were talking to each other about how we should get down here more often during the year, as we were starting to associate the place with Christmas; all of which isn’t really true. Sure, when I was still working, I could only make it to your parents place over the holidays (because of my vacation schedule) but it was rarely ever decked out for the holidays – and certainly not like this vision – and since we alternated between my parents’ place and yours, it wasn’t as if I (or we) ever associated one place or another with the holidays. To be sure, we were never home – at least, at our home – for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean we had a single specific place that was were we spent them at.

But again, dreams. You come to certain conclusions, make certain pronouncements, that have no basis in objective reality outside of the dream itself.

And at this point, I think I was starting to realize that it was a dream. I don’t know if I just turned to you as we were walking through, talking about this, or if we sat down together… or even if I realized I was lying down in real life. But I do know I turned to you. You were wearing a casual red sweater you were known to wear during Christmas with a broad white stripe in the middle. I’m sure there’s a photo of you in it, but I’m not about to search for it at this time in the morning – it’s still dark, for crying out loud.

Anyway, I asked if I could ask you a question. You know that stupid little prefatory inquiry that has you murmuring “you just did,” in the back of your head. But you didn’t say anything like that, you just smiled, may be a little wanly, as if you knew what I was going to ask.

“Do you mind… if I look for someone else, now that you’re gone?” It was that permission that I never explicitly got from you while you were still around. I’d told you that I practically expected you to look for someone else if it happened to me, as I would’ve hoped you would’ve enjoyed the experience of being married enough to want to continue it, but you never specifically gave me that permission in turn.

I would take your smile as that permission, if it weren’t for the fact you were already wearing it before I asked, and you never spoke in response, as you once again faded with my own slowly dawning wakefulness.

It was a nice thing to see you again, honey. But I knew it was nothing more than a dream – it’s no more than I’m ever going to get a view going forward. I can’t expect closure from any of these episodes, let alone answers.

And I find myself wondering about the warmth of your skin; can you get sunburn from the shekinah glory? And can you bring it back to earth with you? It’s a strange thing to contemplate.

And one that leaves me hoping I can see you again sometime soon. Until then, remember… I love you, and I miss you.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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