Gideon woke up this morning from a restless night of fevers. Seeing me, he sat up and ran his hand across his runny nose. “I had bad bad dreams last night, Dad.”
“Oh no! What did you dream, dude?” I watched him as I buttoned my shirt next to the bed.
“Well,” he looked up at the ceiling, “there were 65 hundred peoples and there was a lion, and then the lion… well, the lion. ate. all of them.”
“Oh wow.. Phew. That does sound terrible.”
He didn’t seem very upset about this dream, honestly. In fact, he seemed to be getting more excited the longer he stared at the ceiling and thought about it. “Yeah. Oh, and there was not only a lion. There was also a tiger, and a jaguar, and a bear, and they all eated them people.” He moved his jaw absent-mindedly still half dreaming, slowly chewing the air.
“Huh…” I watched him cautiously. “…okay…”
Then he smiled and looked back at me and yawned revealing just how many teeth he had grown since last I counted.
I slowly backed out the door, “Alright. Well, I’m late for work, so I’m going to go brush my hair now, do you want to come along.”
He shrugged, clearly still lost in his dream and not fully awake yet.
A few minutes later he appeared next to me in the bathroom. I splashed water on my face and when I stood back up he was there watching my reflection.
“Oh, Mom falled apart.”
I dried my face with a towel. “What’s that?”
“Mom falled apart. Her head and arms and legs and stuff they came off. Like a Lego man. She falled apart.”
I squinted at the strange little boy. “Oh, you mean, like, in your dream?”
He looked confused and pointed. “No.” he said plainly, and then he pointed up the stairs, “You know… Mom.”
“I know mom.”
He nodded, “Yep. Her falled all apart.”
I glanced up the stairs towards the bedroom. A clock ticked in the living room. The house was eerily quiet. A dog barked in the neighbor’s yard. I suddenly realized I had not seen anyone else this morning except for Gideon. Where was Andrea anyway? Where were Gideon’s sisters? Were they sleeping? I couldn’t remember seeing them when I passed by in the hallway.
Gideon was still blocking the doorway, his arms straight down to his sides. His pajama top tucked partially into his pajama bottoms. His tired eyes looked past me.
“I’m going to go to work now,” I said as calmly as possible.
“Okay, Daddy. Me go back to bed then.”
“Yeah. I think you should.” I bent down and he kissed me on the cheek and then I fled for the safety of the garage.