A dream.

Love Letter Day 15.

I had a dream last night that felt so cinematic and so tragic and so romantic that I thought I’d share it even though it means you are dead.

We are lounging. It’s a beautiful fall day. You tell me you can channel messages from the beyond, and tell me you want to write something on my hand. We’re being funny, I think. I wait and concentrate, trying to send you a message. We laugh. You write 生 in red, on my hand. It’s hilarious to us, you know—the dead sending a message that means “alive.”

I go to a train station in Japan to meet my mother and Tagame-sensei. My mom wants to take us to something called Obatallion—a raunchy party for grandmas. She says the train ride will be three hours long. I panic that I have no entertainment for that time and look for a bookstore at the station. Find a stationery store instead. There’s a long line to make purchases so I try to wait in the line while passively perusing for a notebook. I do not find anything appropriate. Only accounting ledgers and juvenile letterhead. I don’t like any of the options. The line doesn’t move. I’m going to miss the train.

I give up on stationery and go to the harbor looking for the train platform and text everyone: which train am I looking for? And then a friend of ours—for our purposes worth only noting that he is tall and burly—appears. He grabs me and says “we need to go right now.” Where are we going? Where is the train?

He rushes me to a boat. “Oh we are taking a boat?” I say. We motor through a canal with urgency. It’s dark out, but clear. It must be very late at night it is so quiet. I’ve seen this in another vision before, weirdly. As he speeds through the water, I ask where we’re going—did we miss the train? He doesn’t say anything but the boat lifts off and now it is flying. He lifts a hatch on the floor of the boat and shines a flood light. I look down and see a luminous ship, at least 20 feet underwater.  Oh my god. People are drowning.

We use the amphibious plane-boat’s flood lamp to scan the waters for people. I see nothing but dark silhouettes of sharks. So many sharks. I am scared. My friend finally speaks. “I’ve trawled 250 tons on that boat and never had trouble with it. Why did it go down tonight?!”

We see a body caught in a bailiwick. We touch down and approach him on foot. The water is shallow and pulling the man to shore is not difficult. He has minor cuts all over his face, to which we apply peroxide, waking him up.

We all head to port and now it is dawn. Everyone rescued is grateful and warming up under blankets. We’re facing a glass storefront long discontinued. A young man appears, who looks like an Asian Harry Potter. I recognize him for some reason and so I go up and ask what he wants. He looks a little shell shocked and says to me, “I think I’ve killed a man.” We all stop and look at him. What do you mean? He elaborates that he was young and watching someone mauled in the snow by a tiger and did nothing to stop it. I am somehow relieved he is talking about relived memory.

It’s ok, guys. He’s just remembering something from his past.

I tell the boy, “I’m sorry, sweetie, but we’re all a little preoccupied right now as our friends’ boat has been shipwrecked and we’re still looking for survivors.” I know there’s a search crew. We’re supposed to wait at the port at this expired storefront.

One of the seamen asks “who else is unaccounted for?” Another seaman says two names. One of the names is yours. I panic. Where are you?

After a moment of tense silence, the same seaman says that the vacant store we were looking at used to be a funny little cafe with a funny window painting of a sign. And then you appear. You sit behind me on a step and I rest my head on your lap, relieved. You and the seamen recount memories from the cafe, and instruct the boy to start drawing what they remember. Someone tells him, that the sign read:


The boy draws with a red paint brush. The signs are elaborate and you even gesture with your finger how he should add detail to the surrounding image—grass, stardust. He mirrors your hand.

You tell him you have one more thing you need to say and we all go quiet. You utter nothing. The boy starts to spasm. His trembling hand goes back to the window and slowly but surely, is channeling your message. He spells my name.

I start sobbing. I know this means you are dead. You kiss my head and apologize.

“I’m sorry, Anne. I am so sorry.”

You disappear.