Epilogue 2: The Last Blue Dream
Sandy sends Dwayne the song that came to her in a blue dream a few days after New Year’s Eve. She wakes, sobbing. Her tears are of remorse, shame, heartbreak. She is battling her own grief at their lost relationship. It is not her decision only. He had been the one to issue an ultimatum. Her grief is real. She does not need to so completely hold his mind, soul, and heart beside her own on top of her grief. She has done more than hurt him. She has shaken him to his core. His sense of self-identity, his belief in the fundamental goodness of life, even his faith in God is rocked by a decision he sees as hers alone. She knew he would be hurt. She is unprepared for the anger. She doesn’t hate him. How could she ever? She doesn’t know where that level of deep hatred came from towards anyone. She will always love him. In one dream, she has felt his deep love, his hurt, his anger, his hatred; all existing towards her simultaneously in one heart. How can her soulmate hate her with this intensity? How can he doubt how deeply she loves him?
She sends him the song as a link to a recording of her playing the dulcimer and singing. It isn’t a song for the dulcimer. It requires drums and a bass and a shrill guitar, but he will have to work all that out. In the email she includes a brief explanation.
“I tried to believe. I even prayed as earnestly and sincerely as I could to a God I now know I don’t even believe in. If he existed, he would have answered my prayer. How could he not with so heartfelt a prayer? He didn’t answer my prayer. Don’t hate me. I have only love for you; a love so deep I didn’t know such a love was possible. I wanted us to continue. I still do. If I had given in to your ultimatum-either marry me or we are over-wouldn’t I be subjugating my will to yours? Wouldn’t it had been the first of many tests of wills with an expectation that you would always get your way? Please change your mind and let’s be in a relationship. If I need to crawl, can’t you love me enough to understand? At the very least, forgive me and stop hating me.”
Dwayne responds: “Thanks for the song. As to the other, fuck you. What the Hell did you expect from God or from me? All conceit aside, I was the answer to your prayer. It only required faith to believe. What the fuck would it have taken? Were the blue dreams not a miracle to bring us together? Even with that you can’t seem to believe in love or maybe just don’t believe in me as a man. I never wanted to control you. I only wanted to have a life with you. God-even he would have to give up on you eventually-save his miracles for someone else. I have given up on you. You want to blame God or me? What happened to your own free will? You had a choice to simply love me, but you decided that either I or love was not worth it. So, happy life to you. Don’t worry about me, darling. I’ve never felt a lack of female companionship.”
Sandy is angry when she reads the response. How can he not believe that she loves him? How can he not know how hard this decision was? Men! How much of his response is about pride? The last part about female companionship! She knows his heart, soul, and mind. She knows he wants only her and anything else is just escape. After a couple of days of being angry that Dwayne doesn’t understand her as well as she understands him, she realizes it isn’t his fault. He has only seen her in his dreams; probably still does nightly. Only she, in her blue dreams, knew his thoughts, feelings, fears and dreams so intimately. Why do the blue dreams work that way? How different it might be if he knew her thoughts and feelings so intimately as well? Who should she be angry with at how the blue dreams work if she doesn’t believe in a God? Should she be angry at destiny or fate, Dwayne or at herself? She still believes that the blue dreams happen because Dwayne’s soul and hers missed each other in this lifetime. She is unsure if they will know each other in other lifetimes.
Over the next two years whenever she has blue dreams she sends Dwayne a link to her playing and singing the songs with no other comment.
Dwayne Hucks’ New Year’s Eve performance was a legendary concert. For over ten years, it was the only time he ever sang “Ride off into the Setting Sun.” There are several phone recordings on the Internet and a lot of social media debate over why he didn’t sing it for a decade. The rumor mill had that a very famous celebrity couple had offered him at first a million and then five million for him to sing it at their wedding. He refused.
Instead, through-out the first year of his national tour, he closes every show with the angriest of heartbreak songs called “Soul Mated In Hate.” It is not a country song, though, he did play banjo alongside his guitarist’s, Donna’s, screaming amplified and loud riffs. It is Punk grass, he replies, when asked about it. It attracts a lot of younger fans.
Two years after the first album, Dwayne Hucks and the Lonely Players release a second album. It is a break up album. Critics compare it to the legendary Dylan album “Blood on the Tracks.” A few critics say it is even better than Dylan’s. They claim it is the break-up album to which all other future break-up albums will be compared.
While the listening and gossip hungry public wonders who the muse had been for the break-up album, there is no shortage of gossip related to with whom he is getting over his sorrow. There are pictures of him and, a much younger, up and coming red-headed journalist at the clubs and on the beach. He appears as arm candy on the Oscar’s red carpet with a 35 year old dark and sultry actress. She is dressed in what will become a notoriously scant dress and when she wins the Oscar for best supporting actress, she gives the Professor Cowboy a kiss that ends with her licking his bottom lip before she tugs on it with her teeth. It is possibly the most erotic kiss of Oscar’s history. Then, there is his opening act on the tour for the second album. She is 27 years old, blonde and leggy, voice like an angel and every time they are seen in public his hand is on her ass as if he owns it. There are tabloid headlines next to a picture of the journalist slapping him with the blonde standing in the background.
Sandy knows, through the blue dreams, what Dwayne is experiencing over the two years. There is a mournful love song to her called “Lost Love”, there is a song about his ex-wife, there is a song of blame, a song of trying to forgive, a song of being numb, a song of falling off the wagon. The biggest hit off the album, outside of “Soul Mated in Hate” is “Beaches without Sand.” It describes how the ocean would feel if it could not wash up onto the sand. The song expresses the emptiness of meaningless sex without the woman he loves. Dwayne is trying to forgive Sandy, not because of her, but because he feels the anger is consuming his life. The blue dreams often leaves her scared for him and shaking in the morning. She knows his self-destructive behavior, his self-loathing, his experiences with drugs and multiple women at the same time, his search for strange to escape her memory. She knows how much he hates seeing her in the blue dreams. As for her, she lives in simultaneous desire for and dread of the blue dreams.
Shortly after the tabloid pictures come out, Sandy has a strange blue dream. She barely falls asleep. She tries to focus on the words on the blue, but red paint keeps being thrown on top of it. She can’t quite feel Dwayne’s thoughts or his emotions. She wakes with a feeling of emptiness.
She receives an email from Dwayne: “My Dearest Sandy, I have been attending meetings and am back in recovery. I am seeing a therapist to work on my pattern of self-destructive behaviors. I am working with a hypnotist to gain better control of my mind, my subconscious and my dreams. It is time for free will of my own. No more blue dreams. It is time I wrote my own songs. It is time for me to end the torture of seeing you in my dreams. I have learned not to hate you. I am often overwhelmed with love for you, but more often now, with sadness for you and for me and of the time loss to a love that apparently wasn’t destined to be. I have decided that the lesson of us for me is that I believe in the miracle of love. At least, I want to believe. I will continue in search of the myth. Know I gave myself as fully in love to you as I have ever given myself to a woman. I hope you will have a long and happy life.”
Sandy finds this e-mail to be cold and heartless. How can he say that theirs is a love that wasn’t destined to be? It was one thing to bury himself in sex, but to say he believed that there was another love for him? As much as she dreaded the blue dreams, it is not a relief to have them gone. Though she feared for him, she still had contact with the man she loved. Didn’t he know how empty and devoid of meaning her life will be without the blue dreams?
Dwayne’s attorney, Anthony Whitman, contacts Sandy about payment for the songs she had been partially responsible for over the years of her relationship with Dwayne. Tony is having a hard time understanding the nature of their collaboration, but Dwayne is insistent she receives payment and ongoing residuals. No, Sandy said, they were his songs only, his intellectual property. It was never really a collaboration. Think of what she did as more clerical, she explains, as if she had simply taken dictation.
Isadora attends two years at UNM while she lives with Sandy. Sandy and Isadora never talks about Dwayne or Frank. Frank and Isadora had broken up when she couldn’t accept the things he was saying about her mother. It did change the mother and daughter relationship. They are close enough as it goes, but do not share confidences. Isadora studies international business with a minor in Spanish. She studies her third year in Spain and returns to UNM in her fourth year to graduate with honors. Sandy is so proud.
Isadora marries an Albuquerque attorney two years after graduation. Dwayne attends the wedding and reception. Carmen’s father, Bernie, walks Isadora down the aisle and dances the father/daughter dance. Sandy and Dwayne do not speak. At one point during the reception, Sandy turns and sees him looking at her, up and down, as if memorizing the way she looks now. When he realizes she is looking at him, their eyes meet. He smiles; a little embarrassed to be caught looking with such obvious yearning. He raises his glass of champagne as if in a toast, takes a sip, and walks out of the reception.
On Sandy’s sixtieth birthday, while on the internet, she sees the news item that the Professor Cowboy, now 64, has married a woman 45 and they are expecting a child. Moments pass, as they do, into another year.
Isadora says her goodbyes to her mother without knowing if she can hear her. Her mother is losing her struggle with cancer. She had delayed seeing a doctor until it was too late. So arrogant and so like Mother! Too stubborn to see a doctor for her annual check-up. Isadora’s mind has already gone to plans for the funeral. How few friends Sandy has. It will be a small funeral. Isadora thinks about calling Dwayne, but so many years have passed, and he is happy now. Sandy and Dwayne’s love affair had been so brief that in Isadora’s mind it might never had happened. As Isadora and her doctor stand beside Sandy talking, Isadora remembers how close she had been once to her mother and tries to remember when they had grown so distant. Answering those questions wouldn’t change the outcome, Isadora thinks, and briefly touches her own stomach.
Sandy has heard Isadora, the nurses and the doctors by her bed as if they are far away in another room. She doesn’t have the energy to open her eyes. Suddenly she realizes that Dwayne is in her mind. She opens her eyes into a world of blue. She looks for the words on the screen-his last song to her- but there are no words. He is gone from her mind and the horrible emptiness returns. Then she sees him. He is older now with grey in his hair and beard, but still so fucking handsome. He is wearing grandfather jeans, a t-shirt and old cap. He smiles at her.
Dwayne: Hello, Darlin’.
Sandy: You’re here. I can see you
Dwayne: And I you. You are as beautiful as ever.
Sandy: I don’t feel your mind or heart.
Dwayne: No. It’s my turn to feel you-mind, heart and soul- such a strange sensation. It’s a gift, I guess, you’ve finally decided to give me.
Sandy: I want you to understand before I go.
Dwayne: I do, now. You know you don’t have to go. You’re giving up. You’re choosing to leave. You could fight this harder. Isadora is finally expecting after trying so long. Be there for your grandchild.
Sandy looks at Dwayne’s lips before looking into his eyes. Why had she ever given this man up?
Dwayne: You had your reasons.
Sandy: Do you love your wife?
Dwayne: Yes, I do. There are many types of love. We have given each other our trust. I’m not saying this to hurt you. You asked. We were not in love, but we were going to be parents. We decided to at least give each other our trust and it grew into love. I have loved four women and my love with her is the strongest. You were the great love of my life, but my love with her is the strongest as in resilient. Maybe because it started not with romanticism, but with a commitment to trust. She is a strong woman.
Sandy: I have been strong about the wrong things and weak when I should have been strong.
Dwayne: Be strong now. Live for your grandchild.
Sandy: I’m so tired. I’m ready to go. I just wanted you to know it wasn’t you I couldn’t love.
Dwayne: I know now. It was yourself. Our love was everything you thought you didn’t deserve.
Sandy closes her eyes. She opens them again. She is in the hospital. Dwayne is sitting in a chair beside her sleeping and holding her hand. When she squeezes his hand, he wakes up and leans towards her.
Sandy: How did you?
Dwayne: I just knew.
Sandy: My prayer from so long ago has been answered then.
Dwayne looks at her questioning. He remembers vaguely an email about a prayer and her not believing in God. Has she found religion through the years?
Dwayne: Do you want to pray now?
Sandy shakes her head no: Alex was right.
Sandy: When you are dying with a love one near, there is no need for a prayer, you just feel grateful.
Dwayne bends down and kisses her lips for the last time.
In Dwayne Hucks and the Lonely Players’ retirement tour, he sings as the closing song every night “Ride Off into the Setting Sun.” It replaces “Soul Mated in Hate” which he swears he will never sing again.
For those of you who do not believe in Happy Endings, this epilogue is written. If you believe that Sandy’s earnest prayer was not answered and she did not go to Dwayne on New Year’s Eve, you are a creative breed. You are the breed that are the writers, poets, artists and inventors. You want to live every moment in life not only in the moment but in a thousand reinvented ways to experience the moment. It is less important that you have a happy ending then that you have lived fully whatever heartbreak, pain, happiness, or ecstasy is inherent in each poignant moment. How much do you have to feel to know you have wrung every emotion you can from a memory of a moment?
You have likely sat on your balcony, patio, or in your back yard with a drink of something fine, looking at stars and thinking what if. You are hoping and dreaming of a love to come or you have relived each of your own love stories over and said your good-byes a thousand different ways. If, on these evenings, there is a love that lingers a little longer, someone you can feel in your arms or feel them holding you, so real that you can smell the aftershave or perfume, feel the gristle of a unshaven beard or hear her sweet lilting laughter, lost in those moments until your spouse calls you into bed or the cat jumps on your lap, then God bless you, you have experienced your own blue dreams. You are the reason why some stories are best told in song or verse.