I woke last night drenched in sweat and struggling to catch my breath.
Akira rubbed my back until my breath returned to normal, and then asked me – in her musically soothing voice – what I had been dreaming about.
I almost couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t find the words to describe how it felt to be watching her. Her hair was blowing in the wind, strands covering her face as she turned towards me. In the distance, a farmhouse was on fire. The blaze was growing larger by the second as I watched in horror. I watched as the woman I love smiled as if it was the happiest she’d ever been, and then turned and darted off towards the inferno.
I shuddered beneath her gentle touch as I described to her the terror I felt when I realized I couldn’t move. I couldn’t chase after her. My feet were cemented to the ground as I watched her dance into the flames, as I watched her quickly consumed by them. The tendrils flickered around her thin form, and then she was gone.
She circled her body around me, braiding her legs with mine. She whispered love notes in my ear until I slipped into a dreamless sleep.
When my alarm went off this morning, I shuffled into the living room to find Akira sitting in front of her easel, the canvas already showing the inferno in blazing glory. In the foreground, a silhouette came into view, brush stroke by brush stroke, until it seemed as if she were painting my dream from memory.
I wrapped my arms around her and asked if she wanted breakfast. Then I left her to her canvas and wished she would erase the whole thing. The memory of her rushing into the flames has reduced me to tears several times today. I’ve had to hide out in the bathroom so she won’t see them.
I want to burn the canvas.