international fiction special feature
Almost a year ago, I had the first of a series of recurrent dreams that felt like faint memories from the future. I kept them a secret from my husband, who all the while had been sleeping next to me. He had no idea I was living another life (in the future, or only in my mind) apart from him and our son. Our son, who is four, one day will find out about everything. Maybe he already knows, the same way I already know he’s gay, and years from now, he—the young gay man he’ll be then—and me are going to have one of those conversations where there’s no need for words.
The dream had all the outward features of a dream (the sketchy time line, the unrebuttable assumptions), but felt as real as an actual memory. As if I could see time as it really was: infinite and without distinctions of past, present, and future. It took place in the park I cross every day on my way to work. The morning sun shone weakly, the grass was wet. Now and again, the pigeons’ wings made a startling clapping sound before disappearing into the leafy sky. Then from behind a eucalyptus tree appeared Joaquin Phoenix. He stared at me from a distance before he walked up to me.
“I know you,” he said, and I believed him.
“I dreamed about you,” he explained. “I saw your face and I heard your voice in hundreds of dreams.” And, as if I needed some kind of proof, he added: “Remember you told me a secret, in a dream? You told me about your . . .
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