Black Dream

In the dream, Victor’s father was not a man struggling to stay virile in an aging body, but a man in his prime—as Victor himself was now. Victor, in the dream, was his present self: in his early forties, old enough to feel wise, but young enough to feel strong. So, in the dream, he and his father were the same age, but this incongruity did not seem out of place.

They were in the back of his father’s flower shop in St. Louis. His father’s eyes sparkled. “Come here,” he said, and led the way through to the front.

Victor smiled at the familiar scent of plants, green and alive. His smile faded, though, when he saw that the normal array of colorful bouquets had been replaced by an ocean of carnations, all meticulously dyed black.

His father turned to him. “They’re for you.”

Victor frowned at the sea of black. “For me?” He reached out, felt the texture of a leaf between his thumb and forefinger.

“Yes,” his father said. His face now looked pale and bruised, his eyes glassy black. “They’ve always been for you.”

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