She woke with a start sitting straight up in bed trying to catch her breath. She closed her eyes and opened them again after groping for and then reclaiming her glasses from her nightstand.
What makes you so sure that your reality is real? We're all someone else's dream…
The words from her dream seemed to haunt her long after she had awakened. She got up and went down stairs with the intention of calling Jane… she put the phone back down when she looked at the time. The Lanes were not early birds by any stretch of the imagination, so a 4:30 am call probably wouldn't be answered and if it were, it most certainly would not be welcomed. She went back upstairs deciding that an early morning walk to meet Jane and walk to school would be her best course of action, meanwhile the book beside her bed would serve to pass the time nicely.
She waited patiently on the steps for someone…anyone to answer the door. She sighed and turned away in despair when after a solid ten minutes no one came to the door.
"Watch out," Trent caught her by the shoulders just as she almost ran into him.
She looked up at him in the barely morning light.
"I was just gonna meet Jane so that we could walk to school."
"Kinda early, plus its Saturday so school isn't really an option, unless Ms. Li has found a way to make your parents pay for Saturday school."
"Yeah…" he produced a key and opened the door to allow her entry. "Jane's not here either. Summer needed her help redoing one of her more artsy kid's room and she offered cash, so….."
No brainer for that then.
"Oh, okay. I must have gotten the days mixed up."
"You can stay if you like."
"You're tired from doing a gig and Jane isn't here…"
"I slept the ride home and you obviously wanted to talk to Jane about something. I'm here, you're here so…"
She furrowed her brows slightly. Something about this conversation felt familiar. Trent took her silence as assent and shut the door, moving further into the room to drop his bag out of the main walking path and then proceeded to the kitchen to make some coffee. Daria dropped her book bag next to his duffel and followed him into the kitchen.
"So Daria, what has you up so early and mixing up the days?"
She fidgeted unsure of what she should say. This had been the first time since… that whole thing, that she had seen him. It felt a little weird and to spill about some obscure dream made her feel more than a little uncomfortable.
"Come on, fess up," he coaxed.
"I had this dream. It was just unsettling."
He waited for the coffee. He waited for her.
"Do you think- do you believe in other realities?"
"I don't know Daria; dealing with this reality is enough for me."
"I take it you do believe in other realities."
"Never really thought about it before, but this dream got me to thinking." She looked off towards the coffee pot while she spoke. "What if none of this is real?" she gestured to the entirety of all around them. "It sounds absurd I know, but-" she took a breath and launched into her jumbling thoughts. "Jane is my best friend, but I hurt her. That's not who I am. That isn't who I want to be."
Trent listened and watched her as she tried to sort out what she was saying.
"Then there's you." Her eyes fell to his. "You have always been a really good friend to me…and that was odd, but not necessarily unheard of, because of your sister, that is until things began to escalate. In what world does someone like you pay me any more than cordial attention?"
"I could ask the same thing."
She ignored him and continued her vein of thought.
"A good looking, cool, older guy- a musician no less and he takes the time out of his life to check on the person that has hurt his sister the way that I did. There's kindness and then there's unbelievable."
"Why is so hard to believe that I would be nice?"
"It's," she sighed exasperated, "your being nice isn't hard to believe, but someone like me being in such close proximity to someone like you all the time is kind of out there."
"What are you talking about? –and what do you mean someone like me?"
"Like I said, you're good looking, cool, and older. I am- none of those things. I am… aware of how I look and who I am and don't worry I'm not launching into any depression about it. I am just a realist."
"First of all, if you think that I am good looking, then thank you but it feels like an insult because you seem to be excluding yourself from that category as well. Second of all, glasses don't make you ugly. Third, you look good."
She just looked at him for a moment before sliding her eyes back to the coffee pot.
"We're here, right here," he hit the table with his index and middle finger to further punctuated what he was saying.
"Then what is it?"
She chewed on her bottom lip.
"What if I succeeded when I tried to… you know?"
What the hell is taking that coffee so dammed long?
"I just- I feel-"
For an aspiring writer you sure get at a loss for words a lot.
"Okay, let's just look at it the way that you're saying. If you had really offed yourself, then what is all of this, some kind of heaven or hell?"
"I was thinking more like purgatory."
"The waiting room before you get to heaven?"
"Not exactly how the church describes it, but sort of."
Trent got up to pour himself and then her some coffee, then reseated himself while she continued talking.
"Maybe I have to do some good to atone for everything before I can move on or something."
Trent raised a brow.
"I know it sounds out there but, it just seems so unlikely that I would be given another chance. It's not like I ever did anything spectacular for the world and truly I don't believe that anyone would have missed me all that much."
Dangerous territory Daria…
"Don't look at me like that. I'm not thinking of repeating anything. Maybe I shouldn't have-"
"Stop it. Open and honest communication, that's what we have and I hope that's how it will always be."
"You don't ever have to be afraid to tell me what you're thinking, even if it is a little out there."
"You mean crazy thoughts."
"Look, you went through a lot physically you seem to be okay, but emotionally it probably pushed a whole lot of stuff around that you haven't dealt with. That stuff will pop up at different times and in different ways, best to tackle it head on."
"See, that's what I mean. I don't do that. I minimize the things that I have to deal with as much as possible so that I don't have to interact with too many people."
"Maybe it's time for that to change, at least a little."