The green creep flex and bounce that tickles my skin and shapes my rest holds fast to the morning soak and chills me like a bath. I awake feeling the warmth of day rising like the theater curtain, slow and heavy, wrinkling in the shadows. She's been in my dreams, and I expect to see her here, momentarily, before she disappears into the sunrise glaze. But she's already gone even as my senses gel, and I'm only left with lonely the memory of something distant and soft and gone—a feather I never felt.
But: the memory embraces me, refusing to let go, and I hold back into it, unaware of its detail but not wanting to think too much for fear of filtering it away through cloudy groping futile semantic expectation. I know better than to think when I feel this strong. So we embrace.
When the boy comes over to me I'm awake in this dream, but instead of startling me, he makes me somehow smile, and threatens to give physical meaning to my perfect drifting muse. I look at him and sigh. He stares back, making up his own story for me, getting stuck somewhere for sure, and for a moment we dance together in each our own dream, me clinging to love given sudden innocent breathing presence and him testing quick and fantastically the possibilities of childhood comic book adventure—there is a stranger in the grass of his field—then he remembers his kite.
"Did you see anything red here?" he asks me.
"I think my kite is around here."
I get up on my elbows and look over the near green horizon. "I havent seen anything. I've been sleeping," and I catch his eye again.
"Did you come from the train?"
"Not exactly; not directly."
"Are you sick?"
"I feel okay."
"Do you want to help me look for my kite?"
"Yeah, let's do that. What happened to it?" I'm up, wiping lightly the dew from the back of me. He starts walking towards the distant broken fence.
"I lost it last Saturday when the storm came. The wind took it this way," and he pointed, walking slowly and scanning the ground. "I had to go inside because it got dark fast. Mom freaked out again."
"Storms are scary."
"I'm not scared of storms. It's just rain and noise. Mom is scared because of tornadoes. She always says," he said, pausing to roll his eyes, "'I was seven and a tornado took our house away.' She's scared of storms because of that. So I have to go inside every time it gets dark."
"I used to be scared of storms," I said, trying to identify with him.
"I'm not scared of storms. It's my mom."
I have no idea how to talk to a kid. "You should listen to your mom."
"I do," he said, me not getting the point. "Now I can't find my kite."
"We'll find it."
We shuffle slowly through the high wet grass. The sun is coming up behind us and we are following our shadows, their edges flickering on the bright grass. I turn and look back; the house, a low ranch surrounded by a low mowed lawn and a brown fence.
I remember my dream. The fence is a ways away, still.
"We shouldn’t go too far," I say. "Where were you when it blew away?"
"Up there," and he nodded way off. "But who knows where the wind blew it."
"That’s true." Anything could be anywhere.
I felt my fingertips and realized I had been biting my nails in my sleep again. Likely grinding my teeth again, too, although they didn’t ache. My back hurt. I didn’t want to walk all the way to that fence. At least not before we found the kite.
It was red and ripped, lying back up against a ditch, still and thin. The string was short broke torn close to the dowel in the middle, which had poked through the fabric, tearing it away from the seam.
"It broke," he said, and bent down at it.
"You can patch it. Right here, from there to there," I showed him. "Throw a knot on there and it'll be perfect. Better—it'll be stronger once you patch it." He watched my hands. "Actually you should patch both ends of the dowel, on the kite, here—just like where it's torn. That way, it won't happen again."
I stood up. "My back is killing me."
"I have to go fix this."
"Yeah—your mom and dad can help you."
"Hey." I looked at him and then I was back there, opening my eyes for the first time that day and feeling wet and blinded. "No problem. Just next time go inside before the clouds get over your head. Roll up the kite and give your mom a hug, 'cause she's scared of silly storms."
I touched his shoulder and headed back towards the fence, following the tramped-down grass I left from the night before.