home

A dear friend of mine, Leilani, told me a few weeks ago about a dream she had when she was a child. She said it left such an impact on her that it remains the most vivid dream she remembers 15 years later today. In it she held a dandelion that she closed her eyes to and asked to take her home. But when she opened her eyes she realized that it hadn’t taken her anywhere.

My lover and I have slept together every night for the past 14 nights. And by sleeping together I mean it in the most innocent yet most intimate way possible: alternating between big spoon and little spoon, tangling legs together, reaching over in the middle of the night with eyes still closed to link hands, scooting backward when we’ve reached opposite ends of the bed to feel each other’s warmth again, tracing patterns on skin while half-awake, whispering I love you‘s only to have them get lost in our blanket. We didn’t even need to take our clothes off.

She left this morning at the break of dawn, my favorite hour. For the past 14 dawns I’ve slept next to her, and on special mornings I’ve been awake with her, talking softly, watching the room light up with the sun. But on this dawn I watched her walk through the airport security gates and out of sight for the third time. Saying goodbye doesn’t get any easier, but getting through it does, because we are one goodbye closer to never saying goodbye again.

I pressed my hands to my cheeks because I wanted to wipe them free of tears and I felt the pain in my right hand from all the handwriting I did hours before when working on her third plane ride away from me letter. I titled it Home because of the conversation we had hours before my pen hit paper.

We were in my car and no words were being said. The good news hadn’t hit us yet (because it had hit at midnight, and alas, it was only 11), so I was overly emotional over her leaving. I was driving. She had her hand on my lap and her fingers intertwined with mine. One of our favorite Young the Giant songs was playing on the aux. My heart was heavy and I was thinking I wonder how many other 20-year-old hearts have to go through this. I looked at her and I said, “If I had a dandelion, and I closed my eyes and asked it to take me home right now, I would open my eyes and find that I hadn’t moved. But if I had a dandelion, and I closed my eyes two days from now and you were back in Virginia and I asked it to take me home, I would open my eyes and find myself in your barracks.”

That night, when we slept together for the last time (until a year has passed), I imagined myself holding a dandelion and asking it to take me home. I blew on it and it disappeared and I opened my eyes to my lover being little spoon and my arm around her waist and my face in her hair. And I whispered an I love you and it got lost in her skin before it could reach our blanket. And I knew that I was home.

So I got up and I wrote my Home letter to her until my bones ached and I got back into bed next to her with the lights off and our clothes on until I kissed her good morning to fly back to Virginia.

Leilani told me shortly after she revealed her dream to me that she was too young to realize what her dream meant, and if she were to have that dream again, the dandelion would take her right to where her boyfriend was. I listened to her and I asked her to write a piece on it. Then I closed my eyes and thought of my lover and thought I’ll write one of my own too.

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