Angie walked over to the window and started painting

on

“It’s the most vivid nightmare I’ve ever had,” she said. “Do you think the
dream you’ve been having lately is due to what you saw that day on the bridge?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. This dream is going to keep happening and if I
dare to ask my daughter, I’d better know what’s going on.”

“Well, you can ask her if you want,” Angie said.

I looked at her. Her face was calm. I wondered if it was the way she always
remained. Sometimes I thought that maybe her calm might not last.

“I think she’s fine,” I said.

“I know,” Angie said. “I know she is fine. It’s just that she never seemed
like she was fine.”

“Maybe you should ask her about the dream sometime,” I said. “It doesn’t
have to be in a big way.”

Angie smiled again. She took her finger out of her mouth and said, “I’m sorry,
that was rude.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “It would not be polite to tell her that someone wants to
conquer her.”

“I’m sure you would protect her to the death,” she said.

“I don’t think I would,” I said. “I try to keep my life as far away from
conquering as I can, but I’m willing to make mistakes.”

Angie looked down at her painting. “I’m glad you’re not afraid of me,” she
said.

“You don’t see it,” I said.

“No, but I could feel the love you have for me,” she said.

“I don’t need that,” I said. “I’ve lost that because I don’t love you, and
that’s true. But something is keeping me from hating you. And I don’t know
what it is. But I do know that I would hate you if I really loved you.”

“I know,” Angie said. “I know you would. And I hate it, too, but I try to be
happy in my life. I’m not going to change it and for you to hate me is
impossible.”

She finished painting her nails and the back side of her toenails with red
markings. Angie did the same and finished her nails. She walked over to the
window and pulled open the curtains. She put her elbows on the side of the
window, rested her chin on her hands, waited for the breeze to blow her hair
back from her face, and looked at me.

“It’s late,” she said. “You should turn in.”

“I like sleeping,” I said.

“Then sleep with me,” she said. “We’re not going to do anything in the
morning, right? You can come wake me up if there’s something you want to talk
about.”

“I don’t think that’s necessary,” I said. “There’s nothing to talk about.”

“Then why don’t we sleep?” she asked.

The wind whipped her blonde hair into her face. “We’ll have to use a
carpet,” she said while she closed the window.

“I hate carpet,” I said before I turned off the light and went into the
nursery.

*******

I heard Angie in the bathroom, washing her hands. I opened the door and went
into the nursery to find her sitting in her bed, staring at the ceiling,
clasping her hands.

“That’s creepy,” I said.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “It doesn’t mean anything. I’m just nervous. I feel
really stupid right now.”

“The dream is bothering you,” I said. “I’m sorry I woke you.”

“I’ll sleep better,” she said. “I’m just scared.”

“Well, at least you’re still here,” I said. “You can’t take the dream with
you.”

“I’ll go to sleep right now,” she said. “Good night,” she said. She stood up
and went into the bathroom. Her voice was soft and she didn’t sound at all like
her usual self.

I went to the door and looked out at the night. The wind had passed. I sat down
on the floor in the nursery and looked at the painting of the bridge. I don’t
know why I stayed in the nursery, maybe I couldn’t sleep. And right now I was
thinking too much, not thinking about Angie because she didn’t matter. I got up
and moved into the other room. I closed the door.

I couldn’t concentrate on anything that was happening in my life.

***********

Angie woke me up. I went to the kitchen and pulled a bowl out of the fridge
and started to eat. I looked at the clock. 11:30. I thought I’d slept for two
hours and then I got up and went to work. I was still exhausted, but I was
still thinking about my dream.

I sat down in front of my computer and looked at my email list.

“Angie,” I typed into my email. “Here’s a great idea,” I said.

I typed: “I think of all the things I could do that would make your life
better.”

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