Sweet Dreams of Misery

July 23, 2008
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I'm trapped in the middle of a ring of a fire. Not a happy, glowing, orange campfire, but an angry, red, scorching fire. Not the kind of fire that enjoys roasting marshmallows and lighting up the night, but the kind of fire that loves destroying houses and forests. All around me, suspended in the air, are pictures. Moving pictures.

When I look closer, I immediately learn that they are memories. Our memories. There's the time we went to the elementary school playground at midnight and danced to "Sweet Dreams" by the Eurhythmics. It's your favorite song. There's the time we tried to become brilliant artsits, and ended up using each other as our canvases. Next to that is our first kiss. I keep looking and find the day you left my house after our huge fight.

At that moment, I wonder if you remember. I wonder if you remember the heat as your face turned the color of Santa's suit when you saw the fresh cuts on my wrist. You got so angry. I wonder if you remember.

I continue to look at our memories and see the happiest day of my life. We're lying in the grass, licking the rainbow lollipops you bought at the convenience store, and watching the clouds. You took a plastic ring out of your pocket. The kind of ring you get out of gumball machines. You asked me to stay with you forever. We were only fifteen, but I said yes anyway.

I'm still looking at our memories when the flames start to reach higher. I try to grab the memories before they burn, but I am suddenly frozen. I am forced to sit and watch our time together blacken and crumple to ashes. Then, suddenly, you are there. You're grabbing at my hand and pulling me away from misery, just like you always do.

I blink and now we are surrounded by what look like humongous cotton balls. I can feel the wind blowing my hair against my ears, tickling me. We're flying. I didn't know you could fly. I shouldn't be surprised. You can do anything. We land on a cloud and you're holding me, whispering in my ear that you will love me forever.
And then there is banging on a door. Someone's yelling. I force my unwilling eyes to open.

"Riley, honey, if you don't wake up right now, we're going to be late for the funeral."

That's when reality forces itself upon me and I remember.

I find myself reaching for my razor blade. When I realize it's not there, I remember that I threw it away. It made you so angry. I wanted you to be happy.

They play "Sweet Dreams" at your funeral. It was your favorite song. It's open casket, but I sit as far back as possible. I hear people whispering that it's such a shame that so many young people die in car accidents. You were only seventeen.

As I walk to the car I pause for a moment to look up at the sky. I see you. I didn't know you could fly. You wink at me, and you're pulling me away from misery, just like you always do.





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