I whirl around, bringing my fists up. It’s only Jude.
“What are you doing here?” I say.
“I hd to make sure you didn’t go off and do something crazy,” he says.
I see the genuine concern with his violet eyes, which brings another memory–leaving my parents’ house to go to school. A boy waits for me by the mailbox as he does everyday. A patch of violets the same color as his eyes grows around the mailbox. I tell him, “Your eyes are like a dream.” He tells me, “I’m going to marry you someday.”
“I remember you now,” I say to the grown-up Jude. How did I every forget someone with violet eyes? “And Graham…did he ever exist?”
“I don’t know,” Jude says, the relief blatant on his face. There’s already a bruise from Graham’s punch. “Even I’m starting to lose my grip with reality and having trouble determining what’s real and what’s part of the dream.”
“And it’s all because of the pills?” I say. It’s easier to trust him now that I remember him.
He nods, watching me cautiously.
“Then we have to get rid of them,” I say, sounding surer than I feel.
His relief very obviously deepens. “We do. Lucky for us, I know exactly what to do.”
“It seems like you’ve been planning this for a long time,” I say, unable to stop myself from reaching out to touch him.
He feels so solid and real–but so did Graham and so do the Nightwalkers.
“I have,” he says with another nod. “You need to understand something, though. Things are going to get worse before they get better. Once we get rid of the pills, there will be chaos–for awhile, at least.”
“I’m not afraid,” I say, although my heart is pounding.
I’ve already lost Graham–I’m starting to doubt he never exist–and now I know the Nightwalkers aren’t real.
A blue and black butterfly lands on the back of my hand, tickling my skin. I bring it up to my face and watch it before holding it out to Jude. He cups it in his hand and then lets it go, reaching his hand out to me. I take it.
As if he can read my thoughts, he says softly to me, “I know I’m the one who’s been telling you to differentiate between reality and dreams, but maybe you can hold onto Graham. You don’t have to think too hard about whether or not he really existed. It’s okay to remember him fondly and hold him close to your heart.”
And because I have no doubts that Jude is real, I stand on my tiptoes and brush my lips to his as lightly as the butterfly’s wings brushed against my skin.
Snippet Saturday is my chance to share bits and pieces of my writing.