She rustles. "Are you awake?" she asks. "Babe?"
You keep quiet. She rests her head back down to the pillow and, little spoon-style, scoots back to you. You wait for three more George Jones songs to play from the tiny iPod dock sitting on your nightstand that you bought the day before, just in case she decided she was going to stay, before you drape a well-rested arm over her chest.
And now there's early 1960s country music wishing you good morning, but all you want is for her deviated septum to start acting up again. Because every breath that's that audible means she's still there. Every nasal roar, and yes, they do get to be roars--at one point you thought you had fallen asleep next to a Yeti--means that you don't have to refer to it as "your" bed. It's "our" bed.
You doze off for a few minutes and have a brief dream:
the two of you buy a small beachhouse off of
the Oregon coast so that you can have the
water and the mountains, without having to
pick one. It's three bedrooms, about a
thousand square feet, and you get a golden
retriever named George. The three of you
take walks every night and George sniffs out
a chest of buried treasure and you sell it all
and, with the financial windfall from George's
find, buy another beachhouse, this time on
the Chesapeake Bay. George gets a solid
gold collar and a lifetime supply of Milk
Bones out of it too, because, after all,
he was the one that found it.
You wake back up a few minutes before she does and start making her french toast. As you dip the bread into the egg/milk mixture before slapping it in the pan, you wonder about the dream.
You're not a man to place a lot of stock in dreams. You're not a man of predetermination. You're not a man whose world is laid out for him. You're a man that fights tooth and claw for what he has and who is grateful for the opportunity to do so. You've been forged in fire and your life is one that you have made, not one that has been made for you.
But there's something about that dream. You can't quite figure your place in it.
Are you George the golden retriever, allowing those who love you to find joy in your discoveries?
Are you the west coast beachhouse, mirroring transcontinental real estate?
Or are you something beautiful that someone discovered in the sand?
She's snuck up behind you and wraps her arms around your midsection like you were a redwood. She stands on her tiptoes and kisses your smiling cheek.
"You're so nice to make me breakfast."
"No," you say, "this is actually for me. Didn't you see the cab fare I left on the nightstand?"
She laughs and pokes your lean stomach with a strong finger. "You're so sweet in the mornings." She pulls out a chair at the kitchen table and gazes out the window. The 10 AM sun makes her look like a painting.
Yeah, you think. Something here is treasure. Something here is beautiful.