I Can Feel You Dreaming
A kiss, when all is
said, what is it?
I sit in my chair, far beneath you, and I can feel you dreaming. There are candles all around me, warm and yellow-bright, and the sharp nib of my pen moves across the page, quietly inscribing these words inside my journal. The usually restless pipes are mute, for the moment, and their hush gives testament to the lateness of the hour.
All seems still, but for movement of my hand, and the sound of my writing. The atmosphere is nearly soundless, save for that faint, arrhythmic, scratching sound of the pen, as it carves its way across the paper. The night is cool, and all but silent.
And the night is, as it ever was, mine.
There is peace in the stillness. Like the peace beneath the Music Chamber, when the concert is over, and the last person leaves.
Yet, I’m not alone; not alone, for you are with me, Catherine. Even now, even separated by stone and steel, even divided by you sleeping and me waking, you are with me. I feel your strong, gentle presence inside my heart and inside our bond. I feel you.
Your consciousness is wafting down, like a leaf from an autumn tree, and I can feel it. You are gently descending, as your busy mind lets go of the day, and embraces the night. (The night, which was ever mine.) Your awareness is shifting, as your cares fall away. You’re starting to dream.
Your mind feels so different, when you’re asleep as when you’re awake. Did you know? The warm buzz of your conscious thoughts gives way to something softer, something gentler, and calmer. I can feel the randomness of your resting mind, as it gentles down. Feel the difference in that, versus the necessary control your sharp, lawyer’s mind usually brings to bear, when you’re awake, and working. I can feel you releasing your day, like a fist opening to a lax palm. I can feel you, as you take your ease, as your mind and body slacken, and let go. I can feel your peace.
I don’t sleep as much as you do. I don’t think I need to. I’ve always been like this; still awake, long after others are in bed, and rising just before the night sentry leaves his post. When I do sleep, I sleep deeply, but not for so long. It is the way with me, I suppose.
It gives me some quiet hours to fill, like this one. Quiet hours I can use for reflection, for writing, or for roaming the park, if I wish to.
I found you, at an hour close to this. It was late, and there was a deep mist in the springtime park. It covered everything, and it left the ground wet. The light from the lamps was diffuse, and dim. Every leaf was dripping, and the April grass was slick. Yet, I found you. I found you, and I found… love.
I found love, in what should have been a quiet, inconsequential hour. But for you it was not quiet, nor inconsequential. For you, the hour before we met was terrible, was horrible.
Such a contrast, between what was happening for you, and what was happening for me, that night. I wonder at it, sometimes. I was walking, and restless. But you… You were being… shattered.
But that was long ago.
And now… well, now, here we are. You in your world, and me in mine. And I sit in the quiet hours, touching my mind to yours, as I touch my pen to the paper. No demands on either of us, as we each use this time for what we must: you for sleeping, and me for reflecting. No demands on either of us as we… shimmer, and float.
I smiled the night you gave me that description. I’m smiling, still.
I embrace these quiet times, and I know I need them. I can use them for… well, for whatever I desire.
Such a strong word, now, for me. And one so fraught with meaning. What is it I desire? What do I want, exactly, other than to be just what I am, and to be held with all your strength, inside your love? Held, both safe and… free?
“You’re safe, now.” I remember saying it to you, when you woke up. But were you, really? Was I? Or were we both just about to leave our safe places, you and I, as we embarked on something neither one of us could possibly anticipate, could possibly imagine?
Perhaps Brigit O’Donnell is more a prophet than she knows. For though neither of us were walking among our enemies, we surely were not walking among what we knew, and what we were familiar with. We still aren’t.
Does that frighten you? Or does it leave you, as it does me, with an explorer’s sense of… joy? I exult in our journey. I exult that there is even a journey to be had.
Your love humbles me… even as it places me a step closer to that which is surely (I can think of no other word for it than this one) divine.
I long to be near you any way I can. So I sometimes sit here, in these peaceful hours, and just… reach. Upward. For you.
I used to try to see into your resting mind, to see if I the extraordinary link between us would let me know what you were dreaming. But I found I can’t do that. Even for us, even for our incredible bond, it seems there are limits, sweet Catherine. So I can’t know what it is you see, behind your closed eyelids. But I know when you are dreaming, and how it makes you feel.
Your consciousness drops low, and the images, whatever they are, start to come. The muscles in your body release all their tension, and you sink farther down. When I feel you this way, my body relaxes along with yours, and my mind feels the “drift” of your mind. You are untethered, and unmoored, cast out, on a sea of dreams. And I feel that I am with you.
We are sailing, together.
We shimmer. We float.
I wonder, sometimes, what your dreams are. What whimsy guides your nighttime journeys? I know that your dreams are mostly good, and that they leave you with a sense of peace. Yet, I know you’ve had nightmares, too, like the ones you had when you stayed with me, that first time; the ones you had when you lay healing, in my bed.
I felt your nightmares fade. I felt better dreams replace them. I think I felt the birth of our bond, in those moments. I think I felt your sleeping mind reach for my waking one. Or perhaps, it was the other way around.
I know you dreamt in my bed. And now, you dream in yours.
Do you dream of the people you know, Catherine? Of the ones you’ve met, both in your past and in your present? Do you dream of your friends, of the people who come to you needing help, of your relatives, and even some of the people Below, like Father, or Jamie, or Mouse?
Catherine… Do you dream of me?
Do dreams of your past mix with the dreams of your present, and then of things that have never been, in some distant future? Do you dream of your mother, still, and do those dreams leave you feeling melancholy, the way they once did? Or is there now room for joy, in your nostalgia? Room for affirmation, inside your sorrow?
I’ve never dreamed of my mother. Never once. I didn’t tell you that, when you told me of yours. I wish I could dream of her. I’ve tried to. Nothing comes. This seems to be a thing I cannot will myself to do.
I know I never shared that with you, and I’m not sure if I should. It’s a thing that only makes others feel sad for me, and… what’s to be done for it, really? Nothing, I don’t think. Perhaps there is simply no memory for me to connect to. I don’t know. I only know that I seem to be able to reach back just “so far” and no farther.
I do sometimes dream of my childhood, and of the days gone by. Of the times when I almost always had bruises on my knees and a healing cut, from climbing. I dream of those days and see Devin, and Ike, and others I knew, from the distant time when I was young. I remember how happy everyone was the day Olivia was born, and how somber we all were when Pascal’s father passed away. I remember climbing up the inside of the waterfall, and swinging from a rope out into the pool. I remember rafts I built, and models I put together, and pictures I drew. I dream, and I see it all again, gauzy images tinged with blue. I see it in my sleeping mind’s eye, and I remember it all, again.
I think you must do that too, Catherine. At least I hope you do. I hope, that when I sense you dreaming, that when those dreams have a “past” flavor, you are dreaming of climbing trees and playing games with your friends. I hope you are dreaming of puzzles you put together, and dolls with beautiful dresses, and of tea parties you had, and your first bicycle; of stuffed animals and marvelous books, and the way to Oz, and the pleasure of going around the world in eighty days. Of things you never saw or read, things your imagination conjures, to delight you. Of things that have never been. Wonderful things. Beautiful things. Impossible things. I hope you have those kinds of dreams. I hope you do. I would wish no less for you, my love.
I hope you dream of days spent in the sunshine. I hope you dream of your first kiss.
I know that when you dream of that, you can’t be dreaming of me.
But I know I am dreaming of you…
I don’t know who gave you your first kiss, my beautiful Catherine, but I hope he was fair. I hope he was a fine boy - gentle, brilliant, and perhaps just a bit awkward. I hope he was someone you admired, in some way. Some athlete, some scholar, some kind soul who touched yours. I hope you had butterflies in your stomach, and wings on your feet, after. I hope all of that for you. I hope for more.
They say teenagers are gangly, and I surely was. And perhaps he was, too. But I don’t think you ever were. I know you might disagree, but nothing I see in you speaks to me of awkwardness, or a lack of grace. I know you were once an adolescent. But I think you must have been of the kind that carried herself with a certain genteel poise, even if it was a poise you didn’t quite feel, just yet.
I think you must have been the kind of girl every boy in class dreamed of kissing, that first time. That while there might have been other girls who were more lovely (And even as I write that, my heart asks “How can that be true?”), or more sophisticated, that it was your gentle beauty which drew the boys into dreaming.
Dreaming of their first kiss.
I know it’s a thing I dream of.
I’ve pressed my lips to yours (in my dreams) a dozen times, or more, yet never once, on waking. Is it courage I lack? Or is it just that this, like so many things, is not time for us, just yet?
The night you returned from Connecticut, I held your soul in an embrace so fast, I swear I felt your kiss.
Did you feel mine?
Did you know I’ve been kissing you every day, that way, ever since?
It leaves me with a puzzlement. Are we waiting for our first kiss, my Catherine? Or did we already have it? It makes me chuckle to think that in this, like in everything else, we are like no two other people on the planet. It leaves me with a bemused smile that this is now a question, between us. Once again, we are unique.
You are a love I never thought to have, and an adventure I thought never to take. Every day is new. Every night is touched with the sensation of your dreaming mind, gently bound to mine.
I brush my lips across the top of your fair head, waking and sleeping. Do those kisses count? I’m not sure. And that question makes me smile, as well.
I think I’ve been kissing you good-night almost from the first night you left me; you in your world, me in mine. I know I have. And… I know I haven’t. And so now our “first kiss” is even farther back than the night you returned from Connecticut. Unless it isn’t.
And there it is, again. That dichotomy which I can never escape; that dichotomy which we an never escape.
If I tell you I’ve kissed you good-night many times, in my heart and in our bond, is that all right? I know I haven’t, really. I just don’t know of a better word to describe what it is, when my waking mind brushes your dreaming one. It’s a kiss, feathery, and soft. That’s the only word I know for it.
I didn’t ask permission, first. I suppose I should have. But when it first happened, you were gone back Above to begin the long trek to where you are. And I was here, and… missing you. So I reached. And I… kissed you, in my way. Do you mind? I hope you don’t.
Be well, my love.
I have kissed you good-night, and I’ve kissed you farewell. I’ve kissed you “I love you,” “You’re safe,” and “Be well.” And again, I know as I say that, I’ve also never done those things. What an amazing journey this is. Still.
It’s all true.
When I first described my home for you, it sounded so impossible, I had to say those words. You told me that you didn’t know what to believe. And I told you “It’s all true.”
Perhaps that’s what we are, Catherine. We are “all true.” We are every possibility, and all at once. Even the opposites of those, that’s what we are. We are “all true.”
You uplift me, with all that you are. You raise up a thing which should be impossible to raise, thanks to all that constrains it. You transport me, from what I am, to what I might yet become. I see the limits, and I think they are mine. You see the possibilities, and swear they are ours. How I love you for that. How I love you for… everything.
You light a fire under my imagination, with thoughts of all that we might yet become, together. You bring me hope. You end my aloneness. You enrich me in a way no other ever has, or ever could; not with money, but with spirit. How many things I dare, now, that I never thought possible, before? I dare to love. I dare to hope. I dare to touch my mind to yours, in the night. I dare to look into the future, and not be dismayed by it. I dare to see myself with you. I dare to wish. I dare to dream.
I dare to dream of kissing you.
Father marvels at our courage. Winslow said that love was a thing he’d never found for himself, yet in some strange way, I think he marveled at us, as well. Mary’s eyes drop when I come in from a night Above, and she thinks she knows where I’ve been, but never asks. She hides a small smile when she suspects I’ve been to your balcony, to see you. She tells me “Good evening, Vincent,” when what she really means is: “I’m so glad you found her, Vincent. So glad you found a way to dream, again.”
Father… Winslow… Mary… Others. I wonder who gave any of them their first kiss, and how it made them feel?
Did they hold wonder in one hand, and possibility in the other? Was “rapture” the only word they could find for it? Did they whisper, just after, too overcome for speech? Did they sigh? Did they feel their hearts pound, as they felt their spirits soar?
Did they know they’d found… home?
For what is a first kiss, if it isn’t that? What is a first kiss, but a wanderer, a pilgrim, a lost wayfarer, finally (Finally!) finding the way to safety, to refuge, to that longed-for destination? That point on the map where the journey is both done… and miraculously, just beginning?
When we share the kind of kiss others think of when they mean “first kiss,” will that feeling be ours, as well? When the time comes, will you be “home” for me, Catherine, even more than you already are? Will you be my shelter? Will the feeling of “coming home” rush into you the way it rushed into me, the night you returned to me from Connecticut, and told me that we were worth everything?
I think it will. I think it has to.
So surely, surely it must.
I want to be that for you, as you are that to me. I want to be “home” to you, to be “safety” and “security,” and “shelter.”
But not the kind that bears down on you, or makes you feel imprisoned, or bound, or fettered. Not the kind that makes you feel trapped, or isolated, or burdened. Not the kind you felt when you worked for your father’s firm. Not that kind of “shelter.”
Not the kind the men use Above, when they have no other place left to go. Not the kind this place was becoming for me, before you. Not that kind, for us, my Catherine. Oh, no. Not that kind.
Rather, the kind that gives you a foundation, right before it gives you wings. The kind that steadies your feet, the moment before it lets your spirit soar. The kind that makes you feel safe, yet not contained, cherished, but not chained, cared for, and not constrained.
The kind that releases the wildness in you -- to find the wildness in me.
Let me be your wild shelter, Catherine. Let me be that, for you. Even if those two words seem like opposites, seem like they cannot “fit” together in the same sentence, let me be that, for you. We are so many opposite things. Surely there is room for more. Surely it can all still be true. Let me be ferociously gentle. Let me bend to you, with an unswerving kind of devotion. Let me break and be re-made, unafraid of the changes. You did. I can. Wild shelter. Let me be that.
I know you are that, for me.
I know you are the thing that makes me feel… not the untamed savageness within me, but the untamed sweetness. The incredible rapture. The unbridled joy.
I would be that, for you, as well. I would bring that to you. I would bring you more. And even more than that, when we first kiss. (First, and for the hundredth time.)
Would you bring me the same, again and again? Would you bring me all that you’ve already brought, all that you are, and just that tiny, indefinable, completely impossible bit “more,” when we first kiss? (Again?)
I know that you will. I know that we will.
Sleep well, my Catherine. Sleep, and dream of… impossible things.
And perhaps just one possible one. ~
Dream of kissing me.
No matter where you are in your own fairy tale, I wish you love. ~ Cindy