Have you ever had a dream where you don’t remember how exactly it begun but you got the feeling that you had just missed something important? I don’t know how the dream started or if it had been going along this whole time. I found myself in the middle of a conversation with Sanguinello as we sat on the roof of what appeared to be his Aunt’s house like we had so many years ago. It was night time and the stars were bright. The skyline of the city was full in charm and allure just looking at it made you feel like you had a chance to make it. But what lay hidden underneath all those lights was the dark underbelly where broken dreams and hope fell from the lights like shooting stars from the sky. It was there I knew my existence was. No longer one of the ones full of hope, that time had passed me by what felt like ages ago. And now like some sick parasite it was on to another unsuspecting youth with the stars in their eyes that I had lost from the grim taste of reality. This was all just a dream, one bitter dream. But for me the moment it really started was when he casually just turned his head to me and said “I’m not the one.”
“You’re not the one what Sanguinello? And why the fudge are we here of all places? Couldn’t we have been at a sunny field of flowers, perhaps a meadow, somewhere with a beautiful vista or something in this dream?” I started out sarcastically but ended in a question of my surroundings as my mind quickly caught up with us. “I’ve never been one to do things the way other have before me, you’ve known that. And there are rules one has to follow even in death. I can’t see you in a pure dream so right now we exist in a memory, one of my happier ones of us but it is one of your memories. Do you remember it? It was the second time you had visited here, the first being when you had found the pills that I hadn’t packed away just yet from when I had taken them earlier. We were sitting up here while eating the ice-cream that we pillaged from my Aunt’s freezer. You had only pajama shorts and a shirt on and I only had my pajama pants on and together we sat right here with you leaning against me and my arms around you trying to eat that ice-cream still even though we were both pretty much freezing. It was the first moment that I realized how much I cared about you, how much I loved you and that you actually loved me in return. I remember feeling so safe and secure that you had found out my secret and that you still liked me and you still wanted to be with me.”
“You know when you are dead things are revealed to you. Things that would have really been helpful to know when I was alive. I see you struggle every day because of me. And there is so much I need to tell you right now but I can’t. I’m not even supposed to visit you that’s why we are in a memory and not a real dream. Had we been in a dream it could have been any place you wanted it to be. But I had to see you tonight before it happens and so I used one of her loopholes. You have a very smart ancestor that just knows how to get around these sort of things. But that is not what I am here about. I just wanted you to know that I’m not the one. You know the one that everyone has. I was never yours, I never had one. But I’d like to think that I did when I was alive and it was you.” Sanguinello replied as the words came out of his mouth slower and slower, by the time he finished there was almost a painful pause in between each one. With that he looked away ago trying to fixate his gaze on something besides myself, a telltale sign that he was lying right through his teeth.
“If you’re not the one than who is?” I asked him sarcastically as I hide my emotions behind and old standby, making a joke out of everything so it didn’t seem so real or like it was happening to someone else and not me. This whole conversation pissed me off. Here I was talking about soul mates and comsic loopholes with my dead husband ever so casually. Reluctantly he said after a quiet moment as he took his time to adjust the buckles of his shirt a few times as he stalled “You’ve met him once already and like me you scared him away at first. Time and life have taken you far from each other but one day when you wake up without all the pain in your heart that I’ve caused you will be the day that you’ll meet him again.”
“Shouldn’t you be ending your sage advice with young grasshopper or padawan?” I asked him still sarcastically hoping that it would convey a warning of my anger that was about to boil over. I had gotten over and accept the facts of my life so why was he here? “Maybe if you were green but I’m just a pink elephant what do I know?” He said trying to make light of everything that had happened but it was a forced lightness that was full of bitterness as I watched him figuratively choke down that pill he swallowed. But there was nothing of it that I enjoyed nor any of it that made me feel better to know that he was suffering right alongside of me “Do you know that I am pregnant? You left me pregnant and alone when you died.”
“Neither of us knew when I was alive that you were. Maybe if I did things would have been different for a while, I don’t know. The only thing that I do know is that this was always my fate since the day I was born this was going to be my ending. There was never any way of escaping it completely. But I have met Phoenix and I would have been proud to have been his father.” Sanguinello answered truthfully. That burning question of had he known that I had often wondered at night was finally answered. Some simple part of me had hoped that he would have said yes but the realist in me had always known that the answer would be something along those lines. We sat in silence for a moment before I broke it with an observation “You sound so calm and sage with everything.”
“I am calm now but never completely at ease. I thought I escaped one pain but I only traded it for another. Please know that I never meant to hurt you” Sanguinello looked away distracted for a moment as if someone was talking to him. His eyes searching in front of us seeing something or someone I couldn’t. Whatever he knew he wasn’t sharing, not at that moment. For now I could practically see in his mind him prioritizing things, things that he needed to tell me and things that could always wait. Weighing out emotions against reason to see what was the stronger of the two. We were both on the verge on breaking as our time was being cut short. Sanguinello looked me right in the eyes as he began to speak “I don’t have much more time here but promise me that you’ll…?”
“I don’t have to promise you anything! You left me in the worst way Sanguinello. How could you do that to me? How could you? And then you’re here babbling on about how you were never the one for me? That’s a fudging lie and you know it. If I was ever to have such a ridiculous thing as a soul mate it would have been you. Not someone that I apparently told off at one point or another. You’re such a berryhole Sanguinello. Fudge you, seriously fudge you.” I cried angrily as I sound found myself trying to hit him. “How could you do this to me!?! How? I loved you more than anything and anyone and I gave you everything and… and now you’re gone… Forever. I’ll never see you again and neither will our child. How could you do this to us?”
I don’t know how I ended up in his arms, the last place I wanted to be but I did. Anger and hurt radiated through my body as it trembled and I cried into his chest. I felt the tips of his fingers starting up at my crown and trailing their way down to my back slowly as I heard in between broken words the sound of muffled crying. Pulling away I looked up into his face to see tears trailing down his face as he looked me straight in the eyes, reminding me so much of the day I first saw him. “I’m sorry Starry. I’m so sorry… I never meant to hurt you. I can finally be the kind of guy that you deserved and I always wanted to be for you and I can’t even be with you. Instead I get to watch you fall in love with someone that is just about as broken as I made you and spend the rest of your life with him, happily. I’m finally at peace with everything that has ever gone on in my head and my life but I don’t have you and it causes me more pain than everything combined when I was alive. Starry I messed up so badly, I really fudged up. I miss you so much, it’s only been a few months but I can’t take being away from you for the rest of a lifetime but there is not thing else that I can do besides wait for you. I’d take it all back if I could just to be back there with you and our son.”
“Go.” I said coldly to him as he tried to cling to me pulling me back to him, his warm embrace while he continued to apologize. I wanted nothing but to let his arms surround me again and feel the way I did when he held me before but I couldn't shake my anger, my rage of how much he had hurt me, his aunt and everyone that has ever loved or cared about him in his final act. “Go get out of here! Don’t you hear me Sanguinello? Go! I don’t want to see you, not now not ever again. Don’t wait for me because I will never be there. Will you just go?” I screamed horribly at him my anger taking over hand in hand with every other emotion that surfaced though the heartbreaking pain I felt in my chest fought harder to be closest to it. And then he was gone like I had asked. He was gone for good never to be seen, not now and never again by my eyes. It was like losing him all over again. Everything I felt when I found out about his death resonated through me once again as I screamed in anguish calling out his name, begging for him to come back as the ground and everything shook violently while something else stopped me dead in my tracks.
It was a sound that almost mimicked fabric being ripped apart but much more terrible as it echoed throughout the cityscape I looked up to see the sky being torn from the ground exposing a thick ribbon in between them that looked like a mirrored version of the city, but only a faded one that lacked the vibrancy I knew so well throughout my life. The shaking continued as his Aunt’s house swayed along with the buildings in downtown Briocheporte. From that ribbon a strange and almost colorless land a fading darkness began to quickly spread through the city only leaving dark and bland silhouettes of what once was there a moment ago. Scrambling backwards across the rough roof quickly paying no attention to the ripping of my knitted socks as a stitch caught on it or the scuffing of my shoes as they scrapped along, there appeared to be no exit for me as I found my back pressed up against the wrought iron that trimmed Aunt Fina’s roof.
As the darkness spread I screamed in terror before I felt someone grabbing me from behind pulling me over the edge and that’s when I woke up. Or at least I thought I did. The sun was bright like the start of a new day as it poured all around me. There was softness under me but it was not my bed. In fact I wasn't even in my room. As I sat up and glanced around at my surroundings I could see that I was in the field of flowers that I had mentioned before. But instead of a rainbow of flowers they only had two colors. To any random person these shades might have looked alike but to my painter’s eyes I saw two very distinct ones, turquoise and teal. While I took all of this in I soon began to realize that the heavy breathing I was hearing was not my own. Looking down and to my side I was shocked to Sanguinello gasping on my side his face looked strangely sun burnt and redden. Looking up at me in between breaths as he gasped all he said over and over again was “I’m sorry” Stupidly I asked him the first thing that popped into my mind instead of what the fudge was that? Or really anything logical I went for the emotional response making myself even more surprised than I already was “Why didn't you come back when I called you?”
“Because you were right and I was ashamed. If I could go back in time I wouldn't have done what I did. I’d give eternity of peace just to be able to touch you again and be a father to our son. When I heard you scream everything went out of my mind and I just needed to save you even though I should have realized that you would have just woken up. I broke about every rule pulling you out of it and being here in this field of dreams, but right now I really don’t care. Starry it’s starting. You need to know this please I hope to berry that you’ll remember this when you wake up. But there has been something in motion from before we were born and even our parents and their parents. Phoenix is nothing like me. Whatever you do accept him for what he is and don’t try to fix him. He is the answer for my family and will put an end to this madness. But you can’t take away the voice without it the connection is lost and so is everything until the next one is born. I can’t be here any longer even with their help we are both fading from here and you awake soon. Starry I love you but you have to wake up. Wake up right now. Wake…”
Pain coursed through my body in waves that seemed barely apart from one and another. Struggling to get up I felt a significant gush of fluid break free from my body. Oh no, this is not good, not good at all. I thought as I frantically called for my parents while clutching my stomach as I tried to steady myself against the rolling pain I felt once again. Everything of my dream that remained with me melted away except for a name, Phoenix.
Phoenix Lychee Meringue was what my son’s name became. When I held him for the first time and said “Hello Phoenix.” It was like a piece of a puzzle sliding snugly in to place the way it just clicked. I may not have had much faith in anything but Phoenix; my Phoenix made it hard to think that was not some driving force that directed our fates.