Abby arrives at the front door with the new day. She does not knock before entering into the cool kitchen because she does not have to; the door is never locked unless both of them are away, far out of town. The lights are all off, and the only sound she hears is the sound of sleep. There is only the cat to greet her. The grey majesty appears from someplace hidden, pausing between living room and kitchen just long enough to yawn and stretch before leaping onto the forbidden table. She meets him there, moving more lightly than he; the old wood groans beneath his weight as he swaggers back and forth. His boisterous purr vibrates against her hands as she strokes him from head to tail.
“Melvin Cornelius, you fat boy! You’ve got your motor running so loud, you’re gonna wake up your mama!”
But his mama is already awake. Abby has a distinct scent that Lindy’s nose can detect even in her sleep. The redolence of white musk and smoldering tobacco had easily breached her sunlit dream; in an instant, she was drawn out of her subconscious and into awareness, though she was not startled. She now lies still against the warm body beside her, watching the rise and fall of the cotton sheets; two pairs of lungs breathing deep even breaths. She wishes to be lulled by the quiet rhythm, forget the madness ahead of her for just a while longer, but the reek of cheap perfume and cigarettes is growing stronger; Abby is entering the hallway, and at any moment will peek into her darling girl’s bedroom. She closes her eyes—a childish game. The early sun is shining through the thinly dressed window; she can see orange-pink light through eyelids shut tight.
“Lindy. It’s time to wake up, Lindy Star.” The cadence of her sing-song voice is hardly audible. Lindy pretends not to hear. On the other side of the windowpane, Mother Nature is also singing. “Wake up, Lindy Star. Get out of bed.”
I don’t want to get out of bed. I want to stay here and go back to my dreaming. But Lindy can feel her burden resting at the foot of the mattress—there will be no more dreaming this dawn.