UKRAINIAN DREAMS

He says a dream, “is like everything is the same and not the same at all.”

“Like things happen when you sleep,” he says, “and then you wake-up and you’re the same, but you’re not. Because things changed. They shifted in invisible places.”

We were sitting on an orange leather couch when he told me about how he met Putin. I had never sat next to someone who sat next to a dictator! In proximity of oligarchs! This was next level.

The news was on. We were watching Ukraine. It was happening. We were eating chow mein. Wondering what China was going to do. I pinched Wilson’s cheek.

“Ow!”

“Is this a dream?” I ask him.

“Your mom’s a dream.”

Your mom is a dream,” I counter back. “Plus, my mom’s dead.”

“That she is buttercup.”

He puts his arm around me and pulls me in closer. I surmise this is a dream. I would never allow an orange leather couch into my waking life. Especially a worn one.

“What do you think about having kids one day?”

Wilson was the best man I ever met. He never let fear become an issue for him. He was courageous in every way.

“Look at those bombs bursting,” I reply.

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“I guess I’m just wondering like, what if we have a kid, right? And — “

“You want to have kids with me?”

“You know what I mean. Like what if we had a kid. And someone threw a bomb on our house. Like do you think that would be fair to the kid?”

“I guess I don’t think of it that way. I mean. There are lots of ways to die. Maybe a bomb will be thrown onto our house. But I could also choke on a curly noodle. And I guess one could die at any age. And do you think your mom thought if she had you there would be a possibility that she could birth you and take you to a pumpkin patch where you get run over by a wagon pulling people sitting on hay drinking apple cider, tragically killing you?”

Wilson always knew how to silence me.

“I feel like I need some kind of hot sauce.”

Wilson gets up. He retreats to retrieve the hot sauce. He is always taking care of me. Maybe if we did have a baby he would be wonderful. He would probably make a human who didn’t think about bombing others or feared being bombed. I imagine our baby would be cute. I imagine a boy. With a large head.

“I don’t know if I’d be able to fit our baby’s head through my vagina,” I call out.

“Well I can help you figure it out if that’s the case.”

He untwists the cap and hands me the bottle.

I drench my chow mein.

“You might kill the baby with hot sauce before a bomb even has the opportunity to detonate.”

“What if the baby likes hot sauce?”

“Then at least our baby would die doing what it loves.”

And it clicks. This is why Wilson would want to have a baby. Even when Ukraine is happening. Even when nothing is ever promised. Even when all we have is each other, chow mein, dreams, and a worn orange leather couch. Wilson is a lover. Wilson is courageous. Wilson is not afraid of the size of our baby’s head.

I imagine a Ukrainian Wilson and a Ukrainian Wendy on the other side of the world. They are sitting on a leather couch not so dissimilar to ours. Except maybe the color. Theirs is a tacky blue. They have a boy and a girl playing close by. They get word of the bombs on their way.

“After dinner,” Ukrainian Wilson whispers softly in Ukrainian to Ukrainian Wendy, as he holds her hand and kisses her forehead.

They have dinner in normal pace at normal time with their large-headed children. They clean up. Ukrainian Wilson gathers Ukrainian Wendy and the children and some belongings. He takes them to the border in the dark of night. He kisses those large heads and sets them down. He looks at Ukrainian Wendy and says, “Ми вмираємо, роблячи те, що любимо.”

Ukrainian Wilson and Ukrainian Wendy embrace. And she takes the children off into the night. Ukrainian Wilson turns back. He has been called to fight a war.

“Wendy!” Wilson is shaking me awake. “Go to bed and sleep.”

I blink. It’s like everything is the same and not at the same time.

“I’ll meet you and your sexy-night guard later,” he says. “Gonna clean up here first.”

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Heather Shorey

Heather Shorey

Working the Craft. Experimenting Work(s) in Progress. Interested in Feedback for Further Development.