So my wife had a dream, and she told me about it the next day. Listening to dreams is always exhausting…but this one felt so vivid, I almost feel like it was my own. So what follows is an imperfect retelling of an imperfect retelling.

She was in a house, there were lots of her family around… but no one she knew. They were mostly the kind, fussy, older slightly ethnic relatives we both knew (but didn’t really know). She kept looking around for me, but I wasn’t there.

One person who was there was a little girl, a few years old. melka was supposed to be watching the girl, but she kept looking out the windows for me. And while she was looking, the little girl fell and started crying. So all the relatives rushed over to help her. Somehow, she got the idea that – through their fussing over the girl – that they judged melka to be a bad guardian, distracted, unobservant.

Then, melka saw me out the window. It was dark, but she could see me in the light cast through the windows from the lights inside. I was wearing a coat, it was chilly out, and I was alone. She tried to call to me, but I didn’t hear her. She looked out at me, and I was looking around. And I looked very upset. melka tried to get out to call me, but she couldn’t leave the house.

In dreams, there’s that moment when you become lucid – or at least, lucid enough – and start piecing these images into a narrative. So the twist in the story was simple: melka was dead, she was with malina and her relatives, and i was still alive – on the outside – unable to see her, unable be with both of them.

It’s like one destructive nightmare for the two of us – to be separated, to make the loss even more permanent, more extreme. This is what we fear most.