I can't say when exactly I went from lying awake for nights and nights to endless dreaming. Everything just became one big blur, I don't even know if it's all real anymore. The only thing I still remember perfectly, even after all these years, is Rose. I remember everything about her. How she smiled, how she spoke, how she would never ever scream at me even when she was mad. How could I even forget her, she was extraordinary. Was. She is nothing anymore now. But I remembered, everyday 4 o'clock I forced myself to think about all the little things she did, I couldn't forget her. I promised her I wouldn't and I believe that if you really have guts you keep a promise, even if the one you promised is dead, even if remembering her might be the hardest thing ever and I would love to sit in a corner and forget she ever existed , even if I want to forget I still exist. We never wanted to marry, 'cause we didn't want to do 'till dead do us part' we wanted to do forever. That was now my responsibility, I had to make forever for us. Dead is just a lame excuse people use to break a promise. They just blame dead for everything.
At First so did I. I blamed dead and I blamed myself. Don't worry I'm over it now. Weird actually, when you think about it, that it took me a year in 'What if' to come to my senses. 'What if', where nothing is ever real but everything could be, isn't the first place people go to be rational. But for me it worked. Dead didn't kill her, he just took her when no one else offered to pick up the bleeding woman, lying there in the middle of the street. It was the car that killed her, or to be even more precise the force with witch the car had hit her in the stomach and took her breath away. Not in the good way. The people who came and offered her some of their breath had come too late, she had already gone. My friend once made a joke about it, about death having a no return policy. I punched him in the face, we're not friends anymore.
When I just arrived in 'What if' I wanted to believe that death took her so fast because he had a little bit of a thing for her. Looking back now I know that's a very disturbing thing to think, after all, the death was never really known as a romantic, but living in a dream confuses people, especially when you, like me back then, hadn't lived there for long. In a world where everything is possible it's hard to see the difference between impossible and unrealistic. Especially when realistic includes stuff like talking animals. Anyway, it all seems very logic. After all, why else would she always be so clumsy? All those times when she had more bone fractures than she had limbs, they were, I believed, all just attempts of the death to win her heart over, or maybe her soul.
Don't worry I'm over it.
Rose is dead. That's all there is to it.
I'll never get over that.
Everybody believed I would get over her. 'It's just a phase.' They would say. When I was throwing around the furniture, 'It's just a phase.' When I didn't talk or eat anymore, 'it's a phase.' When I wouldn't believe she was dead, 'It's a phase.' I've been from denial to guilt to rage to sadness to grieving to destruction. I'm not over it, I'm empty.
The reason I ended up here was the second ''phase'', the guilt. I believed, for quite a long time, that it was all my fault. Sometimes I still do.
What if I stayed home that date, like she'd asked?
What if I hadn't forgotten about the milk, and she wouldn't have gone out to buy some?
What if I had picked up that day when she'd called me to ask if I knew where she had put her keys? ( I imagine it must have been something like that she always called for stuff like that)
If I had picked up the phone then maybe she would've left earlier or later or not at all, who knows, and then maybe there wouldn't have been a black Volvo to hit her.
'What if I had given in to the temptation to get a bagel and I would've gone out to buy one at the little store on the corner of the street?
The weather had been great that day so maybe I would have decided to take a nice walk in the park and on my way I would have seen her and the car and I would have been on time to push her out of the way.
The longer I thought about it the more I convinced myself that it was all my fault. I didn't sleep for three days. The fourth day, a little after midnight, I finally fell asleep, accidentally. I was planning on never sleeping again. I'd read, somewhere on the internet, that you can die of insomnia. When I read it, long before Rose passed away, I had thought it was a terrible way to go, but I guess it always better than a car in your stomach.
Like any other I had been to 'What if' many, many times and still I had no idea it existed. I believed what the scientist had told me, you know, dreams are not real they are just a way for your brain to process the things that happened when you were awake, a fragment of your imagination. But the inhabitants of 'What if' knew we existed, they knew that very well. We were the people that came in to their world, an trashed it, time after time. Okay, we were the reason for their existence and sometime we brought good dream but most of the time we just brought nightmares. We changed their world, we trashed it, we distorted it and we made it up. There was no one more feared or hated in 'What if' than the dreamers. Everything we dreamt, we thought of, everything we imagined and all the choices we didn't make decided their lives and their world. A nightmare could strike like lightning, fast inevitable and destructive.
A nightmare, that had been the reason I came in to the world of 'What if'. It had been just a few weeks after Rose's death and all those weeks I had dreamt about the accident. Time after time after time I saw her being hit by the car. I'd seen it from all angles and viewpoints, in every way possible. Of course at that time I wasn't in the least aware of the damage I was causing, as far as I knew all of this only happened in my head. Till one day a man came walking into my dream. The Volvo was just about to crash into Rose when her came walking around the corner. With a simple gesture of the hand he froze everything, then he turned to me.
'You're scaring everyone to death, you know that?' It was obviously meant in a friendly way and maybe it would have sounded friendly if it weren't for his icy voice.
'What?', was my not so clever reply.
'You're scaring everyone', the man repeated.
I didn't say anything anymore, I wouldn't know what to say even if I had wanted to say something. I admit it might have been a bit rude of me, but then again just invade someone's dream wasn't really a sign of good manners either.
The man stared at the sight in front of him, the car only centimeters away from Rose, her big frightened eyes boring in to mine from all the way over there as if she could see me, as if she could still see me.
'You must have loved her a lot' he said after a while.
'You've been dreaming about her for weeks. Same thing every time. We see that more over here, repetitive dreams' he pause, most likely to enlarge the dramatic effect of his words, but then he continued 'but never as often as your dream'
I didn't know what to say. I wasn't even sure he was talking to me, even though everybody else was frozen.
'Maybe,' he said, just when I thought that he was done talking
'maybe I can help you get her back.'