I woke up with a start, small beads of sweat dotting my forehead.
Nightmares crowded my nights.
I sat on the bed, staring at the grey baseboard that stood between the shabby moquette and the city of Washington.
Beyond the glass wall of my room, the Japanese cherry garden vanished, swallowed by the shining lights of the buildings.
A dark spot now covered that sight. It was the image that haunted my sleep. A giant feline shape floating in space, speaking to me. His words always ran from me when I woke up, but that night they hung heavy in the air.
“I am the god of dreams,” the voice said. “You have two wishes to make.
One will be fulfilled when you wake up but the other will never come true.”
My eyes were glued to him. My body floated weightless to the echo of those words.
Timid sounds slipped from my lips and danced before me; thin, senseless notes I did not know. Had I answered him? I hoped in time I would find out.
But morning came, and I was torn. I smiled at the days ahead, and cried at the wrench twisting my guts.