Rachel sat next to her Dad and across from her mom at a large crowded picnic table.
Happy 4th of July.
Her parents didn't talk to her.
No one talked to Rachel.
She felt incredibly alone; more alone than she did when she was actually alone.
And she was hot.
She was Sweating.
Picnics should be against the law in Texas.
She considered taking a picture of her hamburger and potato chips for her food blog. But felt subconscious doing so. People looked at you strange when you took pictures of your food. And she wasn't in the mood for people to stare at her.
Okay, was she ever in the mood?
Well, not really.
But that was beside the point.
She reminded herself she had David.
These people didn't give a crap about her.
But David did.
He liked her.
"Are you okay?" her mother asked.
So now smiling indicated a problem?
But then Rachel stopped smiling because she remembered what Eddie had said. The dreams were ending soon...well, at least those types of dreams.
What would happen after that? She didn't know if she wanted to go back to having just plain old boring dreams...not if David wasn't there. Or maybe he would be there. Maybe they could continue to see each other in their dreams. Maybe Eddie just meant he'd stop being around, or that the games would end.
And if not....
If Rachel couldn't see David in the dreams, maybe they could still meet in real life. Rachel realized suddenly she never had been with David in real life. Not yet. They had just spoken on the phone. She wondered if seeing the real David--not just his dream self, would be strange.
For a moment, Rachel considered perhaps she'd win her wish and end up in a super happily ever after situation. And if she ended up with her head resting on a man's chest, it would have to be David's. Otherwise, it wouldn't be her wish. She knew that she'd never be happy with another man.
"Rachel?" her mom said again. "Are you okay?"
"Fine," She said.
"You're very quiet." her mom said. "And you're not eating."
"She's in love," a woman next to her mom said.
"Or on drugs," the woman's husband said.
Rachel tried to ignore them. She picked up her hamburger, and took a bite.
Usually, on the 4th of July, David was dragged by Cassandra to some charity picnic or party. But this year there was no Cassandra in his life.
So, he got to spend the day alone in his apartment.
He didn't mind.
He liked the quiet.
He liked having nothing to do...although that got boring after awhile.
So he decided to do something he hadn't done in a really long time.
He watch home videos of Billy. His mother had gotten them transferred to DVD, and she had given copies to David. He thanked he,r and when she left, he put them in a box on a high up shelf.
Now he decided it was time to watch them.
He thought maybe enough time would pass, and now they'd be uplifting. Funny. Enjoyable.
After ten minutes of watching Billy as a toddler, David was crying.
He turned it off.
He wondered why he still missed Billy so much. Not that he thought there needed to be a time limit on grief. He knew he'd miss Billy forever, and that this was normal, expected, etc. But he thought by now the pain would be a light kind of pain. He thought he'd at least be okay enough to watch videos.
He wanted to win. He wanted Billy to come back to him.
Or maybe it was all wrong.
David was confused.
How would Billy come back? Would it be a time travel kind of thing? The accident never happened? And if so, would that be the only change?
But it didn't work that way.
David had read/seen enough science fiction to know if you change one tiny thing in the past, lots of things change. Everything changes.
Did he want everything to change?
He might lose his career.
Okay, that would kind of suck. He hated some aspects of being a celebrity. But he also did like other parts. He did like acting.
He might lose the whole thing with Cassandra. Maybe he would have never met her. That wasn't too big of a loss.
Or maybe it wouldn't be a time travel thing.
Maybe Billy would just return. As a man? His six-year-old self? At the age he would be at, if he hadn't died? What would that be?
And how would it be explained to the world?
How would he explain it to his mother?
Or maybe Billy would be a man as he had been in the this-is-your-wish film. And maybe his mom wouldn't recognize´him.
David could pass him off as a friend. Or long lost cousin. Something like that.
No, his mother would know.
How could a mother not know?
David began to feel dizzy.
Maybe he didn't want the wish.
No, he wanted it...just not exactly sure about the details yet.
It was time to think about something else.
No, not that.
David sighed and pushed the thoughts out of his head.
He realized he was hungry.
He decided to walk to Curry Hill. He'd get some Indian food, or maybe a falafel at Kalustyans.
Rachel sat on a blanket with her parents and watched the fireworks.
In two months, she'd be a college girl. And she was going to live at home. Fun. Not that she was sure living on campus would make her life any better. She'd probably be just as lonely and pathetic there.
Why did she have to participate in life? Why couldn't she just stay forever in the dreams?
Maybe David could rescue her and take her away to New York. They could live a happy life together.
No, she told herself. Snap out of it.
She needed to face reality.
As soon as the dreams ended, David would most likely forget about her. Move on. At best, he'd send her a Christmas card every year. Or maybe an e-mail every so often. He'd call her every few years. "Hey! Remember me! Yeah, I know we haven't spoken in five years. I have kids now! Did you know? Triplets! Wife was on fertility drugs. And how are you, Rachel? Any special man in your life?"
David sat alone at Curry in a Hurry eating way too much food. Despite his full belly, he had an urge to walk down to Economy Candy.
He hadn't been there in ages. Cassandra had usually vetoed the trip. She preferred Dylan’s Candy Bar; said Economy Candy was too overwhelming.
But now there was no Cassandra.
That led him to the forbidden subject. The thing he had been trying not to think of the past few days.
He was in love again.
No, no not true.
He was under the illusion that he was in love.
It wasn't real love. It couldn't be.
He didn't even understood what real love was.
He didn't know what he had with Cassandra. Had that been love? But why could he love someone who didn't love him back? How could he? What had attracted him to her anyway? Was it just a chemical thing? He couldn't look at Cassandra and say "I love you because of this and that?" It was just a "I love you because I love you."
I love you even though you seem constantly bored by me.
What was that all about?
And then he had stopped loving her...just like that. A snap of the fingers and the feelings ended.
Did that happen to everyone? Or was he unique? Or maybe it happened to certain percentage of people. Maybe some people fell in love and loved that person forever--even if some of the fire burned out. But there was a difference between not feeling a huge spark anymore and completely not loving the person. Wasn't there?
David decided to stop thinking in terms of love.
He didn't love Rachel.
He was just attracted to her.
She was cute. Funny.
He liked her.
The last thing he wanted to do was hurt her. And if he made any attempts to have any sort of relationship with her, this is what would happen. He would love her and then wake up one morning and not love her. Or she'd realize he wasn't as great as she thought he was. Something bad would happen.
And right now things were so wonderful.
The best part of love was that brief time when both people realize there might be mutual feelings of attraction. After that it all goes downhill. Love always jumps the shark. Often very quickly. Always painfully.
David decided the right thing to do was not let that happen. What he'd do is enjoy the last two nights he had with Rachel. He would have a wonderful time and then say good-bye.
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