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A Daydream

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Sand. A hazy sun. Clear, blue water. Bluer than any recent memory of time-stripped billboards. John's first day, his first real day was more beautiful than any of the fantasies of an unreal life planted in his mind by Doctor Schreber.

She wasn't Emma anymore.

Anna peered over the railing of the dock and smiled once more at John. A fantasy played through his mind, of a little house on the coast just like the one he'd never really lived in. A real family. Anna at his side, and the reassuring warmth of her skin as he breathed in the scent of bright perfume on her shoulder. They'd have kids. Two or three. Happily ever after. Maybe he could build her a paradise on the water, shape this new world in whatever way she wanted. They would never want for anything.

It was a pretty daydream, but Anna didn't smell like jazz and smoke anymore. Her perfume was gone; in its place was just the scent of the salt air around them and just a hint of fresh, clean soap. As clean as Anna, free from the strangers. Free from John.

So she walked away, back down the dock for the first and maybe even the last time. John didn't stop her.