[This is a story, which I will be posting serially, every Friday for awhile. Chapter 1a is here.]
Jacob hadn’t remembered that his fallen comrades seemed to differ every time in the dream, and it made him nervous.
“A guy from high school. A guy from work. And Mark.”
“Better warn them.”
Those words stung a little. Because, like I just said, Jacob, after the dream had recurred a number of times, began to worry that it might actually mean something. When he told Anna, she was understanding. She didn’t say it, but she didn’t have to. He knew that she thought it was silly. And that’s why he hadn’t mentioned the dream to her recently. It did worry him, every time, and every time, it worried him more than it had before. And he felt silly. He was afraid to tell Anna, about the dream, yes, but more about how the dream kept making him feel.
A moment passed, silently.
“Jake,” she opened her green eyes and looked at him, more lucid now. “I’m sorry I said that.”
“No, I mean, I know you think it’s stupid, and, I mean, it is stupid, that I worry about it. But I still do, because, I don’t know, it’s weird. And I can’t turn it off.”
“I know.” Now fully awake, her eyes beamed sympathy and love. She leaned her head toward him and stroked his arm gently. “Try not to worry about it. People have crazy dreams all the time, and they don’t really have a deeper meaner or whatever.”
“I know. But then I think, ‘What if it does mean something?’ Like, what if it’s symbolic in some way? Or what if I’m just freaking nuts?”
“Well, then,” Anna had a barely perceptible note of impatience in her voice now. Most people would not have noticed, but Jacob knew. She was getting annoyed, but was trying her best to suppress it, to be understanding and kind to him. “Maybe you should talk to someone. Have you thought about talking to Mark about it?”
“Yeah, that would be good. ‘Mark, I’ve been dreaming about you.’” Jacob lisped when he said it, attempting a joke, and it broke some tension.
Jacob and Anna laughed.
“You should, if it’s making you anxious enough,” Anna said, the impatience gone.
“Babe, I’m not going to talk Mark about my stupid dream,” Jacob replied, getting frustrated and raising his voice a little.
Mark was the pastor at Baseli Community Church. A few years before, Jacob and Anna had started going there, and Jacob and Mark had grown to be close friends. They now met together regularly, and Jacob had been appointed to serve on Baseli’s elder council with Mark. Jacob hadn’t mentioned the dream to Mark, and wasn’t planning to.
“Babe, I think it might be a good idea,” Anna responded, still patiently, “if it’s bothering you enough, and it seems like it is, and—”
“I don’t want to!” And Jacob knew he was speaking now like a three-year-old having a temper tantrum.
“Well, what do you want me to do then?” Anna had moved quickly into her I’m-not-taking-your-immature-crap voice. She knew Jacob well.
“Nothing. I didn’t ask you to do anything. You asked me about the dream. I haven’t even said anything about it to you.”
“You didn’t have to. You woke up sucking wind and cussing and practically jumping off of your pillow.”
Jacob rolled over, giving Anna the silent treatment. Man, I’m a three-year-old sometimes, he thought to himself while he faced the wall.
“Babe,” Jacob rolled back over, just a moment later, “Maybe you’re right, I don’t know, I just feel stupid about it.”
“Jake, just talk to him, please. Would you do that? It would make me feel better.”
Jacob couldn’t tell Anna no, because he knew she was right and because of how she asked him. The pale dawning light softly illumined her face, with her naked green eyes wide-opened like a child, speaking softly as she looked at him. Her varying shades of blonde hair hung all around her head, lightly, giving the illusion of motion. It baffled him, how she could be so strong and confident, and still look at him that way. Every morning with Anna was a gift, like waking up on Christmas day, every day, over and over. He knew he loved her, that she was perfect for him and that she loved him. When he told her yes he told her the truth. They lay there as long as they could, until they would almost surely be running late, Jacob cradling Anna’s body with his own, kissing behind her ear and whispering sweet things. He meant them.
I hope it doesn’t seem contrived, how I’ve described this brief interaction. It’s difficult to describe how Jacob and Anna would relate to each other. Sometimes they would bicker, stubbornly, with Jacob being sensitive or Anna insisting she was right, or both. But they moved fluidly out of those times, because Jacob had grown a thicker skin and Anna was getting quicker to forgive and had a divinely given amount of patience. I don’t have the narrative forte to describe the actual, existential reality of their love for each other as they knew and lived it. I can only hope that you, the reader, in such cases are reminded of a similar love, and can therefore understand what I’m trying to describe with Jacob and Anna.