Sometimes I have dreams I can't explain. They usually involve vast winter landscapes – white in every direction. There aren't penguins or polar bears (I'm not a child anymore) but instead there are half-filled footprints and paths that lead to nowhere.
Most of the time, he is there. We walk along one of the paths together, pointing with gloveless hands at things in the distance…the different trees, and bushes with berries. Tiny animals, too.
Twice, he brought ice skates when he came to meet me.
The first time went something like this: we went to a pond and I stared inside the surface at the fish that had frozen in the ice. Their colors were amazingly vibrant, like flowers in springtime or brand-new cars. They were orange and red, yellow. I wanted to see them swim. Distracted, I barely noticed the sound of his skates on the ice as he traced figure eights.
When he noticed my inattention, he laughed and sent me home. Said he had to practice some more, alone. Said I'd get hurt if I stayed.
The second time he brought ice skates was in a different dream. We shared some coffee during that one (for concentration, I said), and we laughed the entire time we walked the path to the pond. When we got there, he told me I could make snow angels while he skated. I agreed it would be fun, and when we finished that day, I was soaked with melted snow.
…See, the worst part about a nice dream is waking up from it. But when you have a dream that keeps coming back, it's heartbreaking to realize that, sometime, it will stop coming back.
He stayed in my dreams for nearly a month, and always, I wished it was winter. I'd close my eyes and think of him and smile and things would go smoothly in dreamland—but for a while, when I dreamt, my snow angels were falling on top of eachother and his figure eights were cutting too close to the edges of the pond, and then, finally, the white winter world crumbled away.
…And then, nothing.
Now I sit and stare at my ceiling, wondering why it reminds me of snow.