he's more than a head taller than i am. he walks next to me, his hands clasped behind his back. sometimes he wears a hat. sometimes his clothing is specific, other times not. he wears slim glasses. his hair is long and straw-coloured.
we walk close on the beach. we leave no footprints. the only sound i can recall (besides his voice) is the lull of the waves and the occasional bird (sometimes it is silent. he doesn't always speak). there is nothing but beach; nearly sunset or rise. no apparent beginning or end to the sand. we walk. we talk. our pace is easy. i wear my nightgown (it hits right below my knee).
i find myself sitting cross-legged on the white bed with white pillows with the window to the left (i sit on the foot of the bed). he has the book on his lap. he is telling me his story. i listen. i lean forward to see if there is any photographs.
the pages are blank.
each night i dream this dream, he tells me the same story, each night i lean forward to notice the pages contain no words.
after he finishes his story, there is a hand-drawn picture of a generic man with a heart drawn over his torso. once or twice i ask him if he drew that. he says no.
note: the first time i had this dream i was about 5 or 6 years old. i had it every single night for many years. the foundation of the dream was the same, we walked, we talked. he would leave me with a puzzle of some sort. i would return with the puzzles answer & he no-longer cared to talk about it. when i was 8, i began seeing a psychiatrist. when i mentioned the dreams, he told me to try to "write" a new ending by thinking of different outcomes. once i thought i should have a writing utensil to write in the book. i tucked a crayon or a marker in my nightgown's pocket. that night, the straw-haired man didn't tell me his story.
around the time i hit puberty, the dreams paused.
they returned in 1995.
they paused again in 2000. other nastiness manifested itself in its place.
this past autumn, he returned... only the sand disappeared. we began to spar, the straw-coloured hair man & myself.