A Short Story About Writing . . . and Other Things.

THE DREAM
©2010, Jeffrey Allen Davis

I had a vivid dream. I sat across a table from Yoshi Funakoshi, sharing an amicable lunch of California Rolls with soy sauce and wasabi for dipping.

Yoshi lifted a roll with her chopsticks, dipped it into the soy sauce, and then used it to scoop a liberal amount of the spicy, Japanese mustard. After stuffing the whole thing into her mouth, she chewed contentedly as she focused her beautiful, brown eyes on me and smiled.

I grimaced.

Her smile faded. “What troubles you, my scribe?”

“That glob of wasabi was a bit much, even for me.”

She tapped her chopsticks absently upon her square plate. “You love spicy things.”

I nodded. “True. But, at my age, they don’t like me so much, anymore.” I showed her the bowl of my dipping sauce. “It’s mostly soy sauce, with just enough wasabi mixed in to ‘clear my sinuses.’” I chuckled. “I think that’s what my friend, Mike, said when he explained the mixture to me.”

Yoshi cleared her throat. “As a permanent sixteen-year-old, my health will never get worse.”

I smiled ruefully. “Your health would never have gotten worse. You’re just like your uncle. In his sixties, he could have outrun most twenty-year-olds.”

“It would be nice to have the option to test my life,” she remarked. “To have children. To grow old with the one that I love.” She sighed. “To graduate from high school.”

I knew where she was going with this. “What makes you think that you would’ve lived to see those things?”

She blinked a tear from her eye. “Because you like happy endings.”

I snorted in disgust. “Where’s my ‘happy ending?’”

She rolled her eyes and dropped her chopsticks on the table. “Life isn’t always about you! You will never get beyond anything until you stop with the ‘whoa is me!’”

“You’re sounding just like her!” I snapped defensively.

“But I am NOT her!” returned the kunoichi. “You created me for your stories before you ever met her! Why must you constantly think of me in such a way?”

I sighed. She was right. I had created my Adventure characters in high school, well before I had met her. “She used to guilt me for having based characters on just about everybody but her.”

“So?” She tapped her well-trimmed nails on the table impatiently.

“You were the only character that I’d created without any inspiration from a living person.” I folded my arms across my chest and stared at my plate in order to avoid having to meet her gaze. “Since she was the most important person in my life, and you were my favorite of my creations, it just made sense to mold you into her likeness.”

Yoshi’s tone softened. “That is sweet. But it has put us at somewhat of a dilemma, has it not?” She reached across the table and put her index finger under my chin, raising my face so that I looked her in the eyes. “You see me as you see her. That is why you have not written about us since she left.”

I could feel my face flush in shame. “I didn’t mean for it to be like this.”

“Of course you didn’t,” she responded. “I would assume that neither of you did. The day that you gave your vows before your families and God, I truly believe that both of you really meant them.”

I nodded. I had never really stopped meaning them.

“But you have built in dissimilarities between your characters and the people from whom they are based, just in order to distance them from reality,” she suggested. “Dave’s alter-ego doesn’t fence. George’s counterpart couldn’t really use a bo staff. Jack’s real-world image never had any interest in cowboys.” She chuckled. “The real Shawna was not a valedictorian.”

I nodded. “I’m not a ninja.”

“So, why should I be any different?” She leaned closer to me. “Note that my eyes are brown, rather than the color of her eyes.” She picked up a California Roll and stuffed it into her mouth, chewed and then swallowed. “She would never have eaten anything with crab so obvious in it. Or any seafood, for that matter.” She grabbed my glass. “I do not have to dislike root beer.” She took a drink, then grimaced. “Okay, maybe I’ll keep that similarity.”

By now, I was smiling.

“Most importantly, whoever you write into the story to share my future with me will be for life. I will never leave with my ex-boyfriend. I will never allow my family to be torn apart for the thrill of trying out what could have been.”

I sighed. “But she was my muse.”

Yoshi stood from her chair, walked around the table and crouched in front of me. “Jeffrey, you are a man of God. You are a minister. Did it not occur to you that writing is your ministry? You do not need any human being to be your muse. Look to Christ to fill you with what you need for your writing.”

I nodded. I was scared of the future. But, ultimately, God is in control. I’ve always said that I believe that. Maybe now was the time to start walking as if I really do believe it.

Yoshi stood and placed her right hand upon my shoulder. “Finish the story, Jeffrey Allen Davis.”

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