I dreamed about Bella for six consecutive nights before I ever saw her face. Before that, I don't remember ever dreaming so often or having essentially the same dream night after night. When I woke from each dream, my memory of it didn't fade during the course of the day as one's dreams typically do. Also, I remembered the first dream about her just as vividly as the most recent one. What I didn't remember, though, is how I knew that her name is Bella. After my first dream about her, I could not stop thinking about her. It felt odd because it was as if I had been in the presence of this amazing woman and wanted to spend every moment with her.
In my first dream, we were in the huge, torch-lit courtyard of an old castle. The air was pleasantly warm and the sweet scent of a perfume that I couldn't quite identify was in the air.
Bella stood across the courtyard with her back to me. She was wearing a white, short-sleeved shirt and jeans. She was standing in front of a huge wooden door with her head slightly bowed as if she were listening for something.
As I approached her and called her name, she slowly turned toward me. She faded away before I could see her face. I awoke calling out her name.
In each successive dream, Bella silently stood with her back to me until I approached her. During each dream, she turned just a little bit more before fading away. On the seventh night, she finally turned completely around to face me. She was stunning, with long, black hair and deep, emerald green eyes. She smiled and called me by name, Dom, as she embraced me. Just thinking about the embrace gives me a warm, comforting feeling. It felt so familiar, so natural.
After a moment, she drew back from me and looked at me gravely. "They're looking for us," she said. "They'll be here soon. We have to be ready."
Before I could ask who "they" were, I was awakened by a phone call from a good friend whose website I'd developed for his business. While he was explaining a new feature that he wanted for his site, I could have sworn that I smelled the perfume from my dream. He asked if I could have the new feature complete in time for a meeting he had scheduled with a potential client that evening. I told him that it would cost him double and we laughed.
I had a quick breakfast of chocolate chip waffles topped with peanut butter and then sat at my desk to work. My laptop wasn't picking up a signal from my wireless router, so after troubleshooting and determining that my Internet connection was down, I called the cable company. An automated message informed me of a service outage in my area that should be resolved in four to six hours.
Frustrated, I showered and got dressed. I put my laptop in my backpack and drove to a sandwich shop a few miles from my apartment complex.
I arrived at the sandwich shop just after 10:00 a.m. I sat in a quiet corner of the shop, put on my headphones, and got lost in my work for a few hours until I sensed someone looking at me. I looked up and immediately locked gazes with Bella, who was looking back at me from a few tables away.
My heart leaped into my throat and I was instantly lightheaded. I did my best to contain the emotions running through me: awe, astonishment, and maybe a tiny bit of fear. There was no doubt in my mind that it was her, but how could this be? She gave me a brief smile and then looked back down at the binder she was reading from. I admit, I gave myself a good pinch on the forearm to make sure I wasn't dreaming and confirmed that I was wide awake. I did my best to not stare at her, but I couldn't help it. I absolutely had to meet her.
Just as I started to get up from my table, a guy who looked like he could play linebacker for any given NFL team sat down across from her with a tray of food. She moved her binder aside and they began to eat.
I felt deflated. I tried to make sense of the situation. Had I met her before and just couldn't remember it? I couldn't tell if she recognized me too or if she was just being friendly. Luckily, I was almost finished working on my friend's website because it was very difficult to refocus on work.
After another half-hour, I was finished working. Bella and her companion had finished eating and were sipping coffee. I didn't want to leave because I didn't know if I would ever see her again.
A few minutes later, they packed up their things and headed for the door. As the linebacker stood up and turned toward the door, Bella put a folded slip of paper on their table as she stood up. She looked at me and then looked down at the slip of paper. I felt a jolt of excitement.
As soon as they walked out, I hurried over to their table and picked up the slip of paper. It simply had a phone number on it. The moment was so surreal to me that I actually snapped a picture of the slip of paper with my phone. I packed up and drove home.
I sat on the sofa and put Bella's number on the coffee table in front of me. I replayed the encounter with her over and over in my mind. I spent the afternoon cleaning my apartment and listening to music while trying not to think about her. I debated on whether or not to call her. She was clearly with someone and had to sneak her number to me. I wouldn't feel right about interfering with someone's relationship. On the other hand, I was dying to know what was going on. I tried playing video games to take my mind off of her, but to no avail.
At a little before 9:00 p.m., I finally gave in and called her. She answered on the third ring. "Hello?" She sounded exactly as she had in my dream. It was eerie.
"Hi," I responded. "This is--"
"Dom?" she interrupted. I froze and suddenly my legs got weak. I plopped down on my bed.
"Uh...yeah... How did you--"
"We need to talk," she interrupted again. "Can you come over?" she asked.
This caught me off guard. "Now?"
"Uh...sure," I said. Then, "But what about your boyfriend? I don't want to interfere..."
"I don't have a boyfriend," she said almost impatiently. She gave me her address and had me repeat it back. "See you soon." Then she hung up.
I couldn't believe that this was happening. I took a quick shower and then stood at my closet for what seemed like forever trying to decide what to wear. I felt silly, but I couldn't help it. The temperature had dropped since earlier, so I decided on jeans, boots, a light sweater, and a leather jacket.
Excerpted from "The Children of Xenakis" by Rad Taylor. Copyright © 0 by Rad Taylor. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.