Last night I dreamt that I was lying on a cot in a small room behind a grocery store used for storing empty pallets. I could smell the tannic odor of the damp oak in the pallets and the litter of the field mice piled in the corner; their small bodies nestled in the shredded remains of cereal boxes and granola bar wrappers. I could hear the plastic wrap stapled to a pallet next to my head shaking in the draft blowing in under the door. The shadow of a broom cast at a crooked angle from the light struggling under the door loomed above me, questioning my presence in the room, admonishing me.
In the dream, I thought that maybe you were there, just outside the door, your hand poised above the stainless steel handle, your breath coming out in short bursts and hanging in the cold January air, falling to the grease stained cement and gathering around your feet.
I pulled my blanket up to my chin and watched the light shift under the door as you moved away. I remember wondering why you did not open the door. I closed my eyes and dreamed within the dream. I saw myself standing on a boulder in the middle of a river, a fishing rod in my hand, the sun warm on my bare chest and face, the water filled with light. I could hear the water moving around me, trying to tell me the answers to all of the questions clogging up my mind, the voice of the water strong and true, flowing around the rocks.
I cast my spinner bait upstream watching the line play out like a silver spider web, looping in the air before falling to the surface. I watched as the line floated downstream, sinking now, feeling the urgent tension of the water pulling the monofilament, like a lovers hands drawing me into her secret place. I could feel the line pull tight as the spinner bait paused in the lee of a rock that seemed to call out to me, as though it wanted me to know that within its shadow lay the green and gold muscular shape of a Smallmouth Bass, watching the whorls of water above it.
You opened the door and the cold air rushed in as if there was something in the room it desperately needed to be a part of or see. The dream fell away, the dreamer awoke, and dust blew across the floor beneath the cot where I lay, filling the air with the stale smell of lonely places. The clatter and hammer of a diesel engine, its headlights spilling around you like the river around the rocks, brought me to my feet, wiping the sleep from my eyes, my heart racing from the rush of the dream, and the new day began.