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Fantasy

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Sam tries not to listen. But here, the sounds of the night are like no other place she’s known. It’s not the solemn snow falling in Colorado. It’s not the foreign animals making strange noises in a forest on some distant planet. It’s not the hustle of the nation’s capital, even at 2:00 am. Here, she tries not to listen but hears the bump of the water against a tiny pier, the gentle chirps of insects in the trees, the low song of a bullfrog serenading his mate.

She tries very hard not to touch. But the cotton sheets have been washed down to relaxed, as if they are a favorite Saturday afternoon T-shirt. The blanket over her legs isn’t really needed in this weather, but the changing textures under her fingers as she smooths her hand across the patchwork somehow make sense to her, that it changes as she moves. She also can’t help but notice the breeze lifting the curtains in a slow ballet before dancing across her skin, cooling her before she has a chance to realize she was hot.

She tries not to notice the smells. But the furniture in the room is old, solid, wood, and, in its many lifetimes, too many people have touched it not to have some of their essences seep into its cracks. The sheets smell laundry-fresh, but everything else smells like history and time, mixed with campfire, and the pine and grass from outside that snuck in through the open window and requested refuge in the cozy room.

She doesn’t want to notice any of these things because then this place will be real, no longer existing in the dreamy corner of her brain that never honestly believed one day she’d be here. If she takes it all in--the sounds, the feelings, the smells--and allows herself to realize where she is, then the significance of that realization will certainly be close behind.

She’s not sure if she’s ready, or if he is, or if that which has built up for so long makes any sense at all anymore. But she wants to be brave. She wants to fight through all the rough parts that are to come. They are as inevitable as the fact that she’ll have to learn to live with cartoons and grumpy days and, no matter how many times she tells him, he still won’t remember to rinse his plate and put it in the dishwasher instead of leaving it in the sink.

Not a fantasy any longer.

She can lie here in this room and turn off her senses or she can get up and move. One is safe, and the other is perhaps tinged with the ridiculous. But despite the fact that she’s always been the logical one, she doesn’t want safe anymore and she is tired of existing in her head.

She gets out of bed, and, even though the cabin is dark, she’s sure of the way. She doesn’t knock, giving neither of them the chance to second-guess the idea of opening the door to the room. She’s not surprised to find he’s awake when she takes a step inside his bedroom.

“I like your cabin,” she says.

“I’m glad.”

He doesn’t say anything more as she joins him because perhaps he also knew it was time to make the fantasy real.