His eyes opened to a dark cavernous room lit by the dim red light of a few hot coals. He looked over the fire pit to see her sleeping form in repose. He shifted his eyes to beyond his feet, where his horse stood still.
He lifted his body and felt the strength of his abdomen pulling him to a sitting position. Just beyond the leaf and branch latticed door behind him, he could hear the faint sound of bird song. He did not know how bright it was. Often birds woke in the middle of the dark night, sang a song, and then went back to the silence till the first dark morning brightness came. He sat recalling a dream of a cat and a woman in a tree. A huge tree. The woman with the blue eyes moved closer till he could see only her eyes, and with a sound of falling splashing water in her voice said, "Trust me."
The memory brought him a feeling of warmth in his chest. A strange sense that all was well. He looked over to Estella. She lay quiet and yet watching her breath caused a feeling as though watching an immensely beautiful phenomenon in nature. The way he felt when he hiked a mountain range last year. He had come to a clearing at a hilltop that gave him a view of hundreds of miles over smaller hills and valleys. What he noticed was a beautiful dark cloud with a sheer sheet of shadow grey rain falling to the valley floor. A lightning bolt of static jagged white cut the black wall of water into sections as the white split into many fingers striking the trees. A few seconds later, he heard the gentle deep rumble of thunder bouncing over the rolling hills that penetrated the bones of his ears running through his skull, then down his neck and vertebrate extending through his arms and legs to the soles of his feet and into the dirt. At that moment, he knew that his feet touched the soil of the earth, as though he wore no boots. In that moment of sight and sound, and now touch, he was made of pure earth. But more. The two experiences caused every nerve in his eyes to awaken to a greater awareness of the thousands of trees witnessing the same white bolts and sounds as he was. For a moment, he sensed that those without number were aware that he saw them, as they always see him.
Just the thought of her caused in him this awareness.
However, when she was actually in the room with him, this awareness made his mind to feel as though the thunder was inside of him. In his heartbeat.
She stirred. Her eyes opened and saw him sitting across the coals.
"Can't sleep?" She whispered.
"No. I was going to check the time of day, but I remembered a dream."
She lay quietly listening. In her tribe, it was a morning ritual that everyone in the family shared the first thoughts of the day with the rest of the family over breakfast. Often the first thoughts after waking were the dreams of sleep. Sometimes those dreams allowed a person to share a fear that was stopping them and sometimes they shared the tread of a wish.
"Do you want to share?" She said.
He looked over to her and smiled.
"It was of you. I think. This cave. This fire. There were images drawn on the wall. A tree was surrounded by a circle of people, each with long dark long hair. They were dancing. The circle of people were surrounded by cats, also dancing. And then a ring of birds." He paused. "Oh, and then there was a big cat. A panther. She brought me to a tree near a river." As he spoke, the dream was coming to his memory. "We climbed into the tree, and the cat changed. Where there was a cat, there was you. Dreams are so strange."
She remained quiet, encouraging him.
"The woman," he continued, "who was you, she looked at me. She pressed her head to my head. Those blue eyes were so big. I remember falling into them. And then the woman said,..."
Estella finished the sentence. "She said, trust the process. Trust me."
They stared at each other.
"You can read my mind?" he queried.
"Kind of. I'll explain it to you someday. When we get to know each other better, but for now, know this. In a way, dreams are real. And they belong to everyone. Your dream was my dream."
He watched her.
She watched him. She remembered him in her dream. A beautiful man whose voice was like the sound of drums rhythmically pressing calm deep into the tissues of her heart. When he spoke, her heart listened. She was only a bystander watching. Her heart was in control. And her heart told her to stay near this one.