She dreamt of a pony that night, white soft skin and gleaming long hair. Every tiny breath she took, she let out in a puff unaware of her five year-old heart galloping with the pony. Her mother’s voice drifted away into a fading conscience, snatched away by a high temperature and feverish hands, and the galloping pony took her away from the day she had heard her mother take her last breath. At four, she hadn’t even understood what that meant, but had reasoned out with her inner mind and reached the verdict that the moment her mother’s fingers had slipped away from her hands, that had been it. But here on the pony, she could pretend her mother was here within her reach, arms stretching out wide and laughter defined by the brightest sunshine. That morning, her eyes opened with a smile on her face.
She dreamt of a jar of cookies that night, an ode to how much the wrinkled, soft hands of her granny did. Mingled laughter and hushed giggles would garnish the lively kitchen every time she pulled on her apron, and even though her first batch of cookies, at the age of 8 had been slightly sour – her love that day had taken up most of the space her mother had left. She dreamt of clasped hands and bedtime stories and nothing seemed out of reach that moment. She could feel the warmth of the elderly woman’s embrace, and how many nights they had spent hunched over the delectable cookies and Cinderella. That morning, her eyes opened with a smile on her face.
She dreamt of the whorl of red paint that night, the edges blurred out and the middle darkened and sharpened till there had come a moment when she couldn’t tell the painting and herself apart. Every breath seemed connected to the drops of paint, the canvas a vast display of everything she held inside her. That morning, her eyes opened with a smile on her face.
She dreamt of big red roses that night, the same color which he had so chivalrously said suited on her. Her cheeks ached, what with all the smiles she had graced on him, each one slipping out of her own accord. She saw the wicked glint in his eyes, which paired up with his gentle smile to create something she had never imagined the world to have. His scent seemed to invade her dreams and as over the months, all of her walls had found their way down, she had let him in and already promised herself never to want out. That morning, her eyes opened with a smile on her face.
She dreamt of the shehnai that night, her heart thumping like a caged bird adamant to fly free. Next morning, she would be a bride. Next morning, her name would be forever attached to someone else’s. In the deepest pit of her heart, she could feel it resisting, and saying no, that all of this was futile, but she pushed that down and dreamt of the flowers and the music of the next day. How people would look at her, and especially….how he would look at her. That morning, her eyes opened with a smile on her face.
She dreamt of childhood that night, when running through the tall grass had seemed fine and when she hadn’t ever felt the need to look over her shoulder. The purple marks on her arms didn’t scream that night, begging her for mercy and something to ease away the pain. Instead, the bruises remained silent and let her dream. A childhood where there was no one to beat her, a childhood where the only touch she had known was of love and warmth. Of a childhood when innocence had flowed in every vein, of a childhood when music had filled each breath. That morning, her eyes opened with a smile on her face.
She dreamt of her life that night, each moment of significance passing like a flash before her eyes. At eighty, she was surprised at all the tiny details she could remember and register, and how every feeling felt as if they had just delivered themselves upon her. The beeping of the machine by her side slowly reduced, and now the memories started rushing. On and on, they would show her the faces of the beloved, and how the tiniest things had touched her and given her joy. That morning, her eyes never opened.