Blankets on the floor, her still asleep in bed, the slightest hint of sunlight awoke me and I stumbled about the hotel trying to remember which parts of the night were real and which were a dream.
Some of the best memories with her feel like that. Half paradise on Earth, half daydream beneath shivering tree branches and a cloudless sky. It was all so monumental for my growth and understanding of life, real or not. And so, as all dreams go, this one too came to an abrupt end. Then summer and countless thoughts of utter loneliness.
Everything became pointless. A filled lung mattered less than an empty one. Sleep was a hollow comfort. Anyone and anything that could make me forget what the dream had been was pursued. Even a subtle flicker of blonde hair would painfully shoot me back into the daydream and within a matter of weeks I became so certain that I would die from the heartache. I raced through strange valleys and tiny towns three hours out from home. Trying to escape the thought that she was out there happy that our version of dreaming had finally stopped.
And then I realized that her absence was just another part of the growth I needed. The dream had ended but the importance had not. I learned that there is nobody and nothing to rely on, we've hardly got ourselves to lean against in the chaos of every day.
So I ventured on alone, only a tattoo to remind me of the summer I survived being awoken from a perfect slumber. Sometimes I look back and wonder if it was all a dream anyway. If she was ever what I thought. If it's worth being so upset over.
When she finally woke up that morning we packed our bags, cleaned up the empty bottles, and went back into the world. Not quite perfect, but a little less broken.