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Dreamland

Theo wakes from a dream about Louise, a woman he knew fifty years ago. They were never lovers, though in Theo’s dreams he and Louise have children, walk their dogs, cook elaborate meals, make love, pull weeds in the vegetable garden, entertain fascinating guests, and talk of marvelous things while gazing at the stars.

In other dreams, they lose sight of each other while fleeing from some unknown terror, and for the rest of the dream Theo searches frantically for Louise but can’t find her.

In his most recent dream, he and Louise are walking on the beach holding hands. When he lets go of her to take her picture, she disappears.

*

Sitting alone in the only café in the small town where he lives, Theo finishes writing a postcard to an old friend.

Dreamt of Louise again last night. I wonder if she’s still alive. Love Theo  

*

At the post office, Theo mails the postcard and holds the door for a woman carrying a big stack of packages.

He is about to get into his little truck when his friend Jack pulls up in a big truck.

“Theo,” says Jack, who is a few years older than Theo, both of them in their seventies. “Long time no see. How you doing? How’s Carol?”

“We’re fine,” says Theo, nodding. “Carol’s busy as ever and I’m puttering around as always. How are you and Vicky?”

“Good,” says Jack, clearing his throat. “We’re lucky. Half the people we know are sick or dying or dead.”

“Happens,” says Theo, sighing. “We get old and die.”

“Yeah,” says Jack, sighing, too. “How’s the garden?”

“Good,” says Theo, smiling. “Lots of lettuce and chard, of course, and soon we’ll be pulling carrots. Potatoes galore. How’s your garden doing?”

“Terrible. I’ve got gophers galore,” says Jack, shaking his head. “Hopeless. I want to get another cat, but Vicky says she can’t handle another pet dying. They’re like her children.”

“If you want to grow vegetables in the ground around here and not have gophers,” says Theo, stating the obvious, “you must have a cat or two.”

“We’re switching to tub gardening,” says Jack, shrugging in surrender. “No gophers, no redwood roots. Sounds good to me.”

*

From the post office, Theo goes to Good Groceries to buy fixings for supper, and while perusing the mushrooms, he sees a woman who reminds him of Louise.

She is in her forties with shoulder-length brown hair and big brown eyes. She seems unguarded and full of curiosity – welcoming – just like Louise.

She might be Louise’s daughter Theo muses, guessing the woman is from out of town.

Resuming his communion with the mushrooms, Theo recalls the night fifty years ago when he and Louise were about to make love. At the zenith of their passionate kissing, Louise murmured, “I’m still living with Joe, but it’s over between us. I’m moving out end of the month.”

Theo was shocked to hear she was still living with Joe and said he wanted to wait for her to be entirely free before they made love.

“And she never spoke to me again,” says Theo, laughing at his younger self. “The honorable fool.”

The woman standing next to Theo bagging a head of broccoli asks, “Are you talking to me?”

Theo turns to her and gasps, for she is the woman he thought might be Louise’s daughter.

“Sorry,” he says, smiling bashfully. “The past impinged whilst I searched for flawless Creminis. Babbling nonsense. Forgive me.”

The woman laughs in delight at Theo’s way with words, and Theo almost asks her if she is Louise’s daughter, but doesn’t because he wants to go on thinking she is.

fin

Wonderful news! Todd’s new book Pooches and Kiddies: The Further Adventures of Healing Weintraub has just been published. The handsome paperback is now available online from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Bookshop, and orderable from bookstores everywhere around the world. E-books and audio books will be available soon.