I run through an ocean of high and thick grass for what seems like hours. Every bone in my body aches, but I must not stop. Thoughts of missing her torment me constantly. Without paying attention to my surroundings, I trip over an igneous rock jutting from the ground.
I’m on a weapons qualification course in the unsupported prone position. The brass deflector protects the left-handed soldier from getting hit, but as always in the military, the sergeants do not have one and I must fire my M-16 right-handed like the others. Without tasting the dirt beneath me, I aim at the paper target several yards away. The black circles stare back, daring me to hit center. I fire three shots, and the Army range instructor bolts halfway down the range towards me. He shows me that I hit the other targets instead of mine, but I do not care. I want to be with Bonnie. I close my eyes in frustration.
As I open my eyes, the sharp edges of a mountain scrape my face. I grasp its handholds. I cannot stop the bleeding in my fingertips, and I am afraid my fingers are broken. I call out her name, but all I hear is my own echo. The thin, barely breathable air makes me unable to hold on. I let go.
I end up on the green carpeted floor. The twin bed with its polyester mattress pad gives me very little room to move around. I count at least a half dozen nights, when my back ended up on the floor. This docile-looking piece of furniture is a silent killer that plans to slowly pummel me to death. But I refuse to give in to an inanimate object. On our wedding night, all we could afford was a twin bed. I cry myself to sleep.
I finish my catnap in my Ford Self-driving car located in the convenience store parking lot. I get out of the car and go through the store’s open glass doors. While walking through every aisle, it slowly dawns on me that the store has nothing but empty shelves. The floor gives underneath, and I float upwards until the store looks like a maze populated by confused bargain-chasing customers. For some reason I cannot explain, I know that I will see Bonnie again. I want to leave, now. I stretch out my arms and envision myself as an airplane. My fingers start to turn into the shape of wingtips.
As the Boeing 737 gains altitude, My stomach spins like a gigantic top. Bonnie squeezes my hand as a sign of comfort. I tighten the strap in my seatbelt and lean my body into the plush seat, allowing the blue color to calm me. The nervousness eventually fades. I look over to my wife with a smile. I sigh in relief. Reunited with her, I take a deep breath and finally gain control over my shifting. Until I lose her again, hopefully not anytime soon.
By John Lane