This is me for real, last night.

I have recurring dreams. One in particular, when I start writing this story again. I've written it three, four times now. Each time slightly different. Each time I get to this point some improbable sequence of events brings someone to me who stops me in my tracks for a few hours.

Every time. It's gotten so I'm waiting for it to happen now.

When you write, it comes true somewhere.

In my head I'm flying above Antarctica. In my dream I'm where I have been, face plastered to the 8" plexiglass circle in the side of the C131. Jagged black mountains penetrate white ice like the backbone of the earth is splintered and poking through. Above the sky is black blue. The sun blares down mercilessly, ineptly, all bark and no bite.

In my dream I see Anna skiing across a plane of white nothingness. She's moving from nowhere to nowhere but I know she is real. She's somewhere.

In my dream she's talking to me as she skis. It's a mantra. It keeps her going.

She says to me:

"What is love? Is love what you thought you lost when I told you the life you'd chosen would hurt? Is love something you've been able to buy with all your money? Did it leave you when you left? Does your heart beat without it?

Did you find what you were looking for? Can you?

Are you done being a child?

Can love change our lives?

Would it make you happy for even one day?

Could love have stopped even one of your friends from dying of cancer?

Can it stop this glacier?

Or are we doomed to live ourselves out another life, only to realize at the last minute we lacked the vision to see we'd never lost anything at all?

When will you love yourself enough to believe

I know you?

I wake up hard, tears in my eyes.

Wife, almost asleep says, "What's the matter? Why are you up?"

"I don't know," I say. Gotta get up in a couple hours. "This is idiotic. It's nothing. Go to sleep."

I lay back on my pillow. Think--how many ideas do people have that will go unspoken?

How many stories are in my head I will never tell?

How many songs have I written no one will hear?

Pages written, trashed unread.

All these words. All this time.

When I am dead, do they just disappear, or do they show up in other people's dreams?

Anna, are you a dead man's dream?

I want to talk to the night. I want to say, "One of my characters is talking to me in my dreams, darling. I don't who she is. I miss her anyway."

My beloved is sleeping. I say nothing.

I've lost my mind.