The Storm Woke Me

Short Tragic Stories

Short Story

 

I was dreaming. I was dreaming of us. You and me. You were here. Lying next to me. I could feel your breath on my cheek. We ate scrambled eggs and salmon for breakfast and drank champagne and got a little drunk. Then we slept some more. You were there. Next to me. The wind blew the shutters open and you got up to close them. In the half-light I could see your silhouette. We spent the day walking. We walked and we walked and then we sat under the trees in the park and you read Hemingway to me. Our fingers entwined. We took our shoes off and buried our feet in the grass. The sun was hot on our skin. I quietly worried we would burn. We did a little. Then you said you were hungry so we went to a café and ate croque monsieurs and drank a bottle of red wine. I think it was Merlot. Your eyes. I remember your eyes. But I don’t remember why, I just remember feeling comfort in them. I dreamt about the first time you said you loved me. I dreamt of our wedding. Like it was yesterday. Was it? I dreamt of her birth. I remember her eyes. Those eyes again. Yours. Just like yours. I dreamt all of this. The three of us. I remember her first day at school. I remember how I cried. But I didn’t let you know. I missed her so much. But she loved school. Every minute of it. And then she grew up. Our little baby grew up. Into such a beautiful woman. I remember when she came to me and told me she was ill. My heart stopped. I dreamt all of this. I remember telling you, and watching your face. I will never forget that. Maybe this is why it comes back in my dreams. Do you remember that? Of course you do. We watched as she fought. She fought so hard, didn’t she? We couldn’t help her though. Could we? We couldn’t, could we? Our baby. So brave. So strong. But she’s peaceful now. No more fight. No more pain. That’s a good thing. Isn’t it, darling? That’s a good thing. Isn’t it? And then it was you and I again. Just like how it was in the beginning. She had touched our lives. She had loved us as we had loved her. She will always be with us. She will always be young. She will always be our baby. Before she was taken away.

I was dreaming. I was dreaming of us. Do you remember that day we walked to the park and you read Hemingway to me? You read for ages and then we ate croque monsieurs in that cafe. I always remember that. I remember the waiter. I thought he looked like Cary Grant, do you remember me saying that? You said I was right. I always remember that. We loved her so much, didn’t we? Why did they have to take her? Why wasn’t it someone else? I’m sorry. I was just dreaming. Of us. The three of us. I always do. In my dreams we are walking. The three of us. The sun is warm on our faces. I worry we might burn. Her skin is so young. So pure. Our baby. We walk for miles and miles. We walk and yet we never tire. The day goes on and on. It never seems to end. When I look at the sky the sun is high, it never sets. It follows us. Forever warm on our skin. We walk and we laugh and we run. We sit for a while under a tree. We take off our shoes. I can feel the grass beneath my feet, even now. I can feel how the blades tickle my toes. We lie and watch the clouds. Looking at the shapes. A sheep, a lion, a dragon, a mouse. I can see them now. I always dream of the clouds. They passed us one by one, the dragon, the lion, the sheep, the mouse. Always the mouse. She always saw the mouse. Our baby. I dreamt all of this. I always do. I dreamt about that day she came into our bed. I remember she said ‘The storm woke me’ and we cuddled up. The three of us. The wind shook the shutters open and you got up to close them. I remember your silhouette in the half-light. I always remember that. I dream a lot. Now you are gone. I dream of us. I forget you are not here. I forget it’s just me now. Sometimes I reach out for you. I can feel your hand. Your breath on my cheek. I can see those eyes. Her eyes. I always remember your eyes. It was like myself looking back at me. If I dream you are there. She is there. Like it was.

The sun is warm on our faces. I think we might burn. I always did. I don’t know why. Sometimes we did a little. I remember that. The clouds skit across the sky. They move faster and faster, I can barely tell the shapes anymore. I watch the leaves on the trees change colour. First green, then yellow, then brown and then they fall on our faces. But we just lie there, together. Our fingers entwined. I can see your lips moving. But I can’t hear the words. I can see the book in your hand, but the words just float away. You smile and look at me and I look at her. She points up to the sky and says, ‘Look, a mouse! Can you see?’ I cannot see, but I say, ‘Yes darling, I can see’. The clouds are moving too fast. I cannot tell the shapes anymore. I dreamt all of this. I always dream of clouds. I always dream of us. Do you remember that day we lay in the park and ate croque monsieurs in that café? I always remember that. I like to dream. We are always together in my dreams. Like it was yesterday. The years vanish and we are young again. The three of us. In my dreams. I was dreaming of us. I always do.

The leaves are green, they do not turn and the sun does not set. Forever warm on our skin.

 

more by EMMA ROBERTS

photograph by Daniel Zedda

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  • Jun

    I enjoyed this, thank you. Among other things, the rhythm was great.

  • Lucas

    Very moving. The short sentences and repetition work well in creating a dream like quality – dare I say one of uneasiness. This piece had far more depth and character than I first expected. I look forward to reading more of your work.

  • Lucas

    I just read it again. This is really beautiful. I feel foolish for not getting it at first. The language is so honest and untainted, like that of a child’s and the words swirl around gathering meaning as they come back around. I really love this piece.