a motel room not too far away from the burned ruins
of his home, a father dreams.
dreams of a time somewhere in the future where there
isn’t death and there never has been. He dreams
of a family—a beautiful wife with long, golden
hair and two sons—a four-year-old with a bowl
shaped haircut and eyes as wide as saucers and a six
month old baby, dark hair just beginning to emerge,
with a smile that could melt anyone’s heart.
dreams of the four of them together, as happy as a normal
family should be.
dreams of his boys playing in Little League sports or
maybe having a small part in the school play. He dreams
of lost teeth and the excitement of receiving money
for them. He dreams of skinned knees as the boys play
together at the neighborhood park. He dreams of tears,
whether it be from joy or anguish. He dreams of himself
promising that nothing bad will ever happen to his sons
and he will be there to chase away the monsters.
dreams of his boys and their first crushes, relationships,
and broken hearts. He dreams of high school dances and
homecoming games. He dreams of his boys becoming hometown
heroes for scoring the winning touchdown in the state
dreams of a future for his boys, maybe becoming mechanics
like him or maybe going to some far away college, becoming
something more. He dreams of his sons marrying and the
white picket fence with the cozy little house next door
to him. He dreams of himself and his wife becoming proud
grandparents, faces full of joy as their grandchildren
run to their open arms.
dreams of his twenty-fifth, fiftieth, and seventy-fifth
anniversaries and the love he still has for his wife.
He dreams of himself falling in love with her all over
again, being ready to wake up next to her every morning,
ready to take on the world. He dreams of the love in
her eyes and hopes that she sees the same in his.
dreams about this and so much more, and for one night,
it comes true. There isn’t misery or pain; there
is only love and joy. There isn’t death or destruction
or the grief on his boys faces after losing their mother.
There isn’t that bottle of whiskey that is constantly
by his side so he can escape the nightmare that’s
been his life for over a month now.
isn’t the feeling of defeat that weighs heavy
in his chest. There isn’t any fire or blood. There
isn’t any crying or hearing his four-year-old
screaming in the middle of the night. There isn’t
the fear that he feels at the prospect of raising two
young boys by himself. There isn’t the look of
pity from the townspeople or the incessant condolences
he hears every time he walks down the street.
isn’t any of this because for one night, the father
In a motel room not too far away from the burned ruins
of his home, a young boy dreams.
dreams of his daddy, mommy, and baby brother and they’re
together and they’re happy.
dreams of his mommy, her golden hair almost the same
color as his and the smile that is always there every
time he looks up at her in wide-eyed wonder. He dreams
of the angels his mommy told him about, the ones that
were always there to watch over him. He dreams about
the bedtime stories his mommy loved to read to him and
helping her tuck in his brother every night before she
did the same thing with him.
dreams of his daddy, the one who always loved to wrestle
with him and play baseball in the yard. He dreams of
his daddy who always let him help when it came to working
on or washing the big black car. He dreams of his daddy
who always took him to the local diner for an ice-cream
treat every Wednesday night—he would call it their
night and no one else could come unless they had special
dreams of playing tee-ball and hitting the ball way
across the field and scoring the winning run. He dreams
of his coach lifting him high in the air in celebration
and his mommy and daddy cheering from the bleachers.
He dreams of his preschool class and his favorite teacher
in the whole world, Miss Mason. He dreams of painting
a picture and handing it to his mommy at the end of
the day and she proudly hangs it up on the refrigerator.
dreams of his baby brother and how he’ll show
him how to hit the ball really far when he gets older.
He dreams of taking his brother by the hand and showing
him the world; well, the world from a kid’s perspective,
at least. He dreams of convincing his daddy to let his
baby brother come to one of their ice cream days. He
dreams of being there to pick up his brother and encourage
him as he tries to take his first step.
young boy dreams of this and so much more.
doesn’t dream about the fire and the fear in his
daddy’s eyes as he handed him his little brother
and told him to get out of there. He doesn’t dream
about that quick glimpse he has of his mommy on the
ceiling or the odd red color he saw on her belly. He
doesn’t dream about his brother’s window
exploding and his daddy coming out to scoop them up
before the mean fire could get them too.
doesn’t dream about sitting on the hood of his
daddy’s car and watching as the firemen try to
put out the fire. He doesn’t dream about the fact
that his mommy is still inside the house and not outside,
sitting on the car with them. He doesn’t dream
of his daddy crying in another room or the bottle he
keeps drinking from. He doesn’t dream about how
his daddy doesn’t say anything to him or give
him the smile he’s so used to.
isn’t any of this because for one night, the young
boy can dream.
In a motel room not too far away from the burned ruins
of his home, a baby dreams.
dreams of a woman, a man, and a young boy. He still
isn’t quite sure what to call them but he knows
that they love him and he loves them. He dreams of them
picking him up from his crib and smiling down at him,
giving him a feeling of love and comfort. He dreams
of them talking to him, though he has no idea what they’re
saying but that’s okay, because he knows he likes
it and that it makes him feel good.
dreams of the woman’s arms, the way they hold
him tightly but gently, providing that extra blanket
of warmth. He dreams of the sound of her beating heart,
the way the staccato lullaby lulls him into the land
of nod. He dreams of the smile she gives him each time
she picks him up, holds him, and tickles his belly.
baby dreams of the man and the sound of his deep voice
that tells him he loves him every night before he turns
out the light. He dreams of the way the man presses
a kiss on his forehead in the quiet moments when no
one else is around. He dreams of the man checking on
him late every night, making sure he’s okay before
retiring to his room.
most of all, the baby dreams about the young boy who
always has a smile on his face every time he sees him.
He dreams of the boy who is usually never two feet away
from him, protecting him from all there is out in the
world. He dreams of the boy who makes up stories to
tell him before he goes to bed each night. He dreams
of the boy who makes the silly faces and noises, making
him laugh like no other person can. He dreams of the
young boy who has adventure in his eyes and the promise
of many adventures to come.
the baby doesn’t dream about is the fire.
doesn’t dream about the heat or the screams of
terror he heard coming from the woman who always cradled
and comforted him. He doesn’t dream about the
mysterious man standing by his crib, dripping red stuff
into his mouth. He doesn’t dream about the mysterious
man throwing the woman across the room and pinning her
to the ceiling. He doesn’t dream about the cut
across the woman’s belly and the same red stuff
that the mysterious man put into his mouth dripping
down in his crib.
baby doesn’t dream about the man he knew loved
him running into the room and checking on him. He doesn’t
dream about the man’s look of terror as he spies
the woman on the ceiling. He doesn’t dream about
being yanked out of his crib and being whisked away
where the flames couldn’t touch him.
doesn’t dream about the way the man holds onto
him, like he was a lifeline and that he would lose him
the way he lost the woman. He doesn’t dream about
never seeing the woman again and never knowing who she
isn’t any of this because for one night, the baby
In the heavens far above, a mother dreams.
dreams of a family that wasn’t ripped away from
her—a loving, dedicated husband and father and
her two sons she named after her own parents. She dreams
of the happy family they are, not what they were because
she refuses to look at it like that—at least,
not now. She dreams of the love they shared and the
amount of love they still have for each other.
dreams of a man who dedicated his life— not only
to his country, but to his family as well. She dreams
of the husband who made her whole life worth living
and helped her become the woman and mother she is today.
She dreams of the man who would drop anything and everything
when it came to his family.
mother dreams of the husband who has so much love in
him, she’s afraid he might actually explode one
day. She dreams of the man who wasn’t afraid to
stand up to anything, but put a spider in front of him
and he’d scream like a little schoolgirl. She
dreams of his deep laugh and the constant ways he always
tried to make her laugh, especially all throughout her
two pregnancies. She dreams of the hopeless romantic
who would bring her flowers every week and leave little
notes in the most unexpected places. She dreams of the
man who always wrote her letters when he was away at
war and who kept every single letter she ever wrote
dreams of the husband who is the father of her children
and the love in his eyes every time he looks at them.
She dreams of the husband who will be there to guide
her sons through life and stand there as a pillar of
strength when they need him the most.
mother dreams about her boys, her two perfect little
angels she wouldn’t trade for anything in the
entire world. She dreams of the two different personalities
and the way each of their little idiosyncrasies melt
her heart like no other. She dreams of the boys and
the men they will become and the dreams she has for
dreams of them being happy with whom they are and the
choices they make along their path of life. She dreams
of high school dances, graduations, and college applications.
She dreams of broken hearts and broken dreams and being
there to mend them both. She dreams of the families
they will have and the Sunday dinners at the family
home. She dreams of Christmases with her grandchildren
she doesn’t dream about is the fire and how it
took everything away over a month ago. She doesn’t
dream how it put a stop to all of her hopes and dreams
she had not only for herself, but for her husband and
boys as well. She doesn’t dream about the man
in her youngest son’s room and the deal she made
all those years ago.
doesn’t dream about the pain and anguish she felt
as he tore into her abdomen and opened her up like a
Christmas ham. She doesn’t dream about the blood
dripping down into the crib or the heat of the flames
as they threatened to consume her baby and the nursery.
She doesn’t dream about the horror on her husband’s
face as he saw her on the ceiling or the failure in
his eyes as he realized there was nothing he could do
to save her.
doesn’t dream about the man that he is now—the
empty shell that is running on nothing but rage and
alcoholic fumes. She doesn’t dream about the way
her boys aren’t being looked after the way they
should, the way they deserve to be. She doesn’t
dream about how she should be there with them now instead
of looking down at them from above.
isn’t any of this because for one night, the mother
Rhiannon smiles to herself, pleased with the work she
has done for tonight. For one night a year on Christmas,
the Welsh goddess has the ability to make pleasant dreams
happen and give deserving people wonderful visions to
make them feel at peace. She takes away the horror and
for one night, allows them to sleep soundly without
a care in the world.
knew she had to help this family—it was like a
strong beacon was calling out to her and she had to
answer that call. No family deserved to suffer like
they had and she was only too happy to ease their burden,
even if it wouldn’t last for more than a few hours.
It was the gift she gave at Christmastime and it was
better than anything anyone could ever receive.
more happy visions their way, the goddess made her exit,
off to find the next deserving person or family worthy
of her gift.