December 10th, 1922
It had been days since Aki had disappeared. The snow was piling up outside, blanketing the ground in the white powder. I fell into a bout of depression waiting on her. I hadn’t left the house for fear of us crossing paths and me missing her. I stayed on the couch, waiting and hoping for her to come through the door.
My heart felt heavy with every day that passed by. I didn’t want to leave the couch. I hadn’t shifted in days, or eaten, for that matter. I felt miserable like there was a pit in my stomach. It wouldn’t go away, not until Aki came home.
A knock at the door had me bolting upright. My heart leaped to my throat with anticipation. I scrambled off the couch, throwing Aki’s handmade blanket onto the ground. I opened the door only to be greeted by the mailman.
“It’s a bit chilly today,” he laughed as he shuffled through his mailbag. “Now I know there was a letter in here for you somewhere.”
A letter? For me? Could it be from Aki? Maybe she needed my help. “Well, come on, find it,” I demanded of the man.
He shuffled faster, sensing my mounting frustration. “Aha!” he said proudly as he pulled out a single white envelope. He handed it to me, and I looked down at it. My name and address were written across the front of the envelope in Aki’s handwriting.
I looked up at the cheerful mailman as he stood there smiling. “Well, are ya gonna open it, guy?” He asked with his beady eyes.
I slammed the door shut in his face and walked back to the couch. My eyes were glued to the envelope. I sat down and picked up Aki’s blanket, rubbing it against my face and turning the envelope over. I shifted my nails to talons and cut through the envelope.
When I pulled the letter out and turned it over, my heart dropped to my stomach.
I’m sorry to have left like this. Things have changed at home, and I had some things to handle.
I want you to know I love you, Sani. You have been a blessing in disguise for me. You opened my eyes, helping me see who I am and embrace my true potential. Even when my family saw the darkness in you, all I saw was the light.
You are a good person, Sani. Please don’t forget that. Always head to the light and never change your path. I believe in you. You are an amazing individual who is capable of doing amazing things.
Your past is in the past, my sweet Sani. Leave it there. You have to let go of the pain from your past. You can’t move forward if you’re looking backward. I know the trauma is a lot, but you’ve given it the time you needed to heal. Your final step is to let go and be happy.
A single tear dripped down my face and stained the paper with some of the hardest words I had ever read. She hadn’t said it exactly, but I knew from her words that she was gone. Not just temporarily, but really gone.
I sat the letter down on the coffee table and laid back down. I closed my eyes to fight back the tears that were threatening to break the dam behind my eyes. I took a deep breath in and slowly exhaled. I just wanted her back.
I slowly opened my eyes. My heart was beating against my chest. I couldn’t help but miss her.
“Brother, you have to get out of bed,” Alo said as he appeared at the end of my bed. He turned his head slightly to the side. “What is wrong with you?”
“I’m not sure, Alo. I haven’t had the energy to get out of bed,” I confessed before looking down at my lap. “I haven’t eaten in days.”
“You’re acting like you did when Aki left you,” Alo said and stood up. “Brother, you can’t let Namid bring you down.”
“It feels like that, but I think it’s the dreams I’ve been having, not Namid,” I said. I sat up in bed as I began thinking. “They’re making me feel the same emotions I felt for all those days. The pain and hurt that I had are coming back. I lost one set of nightmares only to gain more dreams.”
Alo nodded. “Dreams are an extension of ourselves, our emotions, the feelings we have. It’s why we’re so emotionally impacted by them.”
“So, what? I need a dreamcatcher?” I laughed.
“I don’t know why you’re laughing, Sani,” Alo pouted. “Do you not remember the dreamcatchers Grandmother used to make? She would tell us stories about how they had helped her avoid the night terrors.”
I shook my head. “That lady was known for being the crazy one in the village. You know that.”
“Talk to Namid and see what she says.” Alo smirked. “I guarantee she will agree with me. Look at all the dreamcatchers that were littered around her apartment.”
I rubbed my chin and laid back again. He wasn’t wrong. Namid certainly had a fascination with dreamcatchers, and she used one for quite a few things. I suppose with the right enchantment, anything can be used for anything you want.
“Fine, I’ll reach out to Namid about a dreamcatcher,” I said as I closed my eyes. “Right after I take a nap.”
“There really is something wrong with you,” Alo sighed. “If you go to sleep, you’ll have nightmares again.”
My eyes shot open, and I leaned up toward Alo. “They are not nightmares. They are memories. I just have to find Aki in the dreams so I can see her again.”
Alo leaned down and came nose to nose with me. “You know what is going to happen when you find her.”
“I don’t care!” I shouted and slammed my body back down on the bed. “I want to see her again, Alo. Seeing Namid has made me miss her, and I just want to see her smile again.” I was met with silence. I rolled over and looked at my kitchen. Alo was no longer at my bedside.
I closed my eyes and wished myself to sleep. I wanted to see Aki. I needed to see Aki, even if it was just a dream. I never dreamed, except for nightmares, so I had never seen her in my dreams before. In fact, I hadn’t seen her since…