It was the experience of awakening from an intense and captivating dream. The images whirled, the sensations lurched, and the sounds washed over me like waves. And then, abruptly, my eyes were open, and the darkened ceiling of my apartment bedroom was staring blankly down at me, a single patch of moonlight melting the white paint above my head.
All was silent. All was still. Why had I awoken? Why had my eyes opened?
My eyes flickered as if still within the dream. My breathing remained as it had always been, deep and fulfilling, leaving my lower body in a deep sleep. But my eyes were free to move. And they soon widened in cold fear as they landed upon the figure who sat on the edge of my bed.
The cold fear, though it coursed down into my sleeping body, willing it to come to life, did not change my current state. My mind willed everything to be still and silent. My mind willed time to come to my aid as I thought rapidly for an explanation or a guiding instruction.
As long as this figure did not realize I had awoken, I could lie as if still asleep, and all would be well. Perhaps they would show their face. Perhaps this dream in life would be tossed aside for reality. Or maybe, the figure would turn and the dream would descend darkly into a nightmare.
Why was someone sitting on the edge of my bed? The question was simple, plain, and bewildered. It did not make sense. I lived alone. My mind would rather be racing, but instead, it felt to be treading water without a shred of reasoning or imagination. I was stalled. I was defeated.
Should I move?
The question brought fire into my limbs, and my entire body finally awoke. I meant it to be silent, I meant it to be still, but something moved involuntarily, and a light breath escaped me, propelled forward by my beating heart. And on this breath, light and gentle, was a single hum of voice like the soft mew of a cat.
The figure turned, my heart froze, and my eyes gleamed icily through the dark.
As the face came into view and the eyes met mine, everything in my body melted at once as a surge of liquid fire shot through me. My breath failed, and the scream that wished to escape died on my lips and then dropped like a stone into the depths of my heart.
I knew that face so well. I knew those eyes like I knew my own. I knew those lips as if I had kissed them a million times before. I knew everything about this face, and everything about my soul knew that this moment could not exist.
It could not exist. She was dead.
My crying soul could not regain control and my eyes sunk into hers with flowing tears, and the vanishing tension dropped me into her arms like a breeze into a meadow.
Her smile lit the universe. The ineffability of my euphoria still would not let go, until in a brilliant moment, her lips moved and her beautiful voice came to me.
"I've come back," she said.