Tiny Stories: Dreams of Gingerbread

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up ofโ€ฆ

I don’t dream.

I mean, I do dream, everybody dreams, or else we’d all go slowly mad.

What I meant to say is that my dreams aren’t dreams, their memories. Events pulled from my subconscious and dressed in modern-day clothes. Usually, they tended to be past situations that mirrored current conflicts in my life, and I thought they were meant to provide a solution in a George Santayana Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it, sort of way. Alas and alack, this was not the case because I always made the same mistakes, no matter which fork in the road I took.

And the memory-dreams never brought the comfort of nostalgia with them, as they were never good memories, or they might start off pleasant, but there was always something there to sour the experience. Had I really never experienced true happiness in my life? If I described how my memory dreams played out each night, people might have gotten the impression that I was born in a Dickensian novel. “The Tale of Two Pities,” or some such.

And I was certain there was a level of fiction that mixed with real-life moments, the dream and waking world seemed to derive pleasure from swapping details like so many trading cards, which caused me to doubt the authenticity of my remembrance of things.

Worse were the insignificant moments that I had largely forgotten about, which were somehow amplified in my dreams, only to be transformed into real-life triggers. Triggers noticeable enough that my best friend, Shelly, began asking, “What happened to you?” which I took as, What the hell did you do to yourself that made you turn into such a freak?

Normally, I took a moment to ponder a believable and sympathetic lie to tell, but my latest dream shook me to the core, and I had to tell somebody before my mind exploded.

“Shell, you’re not going to believe me,” I started.

“Only one way to find out, Gingerbread. Tell me and we’ll see where it goes from there,” Shelly offered a reassuring smile. Gingerbread was a nickname I picked up as a little girl because of my skin tone, frecklesโ€”yes, brown skin can have freckles as wellโ€”and shock of red hairโ€”we can also be redheads. I punched as many faces as it took in primary school to put an end to it, but it remained a term of endearment between Shell and me, and now that I was older, I had to admit, it kind of grew on me.

I brought Shelly up to speed on my dreaming situation, and to my surprise, she was not only interested but also concerned for me. She was a better friend than I realized and I should have done this years ago.

“Last night,” I said. “I dreamt that everything was the same as it is now but instead of going to community college, I took a gap year. It was the summer, and I struggled into my clothes, splashed water on my face, and gulped down a scalding cup of tea. Flinging open the door to the garden, I felt a breeze wash over my face. It had rained overnight and the air was damp with expectation.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad,” Shelly said.

“Then I looked down at my belly…and I was pregnant.”

“You what?”

“Not only that, but the pregnancy had driven me mad, alienated me from my husband…”

“You were married? At 18?”

“Yeah, I know, right?” I said. “And just like in one of those Lifetime movies, my world tilted on its axis threatening to pitch me off. Then I gave birth. And this tiny person, who was partially made of me that would one day grow independent of me, somehow held the universe together.”

“Well, that’s a happy ending, I suppose,” Shelly said.

“But that’s not the weird bit,” I said, taking a deep breath before continuing. “I woke up with that same baby lying in bed beside me.”

“Wait a minute now, you woke up with a baby?”

“Yeah, a newborn, by the looks of it.”

“Whose baby is it?”

“Mine, I suppose. It’s the spitting image of pictures of me as a baby.”

“But you didn’t have a baby before you went to sleep?”

“No, I wasn’t even pregnant.”

“Of course not because you being pregnant is something I definitely would have noticed,” Shelly said, trying to work it out in her head. “But, but, um…so where’s the baby now?”

“At home, with my husband, naturally. What kind of mother do you take me for?” I snapped. My response was so reflexive that I only registered the words after I had spoken them. Off Shelly’s shocked expression, I said, “I’m sorry, Shell, I don’t know where that came from.”

“Seemed like a pretty motherly response to me.”

“It’s like my mind and emotions are running on automatic and I’m suddenly filled with all these instincts I never had before. I know this sounds crazy, but could this be an immaculate conception?”

“Not my field of expertise, sweetie, but I’m pretty sure dream pregnancies and instant husbands aren’t part of that package deal,” Shelly said. “And no offense but you’re hardly a virgin.”

“I know you’re not slut shaming me.”

“Why would I and how could I? I’m certainly not virginal, myself. Hell, do we even know any virgins?”

“Eric Petty.”

“Yeah, okay, but who would sleep with that incel weirdo? The internet was invented for simps like him to five knuckle shuffle over VTuber anime waifus,” said Shelly. “But back to the point at hand. Can I ask you a few questions so I can better wrap my head around this mystery of yours?”

“By all means.”

“What’s your baby’s name?”

My mouth opened…and remained that way. I was coming up blank. What sort of mother couldn’t remember their own child’s name?

“Okay, maybe that’s a toughie,” Shelly said. “Let’s try this husband of yours. Who is he? If he’s someone you know, the odds are I know him, too, because we know all the same people.”

My husband’s face was on the tip of my tongue. His name, however, was not. The frustration of not being able to recall even the simplest details about my family triggered a painful electrical storm of anxiety in my brain that oscillated between intense sorrow and frozen panic. There was a hole in the bucket of my sanity that I was unable to plug.

“Shell, I know how this looks but I swear I’m not crazy!” Never a convincing statement when yelled at the top of one’s lungs. Neither was, “You have to believe me!”

My sudden outburst should have triggered apprehension in Shelly but she remained calm and said, “Oh, I believe you, Gingerbread.” Then I realized she was no longer looking at my face. Her eyes were instead fixated on my chest.

“You’re leaking,” she said with a slight point of her chin.

And sure enough, the circumferences of two damp patches were expanding on my blouse.

Not The End.

38 responses to “Tiny Stories: Dreams of Gingerbread

  1. Is it wrong that I feel for Eric Petty simping away away in his mom’s basement living an anime sex fantasy life with a VTuber waifu who’s prolly some 50 year old man living in his parents basement?
    J/K! No sympathy for incels. #sorrynotsorry
    Great story but why the cliffhanger???

    Liked by 3 people

    • Cuca, are you suggesting that people aren’t really who they claim to be on the internet? That all the cute anime VTubers aren’t actually adorable anime-looking women in real life? That’s shocking and I won’t believe a word of it until I have empirical proof to substantiate your outlandish claims!

      Cliffhangers give me a chance to concoct an ending, my dear, so bear with me.

      Cheers for the read and comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The immaculate conception deluxe package? Just dream and wake up with an instant family? Why didn’t anybody tell me about this earlier? I went about it the hard way all these years!

    Interesting story, as usual, Rhyan, and the virgin bit made me chuckle. And now that you’ve had your little fun by teasing us…FINISH THE STORY! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flyers were distributed and emails were sent out, Suranne, so I don’t know what happened in your case. You should have been notified about the Immaculate Conception Family Plan (ICFP). I definitely saw your name on the list. If you sign up for the Reincarnation Plus Package, we can get you set up with the ICFP on your next go-round.

      Cheers for the read and comment!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well, that explains everything. I throw out junk mail and automatically delete spam. And I think I am interested in the Reincarnation package. Is there a way to get it bundled with the ICFP, along with anything else you think might be useful? I’d prefer to pay one price (do you accept Groupon?)

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re in luck, Suranne, because they’re currently running a deal, yes, through Groupon, where you not only get ICFP and the Reincarnation Plus Package but they’re also throwing in a Bypass Puberty Implant and a Prepaid College Tuition Voucher all for one low price, just pay separate shipping and handling.

        Operators are standing by.

        Liked by 1 person

    • You don’t have to hide your true nature from me, dude. Be proud of your incel heritage. You’re always welcomed here, and next time you drop by, bring your waifu, too. I’d love to meet her. You know, put an anime face to the name.

      I joke, I joke. I keed, I keed…unless you actually have a waifu, and in that case, she’s still welcome to drop in at any time.

      Cheers for the compliment and read as always, Grey!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. ‘Tale of two pities’ – LOL! This can make me laugh any time. And the ending looks like the ‘Tale of two ti….’ I just had to get that out of my system. Don’t tell me it didn’t cross your mind. It looks like two dimensions have overlapped and there’s a lot to find out and grow accustomed to. A very creative tale with your signature mark of wit and sarcasm. I hope it’s not the end. Waiting for more. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Normally, I’d be willing to go tit for tat with you, my dear, but at the risk of sounding like a complete boob, I am not blessed with your hyperactive gutter mind, so let’s nip that notion in the bud. However, I do appreciate you taking time out from your busy editorial schedule to read my humble offerings and I shall endeavor to keep you abreast should a future installment of this titillating tale post.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s already been mentioned, but the waifu part is comedy gold. And the cliffhanger non-ending definitely has my ears perked. Dreams are such an unusual and intriguing subject. Mine are mostly pleasant. My problem is not being able to fall asleep to experience them. This tale has the hallmarks of a surrealist masterwork. There’s an almost comic horror as the protagonist describes her dream and her new insta-family to her friend. Can’t wait to see where this tale goes next! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • My dreams are almost always mundane and nonsensical and usually involve people I haven’t seen in years.

      I have a question that’s born of curiosity and I mean no offense by it and feel free to tell me to mind my own business, but in your dreams, can you hear? Or do waking rules apply with you needing to read lips? If this is insensitive, please let me know and I’ll avoid questions of this nature in the future.

      As for where the story goes next, we’re in the same boat, buddy, because I’d like to know where it goes as well. Most times these “To Be Continued” stories are warm-up exercises for actual writing (my novels and whatnot). Hopefully, it’ll stew in the back of my brain and a resolution will make itself available to me.

      Cheers for the read!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, Rhyan. No need to worry–I actually welcome questions regarding my deaf experience. It shows people care, and I try to be an open book.

        This question is fascinating and I was telling another blogger about this phenomenon a couple of weeks ago. In my case, when I began losing my hearing at age 18, my dreams were unaffected. My hearing loss has been progressive (although in 1990 I came down with severe strep throat and lost a huge chunk of my hearing all at once), but for years, I could hear normally in my dreams.

        I think it was at some point after 1990 when I began to notice my deafness had crossed the threshold into my dreams, and it became a progressive hearing loss there as well, and frustratingly so. At this late date, my dreams reflect my waking hearing loss–I can still hear some sounds, but speech is pretty much impossible for me to decipher (lip-reading is very much hit-and-miss).

        It’s especially frustrating when I dream of playing my guitars and find myself tone-deaf and unable to play them in my dreams. Lip-reading has become standard practice in my dreams as well. It’s strange how dreams mirror life, and it makes me wonder if late-onset blindness affects people in their dreams like late-onset deafness has affected mine, or if folks who are paralyzed can walk and run in their dreams. I imagine this is fertile ground for writers to explore.

        Thanks for asking, Rhyan. Please don’t hesitate if you have more questions on this or any other topic. It’s a good way to connect with folks. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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