I dreamed last night of a chupacabra.
Here in Texas, some claim to have glimpsed this sinister, dark gray creature of legend, to whom all manner of night-time evils are attributed. It is said to drain the blood of livestock after first hypnotizing them with its red eyes. Biologists, always looking to debunk cool myths, suspect that they may be coyotes left hairless and deformed by parasites.
In my dream, I was walking along a moonlit gravel road and saw the chupacabra on the opposite side. Our eyes locked, both of us curious; neither of us fearful. The chupacabra tilted his head as if to say, “it’s cool”, and trotted along, and I continued on my way.
My destination was a cabin in the woods. My mission was work related: an investigation of a property for a client. I was supposed to meet the man who would assist me in this endeavor, none other than R___. He and I had enjoyed a memorable relationship during our college years. I wouldn’t call it a romance. Neither would he. But in many respects it was better than a romance, as it helped me to become a person who would recognize and revel in a real romance when the time came, decades later.
R____ saw something in me that I, in my introspective world of low self esteem, couldn’t see. His confidence and charisma had placed him out of my league, so when he reached out to me in something other than platonic friendship, I was transformed. It was clear from the start that this was a temporary situation, and for some reason, that seemed fine to me, despite my clingy tendencies.
His protective side revealed itself one day as I crouched down to pet a large dog, placing my face on its level. I’ve never been afraid of canids of any sort. All dogs are benign in my world until they clearly prove themselves otherwise. Perhaps that's reckless on my part, but only one dog has ever tried to bite me, and failed.
[Follow along below the chupacabra footprint]
Alarmed, R___ drew me aside, at once marveling at my fearlessness (or senselessness) and admonishing me that not all dogs are to be trusted. He did it in a way that conveyed genuine concern, and something inside me turned over like tumblers in a lock.
Now, through some bizarre turn of events, R__ was to be meeting me at this cabin. I settled in with my belongings and waited, allowing myself to daydream about our days (and nights) together, so long ago, so far away.
I certainly had no intentions of rekindling this relationship. Now happily married to my soul-mate, I lack for nothing, and wouldn’t think of jeopardizing my happiness. I haven’t gotten in touch with R___ in all these years, and haven't wanted to.
I guard my privacy zealously. I’m not on Facebook or LinkedIn. If people haven’t found me by now, tough. I do share my address every 5 years or so in my college departmental newsletter.
If R___ had wanted to find me, he could have. As far as I know, we’ve both gone on to lead successful and productive lives. At least I have, and last I heard, he was running his own successful business.
When he walked through the door, he looked much the same. The wavy light brown hair had turned gray, making his blue eyes even more riveting, as if that were even possible. I don’t remember what, if anything I said, but what he said next was,
“I’m sorry… Do I know you?”
I felt my heart convulse
“It’s me, Cassandra.”
His smile was polite but perplexed, as though he realized that he should have known me but simply couldn’t make the connection. I tried again, explaining how we had met.
My beloved father, throughout his long spiral into the depths of Alzheimer’s had always recognized me, a blessing for which I will be forever grateful. Now R__, who had always lived life to the fullest, was lost to me. If this could happen to him, and if I carried my father’s genes, how was it that I had escaped?
Without thinking, I reached up with both hands, pulled R__’s face close to mine, and kissed him squarely on the lips. I hadn’t intended this as an overture to anything.
In desperation, as I realized that sight and sound could not reach him, I must have imagined that some other sense could penetrate this abyss of memory.
It did. And somewhere, the chupacabra bayed at the moon as if to say, “my work here is done”.
[Note: sorry about the italic font - I have tried without success to fix it. I hope it hasn't detracted from the story]