The first time my ex-wife Renata reappeared was in a dream. She was standing barefoot, all five-feet nothing of her, on my bed eyeing me like a surveillance camera, red dot flashing. I had my back against the headboard watching her watch me. Her shoulders weren’t like I remembered them to be. They were horse-like, too meaty to be even masculine. Her breasts were also unreasonably small, not like the real things. They were of fifth grader stock, the type these fifth graders massaged in the bathroom mirror, praying to gods to remedy. This odd rendition of my once Renata didn’t say anything. She just eyed me until I made a move for her lips. She closed her eyes, allowing me her space. I kissed her, and kissed her, biting her bottom lip. I was immediately hungry for her, her flesh, her saliva. I wanted to taste her, peel the brown from her face, devour them like clementines. She kissed back, maneuvering her head to the side, our heads were a perfect V. I touched her horse-like shoulders, massaging small circles onto them, and she pulled away suddenly. What had I done, I began to say, but I had no voice. She began to cry, but not the full outburst I remember her having, the one that ended us; it was a cry she moved into slowly, like she was trying it on, arm by arm. I’m sorry, I told her. I didn’t mean to touch your shoulder, but I didn’t know what the offense in that was. She backed away from me, one barefoot at a time, until she was off the bed. I’m sorry, I said again, crawling towards her.
But after the third sorry, Renata was gone, and I was staring at my real world ceiling and my real world wife, Eva, holding my bicep. What are you dreaming out, she said. I was awake. What are you dreaming about?, she said again, like the law. Bullshit, I said. She regarded my face like I imagined she did her students at her high school, wondering if they truly did read their homework. But what was my homework? What had I not done the night before? My wife’s Dominican, a Newark-Brick City-Dominican. A I-will-make-you-incredible-amounts-of-food, share incredible-amounts-of-love-with you, but I will cut you if you cross me Dominican. She got out of the bed, her nightgown sweeping the floor, and looked out the window. This is random, but worth mentioning: As a teenager, just after high school graduation, Eva had thought of suicide. Some guy, she said. So every time she moves towards that floor to ceiling window in our bedroom, given what I’ve been putting her through for past year, I think this is the day she does it. This is the day I become that guy and pushes her off the edge. Eerie, crazy thought, but I think it. So I propped myself on my bed and watched her. She looked out onto Lyons Avenue- a street that did nothing by lay there. I wondered if I had said Renata’s name in my dream, if she had somehow had secret access to the happenings of my dream. I waited for my charge. But without turning to me, my wife said, “I’ll make your coffee.”