I would like to record my appreciation for my best friend, in Shreveport, Louisiana, for coming up with the incredibly original idea behind this story. I should add that this story is definitely not for the squeamish...
‘Dreaming about tooth loss is scary enough….’
Rosie propped herself up in the grey bed for me and gently fingered her cherry red lip. I counted four teeth in her smile that dawn. Only four, lining her jaw. Four, where there should have been many. Rosie, whose face was blanched with shock, tenderly felt the wide gaps between her teeth. I saw her face strain, the tension lines, drawn between her arched eyebrows, the abject fear in her eyes. Her look of utter disbelief,
‘…but when you wake up to find you’ve lost your teeth…’
The curse had returned. I wanted to lie with her. To hold her tightly in my arms, stroking the wavy brown hair off her face, and kiss her. But she rolled over to her side of the bed. The left side. The side where I never dared to venture. Not since her memories came back.
She seemed dazed, confused. Her arm was bare, resting on the grey-goose duvet. Her chest was bare, all grey skin, in contrast to her frilly nightie. Her face was white with shock. She watched me with suspicion, her blank expression riddled with apprehension, as I slowly lifted our duvet.
Rosie was lying on her right arm, her long legs bent at the knees, her body curled into the foetal position. The staining in the mattress, her stain, had seeped into the bedsheet, the mattress. The stain had returned. Only it was blood-red this time, not grey, and lying in the pool of blood, were her missing teeth.
I dream, you dream, we all dream. Maybe you remember yours. Not me! But they remember them. I had an idea for a story. Something suitably weird. It came about because Rosie bought a new mattress. When it was delivered, there was a brown stain on it, which the delivery men said they could easily get rid of with stain remover. Rosie said no, she wanted a replacement. The replacement will take several days to arrive, and meanwhile we’re sleeping on the one that will be taken away.
Rosie remembers her dreams - which I certainly don’t! She told me about the dream she had. The night we slept on the mattress for the first time. With the brown stain. How she dreamed she lost her teeth, her mind, her life. I scoffed at her at the time, telling her dreams don’t come true. But the loss of her teeth got me worried. Made me daydream. Knowing, she already slept on that stain, and dreamed.
I wondered about the consequences of someone else lying on the rejected side of the mattress: her side, where she dreamed. What if the mattress could remember Rosie’s dreams and transmit them to me by some sort of perverse osmosis? If I inadvertently rolled over, and slept on her side of the bed? Surely that could change our dreams, even our lives, forever. I vowed, there and then, never to sleep on her side of the bed. At least, not until the delivery men arrived. And changed the mattress.
My dream was interrupted by Rosie screaming in agony. I opened my eyes, daydream over, and stood, my jaw unhinged, flapped widest open, my nose twitching the ferric stench - by her bedside. She screamed and screamed and screamed. Blankly, wondering what was still to come, I lifted our grey duvet. Rosie clutched at the gaping hole in her bleeding chest. Her white nightie drenched with thick congealed blood. The stain was there. Only it was bright scarlet this time. And lying, in the pool of blood, was her dead foetus.
I heard my love’s lungs rattle as she expired.
Two weeks earlier:
E-mail from Louisiana:
I made a rough draft of the first couple of lines, HJ, sort of in your style:
I dream…You dream…We all dream.
Maybe you remember yours. Not me!
But mattresses, they remember all of them.
Please, edit as desired.
Title: Memory Foam.
All for now,