Maybe This Isn't a Dream, fiction by Siobhán Conaghan at Spillwords.com
Tem Rysh

Maybe This Isn’t a Dream

Maybe This Isn’t a Dream

written by: Siobhán Conaghan

 

This is a dream in which my future husband and my grandmother go shopping together.
First, they go to a lamp store. (I say lamp store because this store sells only a very large amount of lighting.)
There are Tiffany table lamps with colorful shades. There are floor lamps with adjustable settings that promise a cozy atmosphere. There are paper star lanterns that look excellent for celebrating a Swedish Christmas.
This store might be in Sweden. (My future husband is Swedish.) But it is a dream, after all. So it is in the astral realm.
But it still could be in Sweden.
This store is also very long, and extremely bright. Since my future husband is dreaming this dream, he is the one who squints against the terrible brightness.
My grandmother also might be squinting. But it’s a bit hard to tell. She’s too absorbed in the floor lamp section.
This is all taking place in the astral realm (since it’s a dream), but in the physical realm, my future husband is a young man. He is twenty. Lanky, thoughtful, green-eyed. Studying architecture at university in Stockholm.
In the physical realm, my grandmother is an older woman. She is seventy-eight. Loving, glamorous, white-haired. Dying of cancer.
My future husband wanders over to the ceiling lamp section. He is drawn to a wall spotlight with a chrome finish so shiny that he can peer at his reflection in it.
(He is a very lovely man.)
My grandmother comes over and says something to him. Since this is all taking place in the astral realm, their conversation is completely telepathic.
(She is a very lovely woman.)
She says something about indecisiveness and mid-century modern style and design inspiration. He says something about my sister would have loved you and we should go to the chair store next and my future wife is going to miss you terribly.
They look at each other. Somehow, she has finally chosen a lamp. (Time doesn’t exist in the astral realm.)
She smiles at him. It is an arched floor lamp, with a very mid-century modern aura.
He nods. He is an architecture student, after all. They have the exact same taste when it comes to interior design.
He says, ‘That’s a great find, Nancy, really brilliant and I absolutely love the style’. She pats him on the shoulder and says, ‘Eternal thanks, Jakob.’
They go to check out. The woman behind the register looks very Scandinavian.
This might be in Sweden, after all. But it still is the astral realm.
My future husband watches my grandmother as she sifts through her purse. It is leopard print.
He is impatient, but not because she took an eternity to decide on a lamp. He is impatient because he is also sad. (Emotions can be strange in the astral realm.)
The Scandi cashier hands my grandmother her floor lamp in a very large shopping bag.
Before my future husband and my grandmother walk out of this store, he tells her, ‘Stop walking and wait just a moment.’
My grandmother listens.
He gives her a hug. She hugs him back, very tightly.
He says something like watch over my future wife for me and I can’t wait to see that lamp in your living room and my future wife is going to miss you terribly.
And she says something like but she’ll be ok and I’m excited to see it too, Jakob, and death doesn’t mean I’m gone forever.

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