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Dreaming of Eva


Dreaming of Eva

You know when someone is staring at you from behind. You know when someone is following you, even if you hear no footsteps.

At least Paul did. He senses things, mostly real. Sometimes imagined. He felt her for innumerable weeks though her gender was only later revealed. A presence. Not intrusive. Not bothersome beyond mere awareness like a nagging, repressed thought you can’t pull forward into full consciousness.

In the beginning, she invaded occasionally and subtly like an itch you attend as a reflex, without thought. But lately. Lately. She became a constant, silent companion.

Paul doesn’t believe in ghosts. He has no special attachment to the dead. He thought of the presence often. One evening, dining alone, Paul directed a comment about the meal to her from across the table. Saluted her with his wine glass. It was at this point that he began to question himself and wonder if he should seek professional help.

That night she came to him in a dream.

Her head cradled in the crook of his arm. Her hair smelled as sweet as spring as he nuzzled. Daybreak. The sky still gray, half-lit. She squirmed and lifted herself. A morning smile. Eyes languid and liquid. Brown eyes. Brown hair. Brown body. She quit the bed and went to the bathroom.

Toilet flushing. Water running. The soft patter of slippered feet. She returned. Approaching, he could appraise her full naked form. Small in stature. She muttered something he could not understand before slipping under the sheets. Snug into him, the contrast of warm and cool, dry and damp. He felt for and found her most intimate part. She sighed and took hold of his.

When she took him in her mouth he studied her thick, shapely eyebrows and high, glistening cheekbones. Full lips. At the preamble to ecstasy, he awakened.

A friend of his, having listened to his story of the presence, had given him a recommendation. Mrs. Shapiro, a highly regarded expert in matters of the mind, its endless diseases and trickeries. He made an appointment.

For the next several nights, the dream repeated in various forms. The lovemaking was intense. More importantly, Eva, he can’t remember how her name was revealed to him, seemed more real than his current flesh and blood interests.

He cancelled his appointment with Mrs. Shapiro. He became hungry for sleep. He lived for sleep. His entire day became a prelude to the night. A sign of depression, he realized, but instead of feeling down he was invigorated.

He started going to bed earlier but learned that he could not manipulate the dreams. They happened of their own accord, on their own schedule and in their own form. If he desired the dream too much it kept him awake and dreamless.

###

The dreams moved beyond the bedroom. Picnics by a lake where they agreed upon the meaning of life, sharing existential leanings. Dinners in unfamiliar restaurants in unfamiliar cities. Rides in the country on unfamiliar roads in unfamiliar cars. Paul is living a parallel nocturnal life no more controllable than his daytime existence which has, of late, been spinning and wobbling like a top. He should be frightened but isn’t.

One night he goes to bed early with a headache. On that night, though he slept soundly, Eva does not come.

The following day is a disaster. Unable to concentrate, unable to work, obsessed with Eva’s absence. He wonders what Mrs. Shapiro would think of it all. He had never seen a shrink, had been shrink-less his whole life though probably sorely in need on several occasions. He thinks that a Therapist does not give answers but badgers you, like his father, into finding your own.

He would tell Mrs. Shapiro that his dreams are probably playing out his wishful thinking, resulting from his currently erratic,  irregular and unsatisfying sexual relations. Thrilling and confusing, however, is the vividness. He sees and can describe Eva with the competence of a lover.

Mrs. Shapiro will probably ask Paul to describe Eva.

He will speak of dark hair with loose curls that became curlier in the humidity. Her long, thin, somewhat prominent nose. Her brown eyes. Expressive pools under dark, lush brows. Small feet with toes the same length. Shapely legs and small high-riding breasts. Smooth complexion like coffee with cream except for the discolored patch above her left hip and the scar across her left knee from a bicycle accident.

Mrs. Shapiro will write things in her notebook. Ask if, given the precision of his observations, it is possible that “Eva” is someone from his past. A brief encounter from long ago.

Paul will protest, saying had he ever met such an exquisite woman she would not have easily escaped his memory.

Knowing by now that Paul is a worldly man who has traveled extensively and met many people of all races, nationalities and persuasions, Mrs. Shapiro might ask if Eva appears to be Arabic, Italian, Jewish or Moorish. Prodding for a suppressed memory.

Irritated, Paul will say, “How the hell would I know but admit that though Eva’s grasp of English is perfect, she delivers it with a vague French accent. Perhaps his eagerness to travel again has bearing. He wants to be away from here, free and possessionless save for possibilities. Things you collect but have no weight, occupying no space outside the mind. The possibility of meeting an Eva. The possibility of love.

Paul can talk about Eva for hours. He imagines himself prone on a sofa with Mrs. Shapiro perched on a leather chair with a notepad in her lap. A stereotype or the way things really worked? He will ramble. His stories about Eva sometimes veer off down cul-de-sacs from which he has to double back. He hears Mrs. Shapiro snoring. He doesn’t care because talking about Eva is experiencing her in the day time.

He describes sex with Eva, in detail. Rather than dozing off, Mrs. Shapiro sheds her professional attire. Her legs draped over the thick rolled arms of the leather chair, fondling herself and moaning with delight.

From stories, Paul is  aware of the rich history of doctor-patient sex. Although he has never laid eyes on Mrs Shapiro, he has visions of a married, middle-aged, hyper-intelligent, emotionally scarred Jewess. Not exactly his meat and potatoes though perhaps she should be.

The Eva dreams continue with the same intensity although less frequently.

Then one day at the farmer’s market, in line at the fruit stand, he sees her. Eva placing apples, selectively, one by one after careful examination, in a paper bag. She hands the bag to the clerk for weight and offers money.

Paul is speechless. Stunned. As Eva turns to leave he overcomes his trauma and touches her bare arm. Dressed for the fall season in a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt he can’t check for the scar on her knee before fixing his gaze into her brown eyes.

“Eva!” He says.

She looks at him with a puzzled smile. “I’m sorry, you mistake me for another. My name is Ana Berrere,” She turns and walks away. Did Paul detect a faint French accent or was it his imagination? He is so flummoxed that he can’t concentrate. He tries to assemble the pieces of her into a complete and comprehensible whole.

Shaken, literally. He is unable to steady his hand around the ample serving Of Scotch he poured himself when he returns home.

He dials Mrs. Shapiro’s number.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 3, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Masterful–and second-sighted? I sense the author not far off. . .

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