Begrudgingly, he awoke, fluttering his eyes to rid himself of the sleepiness that swooned for him. The white stucco ceiling stared down at him, with the mid morning light shining in through the window. The placid feeling of his room made him feel judged.
Rolling over to face the window, the light from the day outside hit his face and warmed his skin. It made him remember the dream he was having before he woke up.
He was standing on a dock, facing a deep, blue lake that was one in a chain of many. The steady wind of the day made choppy waves in the water, rhythmically rocking the kelp and ducks that balanced on top of it all. Even with the cool breeze, the sun shining down on his shoulders warmed his whole body.
This was a good place to be. But he didn’t know why he was there. As he stared out over the water, he felt a tug inside, telling him to turn around. In the distance, beyond the next lake, a figure was coming down the road toward him. Whoever it was, it was too hazy to tell yet…
And that’s all there was. Whether he had simply woken up as the person was about to come into clear view, or whether his mind just refused to remember what played out next, he couldn’t be sure. But the dream made a deep impression on him and made him feel a sense of anxiety, or urgency. He couldn’t be sure of that either. It was safe to say that above all, he was confused.
Regardless of this confusion, he got up and out of bed to start his day. It was his day off, and he had no concrete plans. A few text messages waited for him to respond to. As he thought over his options; go up to the boulders to do some climbing, work out at the gym, skateboard, etc., the dream kept coming back to the forefront of his mind.
The lake he saw in his dream wasn’t far out of town. He didn’t go there very often but it was a good place off the beaten path to go and smoke or drink a few beers with the guys. It wouldn’t take much to just go over there, maybe alleviate this idea that was making roots in his mind.
Fully dressed, he stood in front of his window looking outside, thinking. But he was becoming frustrated by his inability to get his mind off of the dream. It was just a dream, right? There was no real meaning behind it .Maybe he was just becoming more lonely and was internally wishing for companionship. His thoughts strayed to his ex-girlfriend.
Without knowing where he was going, he got in his car and started to drive. His mind was still racing with the thoughts of his dream, and if he should text back his friend to go out and distract himself. He wasn’t very focused at all and ended up in the middle of his small town without any sense of what he wanted to do. And soon enough, he was at the road where if he turned, he’d find himself at the point of the lake he had dreamed about.
So with a sigh, he got in the turning lane and put his signal on. He shook his head in disbelief. When this is all over, I’m going to laugh at myself for getting so worked up over a dream, he thought to himself.
Even though he felt foolish, he was beginning to feel a bit better inside. He wouldn’t admit it to himself, but he was excited to get to the dock. The anticipation of this dream turning into a reality put a slight smile on his face without him even realizing it. Now that he was going through with it, he relaxed. He sent off a quick text to his friend to warn him of the delay and turned onto a dirt road that paralleled a canal. The canal snaked along the road and went through each of the lakes.
It was only 3 or 4 miles in total, this line of lakes. They were at the base of the mountains that made the border between one state and it’s neighbor. The sky was as big as you’d ever see it, with cloud formations that were more beautiful than anything painting ever created. It was a magical area and as he drove through the wild scenery, he really smiled at how grateful he was to be there. If nothing else came from his detour, he was thankful to be reminded of the charm that made up his home.
And then he was there. He had passed a few smaller lakes, more impressive in their length than anything else, before he got to the one lake he was sure was his. The one he stood before in his dream. He slowed the car as he drove around it’s width. He was nervous to look off in the distance, the direction from where the figure was walking. But he had to as he curved around to park at the dock. And there was no one.
He stared down the dirt road for a few more moments, not taking full breathes but holding on to the one that was already stuck in his lungs. His expectation lessened, he sighed, and got out of the car to face the lake. Slowly, he walked out on to the dock. Taking out a cigarette, he lit it and inhaled. His eyes focused on the water and he exhaled, becoming mesmerized with the waves in front of him.
It wasn’t exactly the same as he had dreamed. There was no cool breeze noticeable, though the water was still choppy, only because of the kelp dredger off in the distance across the lake. But of course, things wouldn’t be the same. He dropped his head to look at his shoes in shame quickly as he scoffed at the reason of why he was there.
He looked back out at the water again, closed his eyes and took a deep breathe before taking another drag of his cigarette. He had to remind himself, no matter why he was there, he was happy to be there. It was a good place to be, just like he thought to himself in his dream.
Then he heard something behind him. A bark of a dog off in the distance. His heart jumped up into his throat and the thought of what, of who, was coming with the dog. Why was the first thought always a girl? It could be anyone. But even still, his beating heart gave him the thrill of anticipation.
Nervous to turn around, he inhaled from his cigarette again and breathed our deeply. Looking out into the water, he made a wish. A wish for whatever was coming, a wish for dreams come true. And then he turned around.
The dog was a big, tan ridgeback mix. A large dog, with toned muscles. A guard dog. But she had a sweet face, large tongue rolling out and a high, wagging tail as she trotted closer to where he was. And behind her, swiftly following, was indeed, a girl. Wearing black tights with small black, flat shoes and white, flowing shirt, she was small and walked with soft footsteps. Curly brown hair came down to her shoulders and her eyes were covered by large black sunglasses. Even with her eyes not visible, her smile was wide and genuine and he could tell her eyes were sparkling under her shades.
She was walking closer now, and he turned around all the way to face her. Leaning back against the railing, he smiled back at her. The dog was at the dock now and coming up to say hello. The girl called out, “Be good, Violette!” The dog only wagged her tail and continued up to him, licking his hands as he reached out to embrace her face and scratch her behind the ears.
The girl was at the dock then and lifted up her sunglasses to the top of her head. She smiled at him again, brown eyes wide, and greeted him.
He looked up at her and took a breath before responding. “Hey.”
He was overwhelmed. She was so beautiful. Once again, he felt foolish, even more so then before. He felt stupid for not fully believing in his dream initially, now that he was standing before this girl. He wanted to say more, but couldn’t find the words.
She walked on to the dock and sat down on the small bench in the middle. “Do you mind if we join you?” She then looked at her dog and grinned. Violette had sat down at the base of his feet and was looking up at him longingly for more attention.
“Of course.” He took another drag of his cigarette and the air caught in his throat. “Does this bother you? I can put it out.” His nerves made him break out in a little sweat, and he might’ve blushed at the thought of grossing her out with his smoke.
“No, it’s fine!” She smiled at him again and reached into her small backpack she had, pulling out a pack of cigarettes of her own and lighting one for herself. As she took her first inhale, she looked out to the water and her eyes closed to a squint. She instantly became mesmerized by the scenery, just as he did.
“This is a beautiful place, isn’t it?” She said, looking at him again with her wide eyes. She seemed surprised to be there with him, curious but enchanted. They looked at each other, eyes soft with judgment, but filled with desire even more.
“It is.” He leaned back on the railing again, facing her, and crossed his arms. He was trying to think of what to say. Trying to find a way to introduce himself, and bring his dream into the conversation. He wanted to tell her what brought him here.
“I just moved to the area and discovered this place last week. I couldn’t wait to come back and walk one of the dogs out here. It feels so special.”
It almost felt like a dream brought here too. With every second, it felt easier to be there with her. There was no awkwardness of discomfort. He stared at her some more while she was looking around her, the soft smile imprinted on her face. This was exactly the reason why he was here. It was her.
He wanted to sit next to her. Slowly putting the weight on the front of his feet, he patted Violette as he moved around her to take a seat on the bench. The girl looked over at him and gave him another smile. Their eyes locked and she blushed, quickly looking down at her hands and taking another drag. He couldn’t help but chuckle softly.
Looking out at the water together then, so close together they could feel the warmth of each others bodies, he closed his eyes and smiles. Softly, he said out loud, “I think I came here to meet you.”