Dreams of Daddy, dream #3

My ten-year anniversary writing project slowed down because in the madness of moving from house to house, country to country, I’ve lost track of where my handwritten journals are. Dream #3 here is recreated from memory. Read dreams #1 here and #2 here.

Dream #3, dated autumn 2008

I walk into the room. I see him lying flat on his back, a yellow silk blanket pulled taut over his body. The blanket covers everything up to his chin.

I’ve seen this blanket before. I’ve seen Daddy lying this way before. At the funeral – the first one I had ever attended – amid my silent fears and constrained cries, I had been surprised to see an “imperial yellow” silk blanket covering my father. It looked like a lap blanket a soap opera Emperor of China would use.

Here, now, in this room, everything is still. I stand by the doorway, afraid to move. It’s so silent and still that I hold my breath, not daring to stir the air. Nervously, I enjoy this moment, suspended in time, in the space between the confirmation of my hopes and fears.

I don’t walk toward him. I stand and watch. In the quiet, if I look very carefully, I can see a slight rippling of the yellow silk. The layer of fabric over the blanket quivers and gives off a mild golden sheen.

Everything slows down. My universe for a moment stops turning on axles, everything grinds to a halt. Breathing, blinking, swallowing – all my reflexes are forced shut. Everything holds still so I can look hard at him. Look so hard so that I might see.

Is there a breeze coming in from an open window somewhere in this room? Is there an air-conditioner? The tiniest of wrinkles forms again on the yellow silk blanket.

I squint even harder, my heart rising up up up into my throat the longer I hold my breath, searching for clues.

There it is. I see it. The yellow silk covering Daddy’s body is undulating in tiny waves. Up and down, up and down, a rhythmic movement that cannot be a gust of wind. 

There it is. Confirmation of hope. My Daddy is breathing!

Relief! Joy! Happiness like I’ve never felt before. This is “pre-cancer life.”

The cancer will come, but for this moment, in this room, it isn’t here. How happy I feel in this moment in this dream, to be able to stand here, watching my Daddy breathe, knowing he is still with me.

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