Arabelle was lost in a world without connections. Or, rather, they were all missed connections-a series of possibilities she watched pass her by. There were so many at one time, she ceremoniously burned the “what-ifs”of fake memories in a garbage can fire two alleys away.
There was the little girl she met on the subway that she envisioned would one day be her greatest success story. She would help her get into Princeton, Harvard, Yale-or at least SUNY Albany. But, they never took the A train at the same time again.
There was the man she met under a canopy of green, green trees. He was more intoxicating than the whiskey they were both drinking out of coffee mugs, and she wished he knew that. They talked for hours about anatomy and aliens until he went home to his wife. She would see him again but she would never have a conversation like that again.
Arabelle often thought about Oliver. He was her greatest loss of story. That could have really been something, something she was so sure of deep into the last cells in her bones. That really could have been something. Something like jumping into a waterfall after miles of hiking, or felt similar to running straight into the face of danger, laughing. He felt like that. Even better. Their story went on for generations in her sleep, but in real life, she only had their one, brief, encounter buying cigarettes at 2 am.
At night, when she got enough courage to fall asleep, she would meet all these people again and their stories would continue. This made it hard to wake up. It made the waking hours seem too mixed up. So, in order to make things a little clearer, she wrote down all the stories about all the people and places she had been in her dreams, spoke of their real life counterparts, and slipped them into the fire.