Christmas Eve is about to turn into Christmas and people hurry by. Pubs are closing and won’t reopen until the holy day is behind us again. I watch the others, no doubt on their way to warm houses, loving families and comfort, while I wait—like a fool. Why am I here? I should be at home, drinking a beer while watching something inane on television. Chasing your dream is one thing; freezing your arse off because of something you dreamt is something different altogether.
But you’ve never dreamt like this before. The little voice in my head—an almost constant companion these days—wastes no time trying to convince me my reasons for being here are good. I can’t deny there’s something to the argument. I mean, I know for a fact that I’ve never dreamt the same dream every single night for three solid weeks before in my life.
It’s stupid to pin your hopes on a dream, no matter how repetitive. Dreams mean fuck all. I know that better than most. Every single dream I’ve ever had has been squashed. And yet…. He was there. Every single night he came to me, held me and allowed me to sleep peacefully, something I haven’t been able to do in two years.
The snow falling from the sky is as rare as it is unexpected and makes others still out and about giddy and playful. He first came to me on the first day of Advent. It felt like the answer to a prayer, even if I don’t believe in God, religion or miracles.
I wrap my arms around myself as I remember how low I felt that night. Another Christmas was less than a month away, people were talking about it; asking me if I’d started my preparations. As if I had something to prepare for, someone to give a present to. I wanted to hide, lock myself away and not resurface until the festivities were over, or—and that thought had been new and scared me—not resurface at all. I sat on the edge of my bed and whispered the words: “please help me. I can’t do this anymore. This loneliness is too heavy a burden.”
I didn’t see him that night. I woke up, as I always do, after two hours of sleep, to find myself not fighting a nightmare, but held in a warm and comforting embrace. Refusing to turn around and discover who the strong arms belonged to, I knew I should be scared but all I experienced was a deep rooted sense of belonging. He didn’t say a word that night, just held me until I fell asleep again. When my alarm woke me up—the first time in two years I’d needed it to rouse me—I was alone again. I had dismissed the whole experience as an illusion, when I noticed the indent in the pillow I hadn’t slept on.
When I went to bed the following night I’d managed to convince myself it hadn’t been real, that I had probably been more restless in my sleep than I usually was and had disturbed the pillow myself. The nightmares niggled at the edges of my consciousness that night until they were smoothed away by a hand softly stroking my hair. I opened my eyes this time and stared at the strong arms holding me close to what I could feel was a broad chest. In the moonlight filtering through the gap between my curtains the fine hairs on his arms appeared golden and I allowed myself the luxury of stroking a finger across his wrist before closing my eyes again and falling back asleep.
He’s shared my bed every night for the past 25 days. I started to think of him as my personal Advent calendar after ten nights. He gave me a little bit more of himself every time he appeared. Over time he touched more of me. On that tenth night he allowed me to turn around so I could see him in all his almost ethereal beauty. Last night he spoke to me for the first time and asked me to trust him and wait for him here.
I check the time. Two more minutes to go before midnight and I fight the urge to walk away. I’m convinced my wonderful illusion will be shattered if I stay. No matter how realistic those night time experiences were, regardless of the fact that his image is now imprinted on my memory with such clarity I could pick him out of a crowd of hundreds, I can’t make myself believe he’s really going to show up anywhere except in my bed, while I’m dreaming. It’s much easier to accept that I’ve at last lost my mind than try to explain how a beautiful stranger could find his way to my bed night after night, or why he would want to do that.
“You came.” The voice is as soft and as melodious as it was last night. His hand on my shoulder is familiar; I recognise its size and the soft, comforting, squeeze.
“You’re real.” I whisper the words as I slowly turn around; torn between hope and despair.
“I am now.” He bends forward and pushes his lips against mine, awakening longing, lust and hope inside me. “All it took was a little faith.”
With 896 words, this story is almost two flashes long. J Since I’m taking a break for Christmas and won’t be writing a flash for next week that seems appropriate. Thank you for reading my weekly shorts and encouraging me with your comments. I wish you the happiest of Christmas’s and wonderful New Year.
As always, others stories based on this image can be found in the Monday Flash Fics group on FB.