More Than You Realize

November 8, 2011
At 11:33 PM, Ellie just woke up from the first one of her re-occurring dreams. There are so many images, but she doesn’t understand any of the meanings. “I have all I want, but the lines don’t fit.” Those were the only words she could recall from her dream. “Hey,” she whispered as she poked her sister on the arm, hoping that just for once this would work. Was it her imagination or did she hear some sort of “Uhhhmmm” sound coming from the sheets? Oh, well, she thought. It was worth giving a shot. “What do you think this means: “I have all I want, but the lines don’t fit?” the girl asked. “Did you really just wake me up to ask me that?” Izzy, her older sister, suddenly said while sitting up on her bed. “Uh, yeah…” Ellie said as if this was the most obvious and simple thing in the world. Yzzy fixed her hair, and sat down on the bed. “Repeat the lines,” she ordered. “I have all I want, but the lines don’t fit,” Ellie repeated as she was told. Yzzy touched her hair, looked at the full moon on the window, thought for a second and said: “Well, maybe it’s referring to the lines we trace in our life. The path we chose to go on; the roads we decide to take; the decisions that leads us to people, opportunities, love, mistakes, and regrets. You know… fate. Maybe you can have all you want, but your entire existence seems off, and wrong, and you’ve forgotten what happiness feels like.” Ellie smiled, and she hugged her sister. “Thank you,” she whispered. “You can go back to sleep now. I’m sorry I woke you up. I love you.” Yzzy hugged her sister back, and said just as silently, “No problem. Do it again, though, and I will murder you.”Ellie laughed as she went back to bed, thinking about what her sister had said. Full of hope, she closes her eyes, and waits for the day her dreams will start to make sense.
At 11:39 PM, Joseph steps outside for the last cigarette of the day. He takes a deep breath, and looks at all the years of his beloved wife’s work right in front of him. He knows what the neighbors think of this garden, how she puts so much effort into it only to have it shattered by kids playing football on a regular basis, how it is too much for a bunch of lousy apartments, or how it would be nice if such a beautiful garden didn’t look twice as bad during the winter time. Maybe, he thought, these aren’t the thoughts of the neighbors; they might as well be his own. He takes one last look at the place he will spend the rest of his life in, and slowly shakes his head. At 11:45, Joseph quietly steps inside. He will go to bed, kiss his wife goodnight, and wonder when his heart will stop beating last.
At 11:44 PM, Anna takes the last look at the house she grew up in. She knows that things happen for a reason, that maybe this was meant to happen all along, and that the future holds great things and blah blah… That’s what she’s been told all these last months. But no one truly knows how I feel, she thinks. No one ever truly knows how things feel. People can’t say “I know what you mean,” “I know what you’re going through,” “I feel you,” because she knows we all feel things differently. We either thinking through more than we should, or we don’t think through it at all. She goes to her room, or what used to be her room, and almost breaks down and cries: everything around her is a big black hole of nothingness and emptiness. Nothing Anna has ever done has felt as tragic and sad as this, and she knows this is nothing compared to what life will bring in the coming years. “We’re leaving now!” her mother yells from the living room. “Be right there!” she yells just as loudly, and after making sure no one was near her, she whispers “goodbye” to something she thought she would always have.
At 11:47 PM, Hector closes his restaurant. Well, the restaurant he manages, but it might as well be his own. He looks at the time on his watch, a gift from his wife, and walks back to his car. Hector is going to call his life-long friend and ask her if he can stay the night there, he doesn’t want to drive the 90 minute-long ride it takes to get back home. Home and the life he’s been building ever since he immigrated to this country. Hector wonders if the place he resides in should be called a home. He knows that his own family prefers him to spend the night somewhere else just because it’s one less embarrassment to the neighbors and friends, and he can feel that this is what the looks of his sons and daughter mean as they sit across him during dinner. He is not an idiot, or at least that’s what he tries to convince himself of. Wouldn’t people consider that he’s living the good life? He owns a beautiful house in the suburbs, has the nicest neighbors, an older son, and two young kids—a boy and a girl— and his wife, of course, how could he ever forget about the wife? Maria, oh Maria, he remembers how beautiful his wife used to be when he first met her, but after the birth of his first son, she had suffered from a facial paralysis. He had to know back then that this was an early sign of doom. And the diabetes, not only is it destroying her right now, right at this very moment, but it’s also destroying their marriage, and everything attached to the root of their existence. Nothing works anymore. As his thoughts wandered on when did his life exactly made the wrong turn, his phone went off. Jessica, it was a call from Jessica. She was a hostess at the restaurant he used to work, and they may have gotten together once, twice, for months… it may, or may not, still be going on right now. He nods to himself, as if this is some sort of re-assurance towards the decision he is about to make, and sends her friend a text.

Hey, won’t make it tonight.
I’m going home.
Will you be able to let me stay tomorrow?
Say hi to your family for me.

At the next intersection, he will turn left instead of right, towards the gray apartment in the corner, and towards the rest of his new life.





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