These noises in the night; clock ticking, refrigerator humming, hot water heater kicking and coughing. He sat in darkness taking it all in. The combination of sounds was like a symphony; some kind of strange music. It put him to sleep. Dreaming of his past. Movies in full color. Every night a different story. Memories from his many stages in life to where he was now. Sometimes he’d smile in his sleep while other nights he would cry. Different stories. Different dreams.
The heat kicked on blowing warm air through the vents. Outside a coating of snow was on the ground. The old man slept in blankets covering his frail body. He’d shake a little. Then warmth would go through him like an old ghost. A spirit from the past maybe. Visiting him to tell him about his life; where it’d been, where it was going. His eyelids shuttered a million times.
He dreamt of his childhood sometimes. About playing with Tonka trucks in the sandbox. The heat from a Texas sun making his body brown. His mom called him her little brown bear. He laughed, holding his pillow tightly in the middle. The way he would hug his mother.
A drip from the kitchen faucet kept a beat as he continued dreaming. His stomach growled; lived off Ramen noodles and Pepsi. His dreams went onto when he was a teenager and he no longer hugged his mom. He would turn her away when she reached out for him. In his dreams she’d stretch her fat arms out to catch him, but, was never able to. The boy just kept falling. Never landing. Just falling. His back to her. Never turning ’round to see she was crying.
His cat would wake the old man. Calling out for food at midnight. He wiped sleep from his eyes and stumble down the hall way. Placed food in the dish along with water. He was alone. Just him and his cat. He thought about his mother for a second or two. Then stroked his pet. Remembered leaving long ago. Taking off on a Greyhound for Chicago. Leaving her behind. She waved at him. Waved goodbye. He never waved back.
In a dream came the night she died. He didn’t go to the funeral. Lit a candle in a Catholic church. Said a prayer. Then went about his day. He said goodbye to her in his dreams. Waking up. Regretting he never did. These things we never do.
Heat came back on. He stood over a vent letting warm air blow on him. His cat curled around his ankles. Morning would come soon.