I'm sitting at a table with my sister and Ben. The table is outside in a courtyard, in some sunny place surrounded by white alpine mountains. "So? What's it like over there?" I ask, impatient.
Ben looks at Anna and laughs. "Your sister and I were just talking about how we knew you'd ask that right away."
I give a little pretend pout. "Well of course I'd ask that first. How could I not ask that?"
Ben is glowing around the edges a bit just like you'd expect. Back lit from the sun. Calm and whole and so happy. He's very pale and the first few buttons on his shirt are undone. He's leaning back and beaming at us. He knows the punchline of some great joke and he's really going to draw it out.
"The food is good there," he says, teasing me.
"I can see that. You look really healthy. Your skin-" I reach my hand out and run it against his face. It's warm and hard and smooth. "Your skin is perfect. But it almost looks like it's made out of marble."
I settle back in my chair with this beautiful peaceful feeling. The clear light and the warmth and the mountains run together. Sitting around this table, we're in this blissful circle that feels totally different than anything I've felt in my real life.
Now we're walking down a trail that runs alongside one of the mountains. I'm leading the way. "Please, come on, tell me more about what it's like." I turn around to look at him, walking backwards.
He is smiling in such a way, if it didn't know any better I would swear he was flirting. "Well, let's put it this way. I'm not alone over there."
I wake up suddenly in my dark bedroom. I've sweat through the sheets again. And I'm crying. I try and force myself back asleep, but all I can do is cry and cry and cry.