I had a dream about you a few nights ago. I'm sure you know. I've had sporadic dreams over the past couple of years. Some were nice, some horrific, and some just confusing. Always, I'm left craving more and am usually hating that I'm even capable of dreaming. That was still true this time, but something was different. You looked different. I've had dreams where you appeared to have more capabilities than you'd had here. You walk, talk, run. But, even in those dreams you always look like my boy, my baby, your curly hair and blue eyes an unmistakable reminder. This time however, you were not the baby I held. You were a man.
The next part is so vivid. I was sitting on the arm of a couch and looking over at you. I had gotten a camera out of my purse and took a picture of all that was laid out before me. I'm so glad that I did, because that snapshot has created a sort of phantom memory. A large window was directly behind you and the sun was shining in brilliantly. The curly mop of my ornery baby boy had been replaced by a thick wave of dark brown hair. I could tell you were tall, like Daddy, even though you were seated at the time. You were sitting at a piano, your body turned slightly toward me. Your smile was so big as you played the lively, upbeat song and called to them. Them. Your children. I barely saw them as they danced, giggled and twirled just out of the frame of my picture. I remember the dress of one flying through the air. They'd been waiting all day for Daddy to get home from work, so they could show Grandma how they danced while he played. Work. You had been working. You wore long pants and a lightly striped button down shirt. Your tie had been removed and thrown over the back of a chair. The two top buttons of your shirt were now open. Work was over, and you were playing and relaxing with your children.
When I woke up, most of my dream was gone. I can't recall many of the things that happened, but the picture that my dream self captured is still so crisp and clear in my mind. I'm so glad she took that picture. I've been looking at my last pictures of you today. I've even watched a few videos, because although it is so very painful to do so, I craved another look so much I was having trouble breathing. Sometimes when I watch them or look at the pictures, I'm so confused about the fact that they're my last ones. Why didn't someone tell me that? I can't even imagine how many I'd have now if I'd known that I wouldn't have the chance to take any more. It's so foreign to me that no matter how many times I look through them, I'll never see a new one. In fact, sometimes I expect to be surprised by one I haven't seen. It would be one of your current 4 year old self. Did you grow? Is your hair longer? Would I be buying bigger shoes? I don't know, because it's still not here. That new picture just doesn't exist.
So, I'm keeping this phantom picture locked away in my mind. And I write this description so that I can recall it with as much detail in 20 years when the craving for my son, the man, is just too much to bear. I'll be able to see him again, sitting at his piano and laughing as his children dance through a sunlit living room...