Some people would just enjoy the stability of companionship, job and home, but to her these just caused restlessness. Each day and night she would do the same things. She was tired of dreaming. So tired in fact that her dreams became the one thing she fixated on the most.
She remembered each one vividly, with little care for the reality of them. She could see faces she missed, people she cared about, places she had longed to visit, and things she had always wanted until they disappeared with the light blaring into her eyes from the morning sun. She would wake almost in tears that her life had not been so exciting. She wondered each day, “Why did I put my dreams away? And what should I do to get them back?”
One dream haunted her each night, intertwined in each dream for months. She would be sleeping then be suddenly awakened. Lying on her side, facing his back in bed, her eyes shoot open. She pushes herself up slowly, as not to wake the man. She walks to the window and looks at the view overlooking the city. It’s cold outside, she can see from the frost on the windows and smoke from the chimneys across the skyline. This isn’t what she wants anymore. A deep yearning for change tugs inside of her as she looks back at the man. She knows in that instant that she must go, see, and do the things she longs for. In a few minutes time she assembles a small bag of things: toothbrush, notebooks, pens, picture of her family, money, passport, two shirts, one pair of jeans, underwear, sweatshirt. She leaves behind anything that would resemble him, work, or the apartment. Leaving her purse on the table with her cellular phone and car keys inside, she goes to the phone and dials a taxi service. It is to arrive in a few minutes. With one last look, she scans the apartment. Leaving all her consistency, love, and care behind she walks out the door. With her house key she locks the front door and slides the key under it. Without looking back, she carries her backpack down the three flights of stairs and leaves her apartment. She gets into her taxi and drives away. She doesn’t know where she’s going, but she has enough money to fly someplace and start over. At this point she would usually wake up.
It was obvious to her after the two years they had been living together that she couldn’t live this same life anymore. She rarely talked to him about them together. She didn’t want to push him away, but as it appeared she needed him. She was no longer independent.
Their relationship had begun to wither after the six long years they had been together, prompting her to ask the question, “Will you still love me if I’m gone?”
The sparkle that once filled his eyes was almost extinguished by now, and made his response dull and lifeless. “Sure, don’t be nuts. You already know that.”
That was it. She remembered how silly she once was. Screaming at baseball games, joking around with friends, flirting with men she met in bars. Now all that seemed so distant. With him, she felt stupid to be the tiniest bit impractical. Real life was the main concern. Laundry on Thursdays. Groceries on Wednesdays. Lunch on Saturdays with sisters. All so practical. They never went out anymore, and they were never going to go out.
It was Thursday again, but this Thursday would be different. She packed a bag while he was still at work and put it back in the closet. She wondered if the dream could ever be real. Strolling through the grocery store, she put enough food in the cart for one. Only tonight’s mean was for two, she figured she wouldn’t waste the food if there wouldn’t be anyone there to eat it.
Talking over dinner, she didn’t know what to say. He asked, “How was work?” “Okay.”
“Did you find the film you wanted at the video store?”
“I didn’t go.”
“Are you feeling okay?”
“Just a bit tired, that’s all.” And that was the truth; she was tired. Tired of it all.
He fell asleep late that night to the sound of the television blaring. The colors from the set spilled onto the floor and into their bedroom, keeping her awake and more aware than she had been all day. She gets up from the bed and walks to the living room to give him a kiss on the cheek. Just before she touched him, he woke up with a jump. Her nearness frightened him, but he calmed down and pulled her onto his lap. He hadn’t done that in a while. In fact, he hadn’t looked in her eyes for a while either. As she kissed him, she wondered what she was doing. Could she leave all this behind?
They went to bed, one last time together.
At 2 am she woke up silently. She looked at the back of his head and rolled over to the edge to get up. She looked out the window and said to herself then she slipped on her robe “This is the last time.” She dressed in the bathroom.
Grabbing the bag from the closet, she walked toward the door. Stopping in the kitchen, she looked back to the room. If she left no note, if she took all her identity with her, would he ever find her? How bad would this hurt?
The key locked the door, and, just as it was in her dream, she slipped it under the crack in the door. There was no going back now.
The taxi brought her to the airport. She had no ticket and no place in mind, only money. As she approached the counter, she thought of all the things she wanted to do. It wasn’t too late to do them. The lady behind the counter smiled pleasantly, not knowing what she was about to do. She asked the lady where, out of the United States, she could go for $600, leaving tonight. There were three destinations. Somewhere in Bolivia, she ruled that one out right away. Spanish was never her strong suit and she never really liked the thought of drinking coffee on a hot day. The second was Austria. She had never thought about Austria, but it wasn’t appealing. The final destination was Ireland. Feeling that she could blend in there, she booked the ticket.
She had no idea what she would do there, but living a simple life could be good for her. She wondered if all the things she was giving up would be worth all this. Sitting silently in her window seat next to an elderly man with great wrinkles, she exhaled.
The flight was to stop once in New York for only a few hours, then, she would be flying to another place entirely. The dream that haunted here existence was now shaping her future. No longer would she be watching out the window of a dark apartment, with smoke billowing from the chimneys. The smoke was gone, now. Just the dream remained.
She smiled as she looked over the dreamy countryside, almost caught by the sun. Soon he would wake up and wonder where she was. And she would become one of his dreams.