Flash: The Dream of You and I

Photo by Boshoku on Unsplash

“Who is more powerful, the dreamer or the dream?”

I look over. “What kind of question is that?”’

“Just asking,” you reply.

“Nope, start making connections, I want to follow how ordering calamari led to this my ADHD friend.”

“You sure?”

I shake my head in exasperation, “Of course I’m sure.” Seeing the server walking over, I do say, “But hold that thought until we get the food order in.”

Placing the order took almost no time, both of us being well familiar with the menu, though the calamari appetizer was an experiment. One new dish a visit to help me break out of my autistic bubble. I once ate nothing but mac and cheese or tuna salad for a year according to my mother, and I wouldn’t eat both of them the same day, let alone the same meal. Drove her nuts. Added to the fact I couldn’t swallow pills until my early twenties meant she had to ground up vitamins and hide it in the food to keep me healthy. I have since learned to go further afield, though I still ordered the lobster mac and cheese tonight.

What can I say, it was a rough week at work.

Once the server left, I nodded to you, “So…”

“What?” You reply fidgeting with the napkin and fork, folding the cloth through the tines.

I sigh, used to this as much as you are used to extracting me from my house for our weekly Friday dinner, even though I like it enough once we have left my comfort place. “Calamari to dreamer or the dream.”

“Oh, oh yeah.” Your face lights up and my heart skips. We aren’t like that, you are too ace, but I love it when I can make you happy. “So calamari is tentacles right?”


“And I am working my way through Lovecraft at the moment.”

“Why are you doing that again?”

“Trying to figure out racism in writing and how it changed over time,” you inhale deeply, “But anyway, so Lovecraft has Cthulhu. Tentacles.”

“Okay, calamari to tentacles to Cthulhu to Lovecraft?”

“Nah, Lovecraft isn’t in the chain, other than present hyper focus.” The fork in your hand bounces against the table making a nice chime, and I am once again glad my stims are related to doodling, much less noticeable and socially acceptable. I have enough other issues in social situations. “Anyway, in some of the stories, so I guess Lovecraft, anyway, in some of the stories, the Outer Ones—”

“Never heard of Outer Ones, I thought they were all the Old Ones.”

“Yeah, you don’t like horror so you never studied this shit, anyway, the Outer Ones cannot be part of this existence, but in some of the stories it can be interpreted as though the Outer Ones are dreaming of the Old Ones, and I was thinking of which is more powerful, the crazy half-realized Outer Ones who can’t be here, here-here,” you wave at the restaurant using your fork like a wand, “or the Old Ones which can exist in our world, but only as dreams.”

“Ah, hence the question, who is more powerful, the dreamer or the dream.”

“Exactly.” You reach across the table and squeeze my hand with the hand not holding the fork.

I freeze a moment, until you say “sorry” and stop touching me. “No, it is okay. Just give a person some warning please.”

“Yeah, sorry.”

“Forgiven. It’s okay.” I twist up one side of my lips while pressing them together in a semi-smile. “Back to the question asked – strictly rhetorical, or can we talk about it, because it is interesting.”

We stop for a moment as the server drops off our sodas and the bread basket with bread straight from the oven. They always run a little behind on the bread on Friday nights, which is one of the reasons why we like to come here on Fridays. We both adore hot, hot bread, so instead of cool bread in a basket being ready the minute we sit down, on Fridays we have to wait for it to come out of the ovens. Sometimes that means we don’t get any until our food is ready, but most Fridays, the bread hits the table about the same time as the salads. Speaking of which, a second server comes up behind our primary server with a portable table and a tray filled with greenery, mine with no dressing and yours smothered in raspberry vinaigrette.

When the servers retreat, I reach for the bread. I always eat one of the buns before anything else. It’s too good to pass up and I slather it in salted butter. You use the fork you have been playing with to move around the salad until every inch of the leaves glisten with lightly pink oil.

“I’m thinking the dreamer is more important, until the dream takes on a life of its own.” I take a deep inhale of the yeasty bread, then take a bite. Life with yeasty bread is good, especially compared to the store-bought loaf sanitated to an inch of its life so it can stay in the fridge for three weeks without mold while I make my sandwiches to take into work. “Like Martin Luther King Jr.”

You point with your fork, agreeing with me. “Exactly, yeah, I see that. ‘I have a dream.’ He was a dreamer sharing a dream.”

“A dream which lived beyond him but couldn’t have lived without him. An infectious dream.”

“A COVID of dreams.”

I snort. “I know some political people who sure think the dream of ‘when all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.’ is worse than COVID.”

“I can tell you which one I rather catch,” you reply.

Having dropped off food for a week at your doorstep during your round with the disease before the vaccine came out, I know which one you rather catch too. I had been worried sick about you even though I barely knew you at the time, just a coworker who was badly sick, even though you weren’t sick enough to go to the overflowing hospitals, thank god.

May the goddess keep Morgan wrapped up in hugs until we can all met again on the other side. I miss you, you big craziness.

“Hey, come back to me,” you say.

I look down at the salad, now carefully sorted into lettuce, carrot strips, cucumber, and olives. I would have eaten the tomatoes automatically. They drip on the other food and need to be removed quickly. “Sorry … Morgan.”


You never met my high school best friend, and I hate that. You and I, we had only met at the office Christmas party in 2019 and only got to know each other in the year the world ended. During that time, everyone needed to help the ones near them and Morgan lived on the coast. City lights of New York had drawn Morgan in and so many COVID arrivals from around the world.

I inhale deeply and breathe out. Your eyes grow soft.

Breaking the melancholy, I pull out one of our standard Friday questions, “How was your week?”

Morgan is a topic for sofa, blankets, and ice cream at home and you understand this.

“Funny you ask…”

(words 1,255; first published 2/4/2024)

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