Sometimes, you need to tell him you dreamt about him.
I dreamt of you the other night.
I know, I know, I should be telling this to you over the phone, or over a cup of tea so that I can see your breath quicken and your lips turn up in a teasing grin, and your fingers tighten, almost imperceptibly.
Maybe some other time.
This dream deserves a white canvass, and a space that you can return to again and again, and a form in which you can relive it over, and over. (It also gives me the guilty pleasure of writing it, slowly, languorously, perfect for a soft, Sunday afternoon).
It was the first time I was in your apartment. You had wanted to eat outside, but I had insisted that I wanted something simple, homecooked, and just a quiet space to spend time with you. I didn’t have much time in the country, and I wasn’t a fan of being in crowded places.
You understood; you graciously allowed me into your safe space, into your sanctuary. When I had entered, the space was filled with all kinds of smells. Mouthwatering.
Let me help, I insisted. My mother has taught me better!
You didn’t respond; instead, you laughed it off and poured me my first glass of red. Sit down, let me take care of this.
I ended up in the kitchen with you; I’d forced you to have a glass of red yourself. I helped to slice the okra, the chillies, while you pottered around the stove, tossing, sautéing. We were quiet.
I had told you before that I liked quiet the most; it was my favorite mode of conversation. You understood.
I reached around you to get a sharper knife, my arm brushed against your side, and your heat was like a soft murmur, a consolation. I think you felt it too.
I didn’t want to find reasons to touch you. I couldn’t help myself.
The dream has moved. You know how dream-time is. Sometimes, excruciatingly slow; seconds last for hours, light travels sedately. At other times, years pass by swiftly, lives are lived in a few frames.
I was stretched out on your couch. I was on my second bottle of red, I think you were too. Everything felt, smelt, tasted mellow. Even in dreams, alcohol was intoxicating. You were seated near my feet, reading out loud. It was a book of Ghibran’s poetry, something I had gifted you when we first met. I had told you the book saved my life. You had said you had lost your copy, and you had been meaning to get one for some time. I had been happy.
“But if you love and must needs have desires, let
these be your desires:
to melt and be like a running brook that sings
its melody to the night….”
Your husky voice. Soft night light. The lingering smell of fine wine.
My skin twitched in anticipation as you continued.
“To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.”
The heat from your neck meandered to my foot.
I sat up, looked over your shoulder, read the last lines together with you. The heat from your neck breathed stronger. Your voice had a deeper catch to it; it might have been that my breasts were pressed against the side of your arm, or it might be the glass of wine that you’d just finished.
“To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved
in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.”
Silence. I sighed.
You cleared your throat. Once, twice.
I was still looking over your shoulder.
If I don’t kiss you now, I might never have the courage to do it, I say.
The side of your face, first. Then your lips. Your hands found my hair. You were slow, and you took your time. We began over, and over. Maybe it was the way dream-time worked. Maybe it was just you, and me, and the way we were meant to be.
My glass of wine continued to glisten in the light.
I wake up, gasping.
I send this to you with trembling fingers. Keep safe.