She closes her eyes and thoughts meld themselves together, gray melted candle wax forming lines and shapes on blank linen pages.
She hears wind begging entry through the boarded windows so opens her eyes feeling as if she is being fanned, sees dove feathers flowing from the ceiling to her bed, hears a dark and muted sound. She is the Dove.
She is scared and unsure whether to move, unsure whether she is awake or dreaming. There are no bars around the bed, no walls, no chains. If it’s a dream, she is free. If it’s not, then she is unsure.
She swings her feet over the bed scared, opens her nightstand and grabs her cell phone which starts vibrating as soon as she touches it.
Looking down she sees a reflection looking back at her from the screen’s face but it’s not her face, it’s his. Stilled by this she begins a slow smile, forgetting about the feathers and the silence. The face returns her greeting.
“How did you get there, I mean, how, um… What’s going on?” she whispers.
Wordless, he stares back at her, the smile never leaving his face. It scares her so she puts the phone back in the nightstand and cowers under her bedspread, covering her face with a pillow and working to breathe as softly and slowly as possible.
“This must be a dream,” she thought.
She heard a loud crash and knew that glass had fallen to the floor in the other room. Sitting upright she screamed and jumped out of bed, again grabbing the cell phone from the nightstand drawer.
Without looking she used her voice to tell it to call 9-1-1. When there was no ringing she looked down and he was still there smiling at her. Screaming she dropped the phone and ran to her bathroom.
As soon as she turned on the light she saw him standing on the other side of the mirror.
“What do you want? What is this? What’s happening?!” she screamed.
He looked down at the counter sink and following his gaze she saw the book that her thoughts had bled into.
She walked over and opened it to the first page:
She ran her fingers over the hardened gray wax. Her thoughts bled the following:
“I hate this place and want to go home. Any place but here. It feels like prison and there is nowhere to roam. I hate my life. I hate pretending that I don’t hate my life. I hate pretending that I don’t hate the people in my life. I hate my job, the weather, people’s expectations of me. I hate that I hate. Everything I want is an impossibility. The person I love doesn’t love me and I have no friends as far as the eye can see. I don’t know who I am but I’d like to be me.”
She turned the page and saw that a small paragraph had been added in red wax. She was sure these couldn’t be her thoughts. She read the following:
“This place you are in is only a test of your faith and endurance. It will not last forever. There are muscles you are building that you cannot see but that you will need in order to enjoy the freedom that is soon to be yours. The darkness will lift, the clouds will clear and what you want to do is only waiting for you to do it. You are loved more than you realize. If someone is not in your life, it doesn’t always mean they will not return, but it does mean they are not there for a reason. Do not concern yourself with the reason. Be a friend and you will find a friend. Be a you and you will find the you. Write a happy story so that all can come true.”
Through her tears she looked up at the mirror. He was still there, still smiling. She realized he was the Riverbed.
He looked down at the bathroom counter and again following his gaze she saw a lighter and matches.
She looked up once more and he was gone.