Every once in a while, I have these extremely vivid dreams… they’re so realistic and logical. And tonight, my dream didn’t seem weird or unsound at all when I woke up. I remember being at my grandparents’ house, running up the stairs to tell everyone breakfast’s ready. I was wearing that red t-shirt I bought in Lisbon, the one I still wear at home. It was a pretty good investment, actually, hasn’t aged much, except for that stain it has from when I was still living in Portugal (note to self: never use acetone nail polish remover again). In truth, my grandmother sold this house, so I’ll never be able to go back… but I truly loved it. I wish I could live there. It had the most beautiful rooftop terrace; I always imagined I’d watch the stars or do some other cheesy activity with a loved one there one day. There was also a mirror in the hall that led to the bathroom, and I glanced at myself while I was running, and my legs were very thin. I keep forgetting this is what I look like now. I haven’t been this thin in years.

Anyway, I suddenly found myself at your apartment. You were not living there anymore, though. You’d left so much stuff, I wondered why. I knew you were alive, so there was some reason for you leaving all this behind, I thought. Of course, I thought you’d done that for me. And among all this stuff, I began looking for something with your mother. She told me you’d left a letter for me somewhere. In a bottle. That’s right, a message in a bottle. I thought she was kidding, but I checked the bottles (and a lot of bottles there were) for it. Finally, I found it, which is very odd for a dream… I never find what I’m looking for in a dream. So I open the bottle, and I read the letter, and it says Happy birthday, blah-blah. I remember the pain of such indirect communication. I remember thinking, there’s no point in responding, you didn’t care about my response. Perhaps you thought it was enough, but I did recognize, even in the dream, that, excruciatingly, for me it wasn’t. When I woke up, I realized what I dreamt about has, indeed, happened in real life years ago. You, me, a birthday wish. You, wishing me a happy birthday. Me, numb.