Copyright is held by the author.
I HAD a dream last night, the craziest one ever. At least I think it was a dream. That’s what my husband Fred told me, but I’m not convinced. It was the wee hours of the morning, not even the birds were awake yet. I was in a deep slumber, another dimension entirely.
It was pitch black in my room with only a single stream of moonlight casting a silvery shadow on the laminate floors. All of a sudden I was jarred awake. I bolted upright, jumped out of bed and almost stubbed my toe on the bed’s metal frame. My head ached and I was disoriented, trying to make sense of what had happened.
My eyes were blurry with a fine skin of sleep, a cataract-like coating attempting to disperse. My ears alert, I listened. My attention was on guard, while the fine hairs at the back of my neck were standing up. I wondered if it was a figment of my imagination, emanating from deep within my subconscious?
Our home was on a dead end road, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I heard sirens. They were loud and continuous. I could have sworn glowing red and blue lights were dashing past the window. They were gone now, but when I closed my eyes I could see the remnants of twinkling minnow-like images.
Fred, my husband of almost 50 years, must have heard me. He was standing directly behind me now. I saw the outline of his body reflected in the glass, as the fluorescent light streamed through the window.
“Mabel, what on earth are you doing up at this ungodly hour?” He asked, yawning, and rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“The ambulance sirens woke me up,” I said, trembling, trying to understand why he was asking such a dumb question.
“What ambulance?” Fred asked, as he scratched the top of his balding head.
“What do you mean, what ambulance? Couldn’t you here it? It must have come all the way from town. It was faint at first, and then grew louder by the minute until it was as clear as a bell.” I said, shaking my head in disbelief.
Fred moved closer to the window, peered over my shoulder into the darkness and said, “There’s nothing out there, Mabel. Come back to bed, you’ve been dreaming again.”
“I have not been dreaming,” I said, my voice rising in irritation. “They were loud, disturbing, continuous sounds.” Although they were gone now, the noise continued to resonate in my ears.
I could barely make out the expression on his face in the darkness, but I knew he was mocking me. “Don’t patronize me Fred, it was real. Just because you didn’t see or hear it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” I said, glaring at him in the night.
“Okay, if you say so. There was an ambulance, and sirens, and coloured lights . . . if you say so Mabel. I’m going back to bed. You can stay up and stare out that window as long as you want, but one of us needs to get some sleep. It’s almost morning,” he said, shaking his head back and forth. Fred shuffled across the room yanking up the waistband on his drooping pajama pants, before he climbed back into bed.
“Let me know if you see any spaceships, little green men, or a pink elephant,” he said, as he pulled the duvet up to his chin and turned on his side. I could hear him laughing at first, and then he mumbled something like, “Now I’ve heard everything.”
“You’re an annoying old man,” I said, climbing back into bed, but he was already asleep.
All too soon the early morning light was streaming through the window. I opened my eyes to the sound of birds chirping ceremoniously. I stretched my arms and legs to let the blood flow through my veins, removing any residue of slumber.
Until I knew otherwise, I would have to accept that it had been a dream.
Fred was still snoring: “Hack, hack, shoo, shoo.”
I wanted to smack him on the back and jar him from his sleep. Spaceships, little green men and a pink elephant, what was he thinking? I was still annoyed with Fred, and my mood had not improved.
Climbing out of bed, my feet touched the floor one at a time. I slipped into my fuzzy slippers, a gift from the grandchildren, and went into the bathroom. Making as much noise as possible, I flushed the toilet, and slammed the seat down several times. I dragged the hamper along the ceramic floor, banged a hairbrush on the towel bar, and waited until Fred began to stir in the other room.
“Mabel, what are you doing now?” He said. “What’s all the noise, this early in the morning? You could wake the dead with all that racket.”
Staring him down with defiance I said, “What do you mean what am I doing . . . NOW?”
“You know what I’m talking about Mabel — that fiasco last night when you woke me up for those nonexistent sirens and flashing red and blue lights. The least you could do is let me get my beauty sleep. I’m not getting any younger.”
“Fred, what on earth are you talking about?” I said, raising my eyebrows and looking straight into his eyes.
“What do you mean, what am I talking about?” Fred said his voice getting louder with each syllable. “The ambulance sirens . . . the flashing red and blue lights, the ones you heard last night.”
“Fred, dear, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Last night I had a wonderful restful sleep, and didn’t wake up once. You must have been dreaming. Next thing you know you’ll be seeing spaceships, little green men, and a pink elephant,” I said, turning away from him, my lips curled in a contented smile.
As I walked out of the room humming a tune, I glanced back at Fred’s totally bewildered reflection in the mirror. Yes, it was definitely going to be a good day!