In the Dream
In the dream, Charlotte was laying on her right side on the bed, with her arm propping up her head. Wade was flat on his back. White blankets were ruffled between their bodies. Charlotte could feel all her clothes, but it was a dream feeling so she could not tell if she actually had any clothes on. Wade was shirtless. She could see his upper half, stocky and soft. She could smell his long hair – two days without a shower – emanating from the tangles. Charlotte did not reach out and touch Wade, even though she wanted to. The dream would not let her.
Another woman entered the bedroom. She was much more beautiful than Charlotte would ever see of herself. In fact, this woman was the complete opposite of Charlotte: dark hair, tanned skin, big breasts, flat ass. She had a rainbow of freckles across her nose. She was exotic. She was beachy. She jumped onto Wade immediately, and started kissing him. Charlotte was frozen.
“We met on set years ago,” she told Charlotte from on top of Wade. The exotic girl’s limbs spread out like a starfish, moving in all directions in slow motion. “You need to get out and give us time. Alone.”
Charlotte was jealous and heartbroken, but she revealed none of this. She just shrugged, pulled her body off the bed and said: “I understand.”
In the dream, she could see the exotic girl and Wade fucking, even though she had left the room and the door was shut.
Dreams are funny that way.
When Charlotte woke, she flipped onto her side to realise she was alone in her bed. It was 11am on a Sunday. Her laptop was beside her, half open, like a semi-ripe oyster.
Last night came back to her: she had stayed home because of her hangover and watched two documentaries: The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema and Oxyana. She had fallen asleep before Oxyana, New York magazine‘s top documentary of 2013, had ended.
Why was she dreaming about Wade?
She thought about texting him, but decided to shower instead.
The exotic girl from the dream was fresh in Charlotte’s mind. Who was that girl? She reminded her of a slighter version of a fat Hawaiian girl she had gone to high school with. The fat Hawaiian girl had had the most beautiful face that Charlotte had ever seen. It was the freckles. The image of Wade and the exotic woman having sex was circling.
“Dreams are for those who want to escape reality and reality for those who must escape their dreams,” the narrator of The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema had said in his thick, European accent.
Charlotte had not seen Wade in weeks. A few nights earlier, when she was drunk and lonely, she had texted him:
“Let’s do a pic trade later. I’m so bored with this town. Give you whatever.”
She pressed send without a second thought, chucked her phone back into her purse and continued drinking tequila with her friends.
Charlotte hated her own needy impulsiveness. It was vicious. But the iPhone was kind of magical. It allowed her to edit herself. She could send a text to Wade (or any other man) and delete it from the bubbles of their conversations. She could pretend it never even happened. It was safer to delude herself.
The bubbles often held one-word responses from men. “Yup!” “Baby!” “Ha!” Sometimes, she got a whole sentence. “Just got up! What were you doing last night?” They made no conversational sense after she had deleted her initial late-night message. She was editing herself for the sake of ego, but all the next-morning’s response did was remind her that she had in fact sent a text, and then deleted it out of embarrassment. The white bubble response to nothing was a sting. Editing herself made her feel worse. The blue conversation bubbles dominated the white ones. On a weekly basis, she contemplated downloading an app which would prevent her from texting men while drunk, but she told herself she was too good for that sort of thing.
Wade had responded to Charlotte’s text the next morning.
“Dang! I’m sorry I slept through this one!” That white bubble. Wade’s responses were always littered with unnecessary exclamation marks.
The exotic woman in the dream had piercing green eyes. Charlotte had dark, glassy eyes like a mouse. After her shower, she rubbed make-up remover over her eyelids with a cotton ball, eliminating the excess mascara crusted between her lashes. She thought about all the changes she would make to her own face if she had the money for plastic surgery.
The last time Charlotte had slept with Wade, he had to go to work early the next morning. When he got up to shower, she woke up too, but remained in bed. She surfed emails on her iPhone. Outside Wade’s window, California was winking at her. “Good morning,” California said. “You know you don’t want to leave me.” The sky was pink. California was correct. Charlotte did not want to fly to Texas that afternoon.
When Charlotte heard Wade coming back to his bedroom from the bathroom, she rolled onto her side, back to the door, still looking at her phone. She hoped he wouldn’t notice she was awake, but he did.
“Why are you up?” He asked. “Aren’t you so tired?”
“Because I never sleep. I don’t know. I have work emails to answer.”
“I’m sorry if I woke you up,” he offered.
While Wade shuffled through his closet, Charlotte stared out the window at California. Palm trees were so exotic. She loved their black shadows against the pink sky. The scene outside Wade’s open window was perfect – airbrushed like nail art. Fake was so beautiful.
Charlotte put her phone down. She closed her eyes and coiled her naked leg outside the sheets to get Wade’s attention before he left for his job. It worked. Wade crawled back into bed, hovering over Charlotte and gave her a kiss. “Goodbye, sweet thing.”
She kissed him back, but did not open her mouth because she had not brushed her teeth yet. Chalky mouth to chalky mouth was not sexy. And she wanted to be sexy.
“I’ll see you soon,” Charlotte whispered through tight lips even though it was not true. They would not be seeing one another for a few months, maybe never again.
Charlotte listened to the hum of Wade’s van outside the window as he drove off into the perfect nail art of California.
In the dream, Wade had said nothing to Charlotte when the exotic woman jumped on top of him. He embraced the woman and stayed on his back. The exotic woman did all the squirming. She did all the work. Even when Wade and the exotic woman started having sex, it was all her. Wade lay flat. He let her wrap her cocoa butter legs around him and hump him, while he remained still and smiling like a dope.
The flat-ass freckly bitch. Charlotte was awake and still jealous.
I’ve woken up, Charlotte told herself. I’ve killed her.
The flat-ass freckly bitch. Fuck that fucking bitch. Fuck that fucking stupid old bitch.
Charlotte grabbed her phone. “I had a graphic dream last night that I bit your mouth off,” she texted to Wade, lying. “Your tongue bled into my asshole.”
A few minutes later her phone lit up. A white bubble from Wade: “Hell yeah!!!” Those exclamation marks.
The green eyes of the exotic woman burned like embers in the back of Charlotte’s head.
Photograph by Creative Commons