Tom woke up in a panic. About nothing in particular. Everything was fine, as far as he could tell. The oven was off and the dishes were in the drying rack and his alarm was set for the morning.
His wife was asleep beside him, silently breathing. She never remembered her dreams but he could tell she was having one now. In her dream she was walking through her old high school, unable to remember the combination to her locker, but she wasn’t too worried. There was nothing too important in there anyway.
Tom got up and walked into the bathroom and made faces at himself in the mirror. He wondered if anybody had ever seen him make these faces and wondered what they would think if they could see him right now. There were so many things Tom would do in his life that wouldn’t be seen by anyone. There were so many swirling thoughts he would never be able to grasp and express. He knew that life wasn’t what he wanted it to be but he didn’t know why.
Expensive hand soaps lined the bathroom counter and he smelled them all and wondered if his wife would notice the scent of geranium on his hands when he returned to bed.
She walked into her English class and was immediately asked to open her book to page 42. Obviously, she couldn’t, as her book was in her locker, but somehow she managed to keep up, knowing the answer to every question.
Tom wondered if he would die in his sleep and he wondered if dying in his sleep was really as peaceful as everyone says it is. He wondered if he would wake up dead and realize he had died in his sleep and be disappointed that he wasn’t doing something cooler. Tom splashed water on his face and even though it looked like regular water, like all water, he remembered that even though all water is the same, this water was his and his alone, and as the drops slowly made their way down his cheeks they were disappearing forever, or becoming a part of him. Either way, this was their final moment.
She smiled as the bell rang and she walked out into the street in front of school and got in her mother’s car. She didn’t mention that she had forgotten her locker combination. She told her mom about Josh and how Josh had barely paid attention to her all day. Her mom reminded her to be patient and that everything will work out if it’s supposed to.
Tom wanted to scream so that something happening in this bathroom would have an effect, but he knew it wouldn’t be the effect he wanted. He slowly returned to the bedroom and crawled under the covers, doing his best to not disturb the dream that would soon disappear anyway.
When he woke up in the morning, he remembered all his thoughts. His wife didn’t remember her dream. They were even though, as neither his thoughts nor her dream changed a damn thing.