“I was floating beneath the surface,” she said, staring at the space beside me as if I was sitting next to her memory.

“Were you conscious?”

“I remember being awake, eyes open, floating like a seaweed in the pool.”

“That’s some dream.”

Carrie was quite the dreamer growing up. She would tell me stories at school, in between classes, filling the gap between History and Biology with a scene from her unconscious hours. And they were unusual dreams. Once she talked about being at the corner of a dining hall, standing with just one shoe on, just standing there as if waiting for some cue. What cue, she didn’t know. There was no one else in the room and a wall was gone, leaving her a view of the open sea.

In these dreams I noticed that she was always still. She never talked about being chased or about flying. She was either standing or lying down. Or floating. I told her once her dreams carry a different mood from the music that she listens to. She replied she doesn’t have headphones on when she sleeps. I believe her when she smiles.

She loves happy music. She listens to British bands with bright, upbeat melodies and names I never remember. I’ve always felt their videos show a carefree charm that only partly obscures the loneliness behind the music, like the practiced laugh of a woman asked about her absent lover.

“How was your interview?” I asked.

She turned to me but held a gaze that seemed focused past my eyes. It took her another second before answering that it went okay.

“I’m sure you’ll get it.”


“Was it a guy?”


“The one who interviewed you.”

“He was.”

“You’ll get it. Don’t worry.”

Carrie placed her fingers on the sandwich as if deciding to finish it. She looked out the window but there was nothing more interesting than her dream. The empty street was holding on to the moisture of a morning rain, and the light was just yellow as it’s always been. I imagined she was out there, floating, weightless in a pool of wind. I thought it was beautiful. But I liked her better where she was.

“There was light,” she said.


“In the pool. It was bright everywhere. I think the pool was in the desert.”

“You’ve never seen the desert.”

“Haven’t I?”

“No,” I said, smiling.

There was uncertainty in her face. Sometimes it seems she’s trapped in a limbo of half-awakedness, dancing between the present and some reality I couldn’t see. I’ve never seen her walk in sleep. But sometimes when it’s not yet dark and we pass along the small avenue of parked cars to her apartment, I look at her and wonder if she’s also walking with me in her dream.

This vignette was inspired by Magpie Tales post #182. I had the scene in my mind when I saw the featured photo by Elena Kalis, but I wasn’t able to fully picture it until recently so this piece didn’t make it into the entries.

Underwater Photography by Elena Kalis
Underwater Photography by Elena Kalis

Magpie Tales is a weekly writing blog hosted by poet Tess Kincaid.


7 thoughts on “Floating

  1. Thanks Claire! Glad to see you back to writing as well. We thought we lost you too. I haven’t written a post for months though, as I’m mostly just writing for the love of my life now. I’ll try to write something for public consumption soon 🙂

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