Bates and Anna were out in the backyard in the evening, enjoying the warm air.
"What do you dream of?" Anna asked, breaking the silence.
"What do I dream of?" Bate echoed, turning the question in his mind. He slid a glance at her. "Hmm-" he started, suggestively. "I'm not sure I should say."
She pushed at his arm, gently. "Oh, you! That's not what I meant, at all. I meant-, well, I used to dream of lying in bed, sleeping as long as I wanted, and maybe even having someone bring a cup of tea when I woke up, just like the young ladies. Now, I think what it would be like, to wake up and see you still sleeping."
"And you worried what naughty thoughts I was having," Bates chided. He filed those visions away for the future. To bring her tea in bed, what an easy dream to make true, if only… "I dream -" he paused. "I dream of us arguing, of you getting annoyed with me, showing a sour face because I've tramped mud into your kitchen, or broken your favorite cup. Perhaps me complaining about your cooking."
She burst out laughing. "What a silly dream! I'd never do such a thing. And I'll have you know, I'm a fine cook."
"I'm sure I'd never complain of your cooking. And right now, it's impossible to even picture us quarreling. That's why it's just a dream."
"But John, why would you dream something like that? Why not something nicer?"
He smiled at her. "But is is nice, you see. For you to get mad at some simple thing like that, we'd have to wake up together many times in our own house, you'd need to have a kitchen all your own to fuss over, and you'd have to be so sure all our bigger problems had been solved that you'd worry over a trifle. We're so careful, now. Careful of what we say, what we do. We play at it sometimes, but we neither of us dare, because it's such a fragile thing we have. That's why. Well, when I'm not dreaming other dreams, at least."
"Well, I'm sure one day we'll have all that, and I still won't fuss at you."
"Ah, well. A man can still dream."