Gerard has a bizarre dream and takes a little walk.
“Come in.” The doorknob rattled and Lindsey opened the door.
“You alright?” she asked, her voice soft and sympathetic. Gerard coughed,
“Yeah. A little hungover.” Bandit poked her head through the doorway. She was clutching a Hulk figurine in her hand. Gerard forced a smile.
“Hi, Daddy.” Bandit squeaked,
“Are you okay, Daddy?” Gerard heaved himself off the ground. He shook out his arms and legs wildly.
“Yup! Everything works!” Bandit giggled and put her hand out for Gerard to hold. Gerard extended his arm out and Bandit held on to his three middle fingers. Lindsey headed towards the living room. Gerard and Bandit followed. Gerard kept a hand on the wall for support. His head hurt worse than ever and it was interfering with his vision. Finally, they reached the couch. Gerard flopped onto it. Bandit dragged a cushion off of the couch and placed it on the floor next to Gerard and sat on it. Gerard gently put his hand on her head and brushed through her hair with his fingers. Lindsey turned the television onto Bandit’s favorite program. Gerard absently stroked Bandit’s hair and sank into the soft couch, the voices on the television fading away and his eyes fluttering shut.
Gerard found himself standing in the front of the 7/11 near his apartment in the middle of the night. The road in front of him was barren, except for the figure of a person sitting against a building in the distance. Uncertain of what to do, he walked past building. He passed “Fleischman Accounting”, yet the figure was just as far as it was before. Frustrated he walked faster until he broke into a run. The figure only seemed to be even further from him. He pushed himself into a full sprint. He was so concentrated on reaching his goal, he didn’t realize that he had suddenly run past it until someone called out to him. He turned back and saw Bandit. She was sitting next the homeless man; the figure, who was gazing up at the dark sky. Bandit beckoned with her hands to sit next to her. Reluctantly, Gerard sat in between his daughter and the man, a little nervous of the man. He looked down to Bandit, then to the man. Both of them were studying the sky. Gerard looked up at the sky, and gasped in astonishment. What he saw was the most spectacular sight he had ever seen. The usually dark and poisoned sky had been replaced by billions of twinkling stars, all of them seeming to be watching him; blinking. But in the midst of all of the stars, the most remarkable of all was the moon. It was three times its normal size, its crevices and craters standing out even more profusely than if it were viewed through a telescope. But peculiarly, it was enveloped in flames. Red, yellow, and orange flames were consuming the regularly powdery white moon. As they watched the sky, Gerard noticed that the man beside him had put his arm around Gerard’s shoulders. Surprisingly, Gerard accepted this gesture and did not relent. He just looked back at the stars as if hypnotized by their beauty.
Gerard jolted awake. He was unsettled by the bizarre dream. He hadn’t dreamt in so long, let alone remembered them. Why was this dream so vivid? Why was it so significant? Wanting to clear his mind, Gerard decided to go for a walk. He rose from the couch, catching Lindsey’s attention.
“You were out for a while, Gee. You okay?” Gerard grunted,
“Yeah, I’m just gonna go for a walk.”
“The sun’s setting. It’s going to be dark soon, be careful.” Lindsey said, concerned. Gerard stepped out of the apartment and walked down the stair. When he turned to walk down the street, he realized that he had forgotten his coat. He didn’t go back, but kept on walking down the sidewalk until he reached the 7/11. He stepped inside the convenience store and browsed through the chips and drinks. Finally, he picked up a ham and cheese sandwich and a small cup of coffee. He paid for the food and drink and then sauntered out of the store back into the cold. He looked around, the road more populated with people returning from work. He squinted through the bodies to see the homeless man in the exact same place, staring up at the sky. Gerard felt chills crawl up his spine and glanced up to the sky, a little part of him expecting to see a flaming moon. There was no moon, no stars, but only clouds tinged with red and purple from the almost vanished sunset. As he neared the man, he noticed that he did not acknowledge anyone like he did with Gerard. Finally, he reached the man. He stopped in front of him. The man averted his gaze from the sky to Gerard, and for the first time, Gerard saw him smile. He didn’t smile as thought normally greeting a stranger or acquaintance, but as if greeting an old friend or beloved relative. He grinned as if Gerard had made all of his problems disappear. Gerard, though taken aback, found himself smiling an equally wide smile back. Awkwardly, Gerard held out the sandwich and coffee and said,
“Uhm… You should eat. You look really thin…” The man’s smile quickly left his face. He looked at the concrete ground and replied,
“No, thank you, sir, I’m fine.”
“Uh… You don’t have to call me sir.” Gerard said, rubbing his neck, confused as to why the man didn’t take the sandwich when he was clearly starving. “Can I sit down?” The man nodded. As Gerard kneeled down, his joints cracking, a few bystanders gave him judging looks. Gerard placed the food between him and the man. The man glanced at the food, and then quickly looked away. They sat in silence for a while, staring at the ground, Gerard still getting looks from pedestrians. As Gerard was about to insist that the man should eat the sandwich, he heard the man’s stomach growl. He looked up at the man, who was eyeing the sandwich. When the man saw that Gerard had seen him looking at the food, he hastily looked away again. Gerard asked,
“When was the last time you ate?” The man contemplated whether to answer or not, but then, finally, said,
“… A week.” Gerard replied, trying to contain his concern for the man he had just recently met,
“Well then, eat the sandwich.” Reluctantly, the man agreed. His hunger had taken over his usual sense of judgment and principle. He reached for the sandwich and slowly unwrapped the cellophane. Trying to ignore the urge to ravenously shove the sandwich in his mouth, he took small bites. Though the sandwich was in poor quality, the bread stale and the meat soggy, it tasted better than anything he had ever eaten before.
Gerard and the man both stared at the sky, the moon now appearing as the sun sunk behind the buildings. Although Gerard did not want to get up, he knew he had to go home to his family. He got up, his joints cracking even louder this time, and said goodbye to the man and slowly made his way home, cursing at himself for forgetting his jacket.