From the Author
"Do you believe in dreams, Preacher?"
"Yes, I do, Scarlett. In the Bible, God used dreams to direct people to do his will."
"Really? Wow! The Bible is just ... just fascinating."
"It is, it is. Why do you ask?"
"Because I had a dream. A rather ... troublesome one at that, and..." I summon a coy look, a secret smile, before I avert my eyes.
"What? What is it that troubles you so?"
I look up at him then quickly look away. "I'm afraid totell you, Preacher." My voice is soft, barely a whisper, my eyes downcast.
"Afraid? Of me? Why, Scarlett?"
"Because, Preacher," I look up at him again, "I worry that you may think poorly of me. That you might even judge me."
"I would never do that, Scarlett. No. God's the only one who -"
He shakes his head. "I wouldn't. Never would I do that."
"Okay, so let me get this straight-- should I tell you my dream...however perverted...however troublesome..."
"... you will not judge me ..."
"....you will not walk away..."
"...you will not stay away and send someone else in yourplace...""No!"
"...however uncomfortableyou may be?"
He gives me a resounding nod. "Absolutely! You know what they say about a burden shared...?" His eyebrows lift.
"Is a burden halved. Sure." I blow out my cheeks andcrack my knuckles. "Okay, since you promised."
"I dreamed...I dreamed of ...you."
"Oh." He straightens up and stands tall.
"You promised, now," I admonish, before I plough ahead."You and me. We were making love and it was amazing and beautiful and -"
"Whoa, Scarlett, stop!"
"--like, you couldn't get enough of me and I wanted all ofyou, every single bit. I wanted to taste --"
"--you in more ways than one, and like, I was surprised, because you aren't my type." I smile. "We were so good together, and you, you were wonderful and I was -" another coy smile, "even better. Sorry to have to say that." A short chuckle escapes my lips. "And you, you were so ...so goddamn contented and relaxed while we were making love."
With a loud groan, he slaps his forehead.
My index finger shoots toward his face. "And that's exactly how you groaned."
He looks at me, hand mid-air, curiosity appearing to get the better of him.
"Moaned, whenyou were inside of me. Your moans, they were so ...like, how can I explain it -like those of a contented man. Your gratification was tangible when you wereburied deep inside of me and when we were one."
I catch a glimpse of intrigue in his eyes.
"You told me that your life was great, but it lacked passion. In my dream, that is. You told me that you never thought about it, until you tasted me. You told me that you never knew passion like that. You never believed it was possible to experience such intense and powerful feelings." I smile at him. He doesn't smile back.
"You didn't want to leave my arms. You wanted to be in them forever, you said. Of course, I didn't want you to." I wait for him to tell me to go on. He doesn't, but I go on anyway. "When it was over, I was sad because the dream, however real, it didn't make much sense. It just didn't. I mean, here I am a grieving widow, still getting over the untimely and brutal death of my husband, and you - I mean you're married and a man of God."
His head bobs.
"But as I thought about it, as I analysed it, the answerhit me."
I nod, before I go on. "I realized that you may be a man of God, but you're still a man. You're just a man, a mere one at that trying to walk the straight and narrow even though you're imperfect.How hard it has to be for you to take the road less travelled. How hard it must be on you when your needs are just not being met. How hard it must be on you to realize that even though you feel unfulfilled, you are trapped in this lack lustre marriage. How hard it must be to live with the thought that your marriage has now become a treadmill - day in and day out daunting discontentment and patchy mediocrity prevail. Your marriage has morphed into a life sentence of unhappiness and melancholy. Anger and resentment follows, and the duo simmers soundlessly beneath the surface, like lava in a volcano. It's only a matter of time before there is an eruption, and ...it will be no fault of yours."
He listens with rapt attention, so I proceed with myinstilling of discontentment.
"When is God going to talk to you, Preacher? When is it your turn? Or is it now? Has God alreadyspoken, showed you what you need and have we somehow missed the signs?" We.
I fall silent and look at him. Your serve.
"Well, I ..." He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand,his face the colour of beetroot. "I'm not...I ..." His voice cracks and he has toclear his throat several times. Then he abruptly falls silent.
"Of course, I understand your confusion and maybe even yourdismay at my dream, Preacher, but imagine how I feel? Who else can I tell mydreams to and not be judged? Besides you? Consider this my confession." I winkat him, then smile disarmingly.
"I...I ...I mean...like..." He looks like he's suffered aconcussion of sorts.
"And it's just great that you aren't acting like anadolescent and bolting out of here. You get that I am not going to act on mydream."
"Ha. Okay. Sure. Okay." His colour slowly creeps backinto his face and he bobs his head in what I believe is abject relief.
"Anyway, I've had this dream more than once and that'swhat perturbs me." I cock my head at him. "I'm curious; what is yourinterpretation of my dream, Preacher?"
"Well, I...look, I think..." He takes a large breath. "Somedreams are best ignored."
"Oh, okay then. I will ignore the dream," I say in aspritely voice "But can I ask you a question, Preacher? Can you answerhonestly?"
He raises both palms to me. Hold on a minute.
"It's just a question."
After glancing behind at the doorway, he shrugs.
I lean in and whisper. "Do you ever dream of me?"
"Eh, no." He shakes his head. "No."
I frown, then say, "Will you tell me if you do?"
"Scarlett, this is highly irregular and -"
"What is? Me asking you to be honest? Isn't that the bestpolicy?" With my head cocked, I smile sweetly at him.
"Yes, true. It is."
"So you will tell me if you do? Promise?"
"Promise? Please, please, please. It's all I ask."
After some shifting around in his seat, he says, "Okay."
"Thank you. I know you are a man of your word and that Itruly appreciate."
I lie back in my bed. "Now can you continue reading from the Bible please?"
"I have to go, Scarlett."
"Just one story, please."
"Um, okay. One story."
"Someone mentioned an interesting story about Sarah andAbraham and a man named Hagar."
"A woman namedHagar," he corrects.
"Oh, silly me. Okay," I settle back in bed and close myeyes. "Please read me that story."