One night I woke up talking to myself, whispering the title of this story. That was the embryo, and now you’re reading the full creature. This is for those who know insomnia and what it is to never have a dreamless night.
Dedicated to Marcos. Sleep well, my friend.
All My Nightmares Are Named Heather
by Mário Coelho
She’s always this close when I wake up, less than a palm’s distance bridging our noses. Big eyes, darker than this penumbra. Pupils lightly flickering, like the TV static behind us. In these roadside motel rooms, everything rustles and murmurs. The carpet is pregnant with aborted cigarette butts and dead smells—sweat and barely washed bedding.
“You were dreaming,” she says.
“I was.” My voice, hoarse. Blind fingers reach out for the bedside table, grab the glass. A bit of water left overnight. Tastes like dust.
I was. Running along a creek. Bare feet cut. Biting my cheeks. Breath heaving. Dry tongue lapping out her name. Heather.
“Who’s Heather?” she asks.
“I told you.” These post-nightmare conversations of ours, dirty laundry beating against the washing machine. Cycling. Hushed, like the drowned out buzzing of the late-night driving outside. “She’s no one. Nothing. A bad dream I don’t know.”
“We only dream of things we know.” (Continue Reading…)