Becomes One Hundred Stories #20: Embraces His Bad Dreams

This is a piece of short fiction in the style and universe of three of my novels: Becomes the Happy Man, Becomes God’s Silent Prophet, and Becomes the Meaning Blossom.

Embraces His Bad Dreams

The man looked at his son.

The man’s son lay sleeping in his sleeping place. The infant lay sleeping in his sleeping place. He had been born a week before.

The man’s son was his first child. His first child and his only child. His only child this time around. But as the man could not remember the future, and as he could not remember the future of any other times around, he did not know that his son would be his only child this time around.

The man looked at his infant son and tried to remember when he had been an infant himself. He could not. He could not remember when he had been an infant, and he would not have wanted to remember even if he could remember, but he tried to remember anyway. But he could not. It had been too long ago. And it had been too early in his development. And it had been too difficult.

The man liked his son. The man liked his infant son, and he wanted the best for his infant son even if he could not always be perfect in doing the best for his son.

The man’s son lay sleeping in his sleeping place, and the man thought about how innocent and vulnerable he looked. The man started to think about how long it would be until his son was no longer innocent and not as vulnerable—for who is ever invulnerable—but that was far enough in the future that the man could easily stop thinking about it. He knew it would happen, but how exactly his son would lose his innocence and vulnerability would be as unique to him as it is to everyone else. It would happen, but he did not know how, so the man stopped thinking about it.

The man thought about his wife, and he thought about how beautiful she was and how much more beautiful she had become since giving birth to her first child. Her first but not her only child. Not her only child this time around, although that drama would play out far into the future. Too far into the future for the man to remember it as he thought about how beautiful his wife had become after giving birth to her first child. Her first child and his first child. Her first child and his only child. His only child this time around.

The man was hungry. The man had woken in the middle of the night, and he was hungry. He had left his sleeping place to go to the place where he and his wife stored and prepared their food, but he had stopped by his son’s sleeping place first, and he had been caught in a swirl of thought about his week-old son. The man remembered he was hungry, and he left his son’s sleeping place and he found some food. He found some food and he found his wife eating food in the place where he and his wife stored and prepared their food.

The man’s wife asked how their son was.

The man said he was sleeping soundly.

The man’s wife ate her food, and the man thought about how beautiful she was. He thought about how much more beautiful she had become in the past week since giving birth to their son.

The man told his wife she was beautiful.

The man’s wife said she had woken from a bad dream.

The man said he had too. He had not had a bad dream, but he meant that his wife giving birth to their son and his becoming a father for the first—and only—time had made his previous life seem like a bad dream.

The man asked his wife to tell him her dream.

The man’s wife shook her head and said it was just a bad dream.

The man found some food and sat next to his wife.

The man’s wife asked him to tell her his bad dream.

The man said he had meant it figuratively.

The man’s wife said everything was figurative with him, wasn’t it.

The man didn’t know what she meant by that. He didn’t know what she meant, but he knew from her tone that she wasn’t asking for a reply.

The man and his wife ate their food silently.

The man thought about figurative meaning, and he wondered if he could apply the idea that life itself was a figment of someone’s imagination to his wife’s statement that to him everything was figurative. He wondered if he could apply the idea that life was a vanishing bubble to his wife’s statement.

The man’s wife said she bet the man was thinking about figurative thought.

The man said yes he was. Then after a moment of silence, he asked her if her dream had been that bad.

The man’s wife said she would get over it.

The man asked if he could do anything for her.

The man’s wife almost said something, and then she relaxed a little, her shoulders slumping, and she just said no.

The man finished eating his food, and he kissed his wife on her forehead. He said she was beautiful.

The man’s wife did not reply.

The man left the place where his wife continued to eat food. He went toward his sleeping place, but he stopped once more at his son’s sleeping place and he found his son still sleeping in his sleeping place.

The man did not think much about anything as he watched his son breathing lightly in his sleep. He did not think much about when or how his son would lose his innocence and vulnerability, and he did not think much about the figurative nature of things. He just watched his son sleeping and he felt deeply everything that this child had meant to his life. How his son had changed his life so much for the better.

The man returned to his own sleeping place, still full of deep thoughts and feelings about his son and how beautiful his wife had become since giving birth to their child.

The man lay in his sleeping place, and he listened for a sound from his son, but his son slept quietly—too quietly for the man to hear him from his sleeping place.

The man lay in his sleeping place, and he listened for a sound from his wife. He listened for sounds from her as she ate food in the place where they stored and prepared food and as she recovered from her bad dream. The man wondered if labor had been that bad. He wondered if her previous life had been that bad. He wondered what kind of bad dreams she had woken from, and he wondered what figurative bad dreams she had woken from.

The man listened for a sound from his wife, and he heard her shuffling around the place where she sat eating her food. She had said she would get over her bad dreams, and the man knew she would. Even the figurative ones. Even the figurative ones he had brought into her life.

The man’s son began to cry.

The man rose from his sleeping place and went to his son’s sleeping place, but his wife arrived there first.

The man’s wife told the man to go back to his sleeping place.

The man’s son continued to cry while the man returned to his sleeping place. The man thought about what bad dreams his son might have woken from. He thought about what bad dreams his son would wake from throughout his life. He wondered what bad dreams his son would never wake from—which ones would keep a hold on him throughout his life. The man wondered what bad dreams would cause his son to lose his innocence and vulnerability. The man wondered what bad dreams he as his son’s father would both cause and assuage in his son’s life.

The man thought that yes, such bad dreams were figurative, but such figurative things have a strong influence on one’s life.

And the man fell asleep.

To read more stories in the series, see the Becomes One Hundred Stories page.