He dreamed of them often – of his mother and father, and the little girl – and that was the only time he could remember the before time. He imagined the little girl must be bigger now because he had grown bigger but in his dreams, she was always small.
She had lots of dark brown hair and dark brown eyes that looked like his, and his mother and father stood tall above them where he couldn’t see their faces. In his dreams, they all lived together in a place that was warm and there was always food and the food tasted good.
Sometimes, in the very deepest dark of the night, his mother and father’s faces would come back to him, hanging like smiling ghosts in the empty air, but he could never catch hold of them.
He longed for sleep to take him back to them, but he hated it, too, because they always faded.
In the morning, when the sun crept up over the tops of the trees and they were gone, he felt cold and sad and alone all over again. He wondered where they were and what they were doing and whether they thought of him, but he couldn’t bring their faces back.
After these dreams, he would talk to Monkey when he could get Monkey to sit still for long enough, but Monkey was no help. He was only squat and hairy and he would swing his long tail and then he would be gone again.
It was only when he slept that he could see them and they would bring him peace. Most of the dreams made him feel safe and loved, but there were other dreams, too. In the other dreams, it was dark and loud and there were people everywhere, running and screaming, their eyes big and wild and afraid. He was running too, trying catch up with them, but his legs wouldn’t move fast enough.
He was grasping for his mother’s fingers but his hands were too slippery and he couldn’t hold on. He could see her face, twisted with fear, and he wanted to cling to her, but someone else was pulling her away, telling her it was too late. The little girl was ahead of her, clinging to their father.
In these dreams, his mind was always clear. In the middle of all the screaming, he could see all of their faces, all weeping as they watched him stumble and fall. In these dreams, he could always feel the sharp, raw pain shooting through his palms when he hit the hard ground and put his hands out to break his fall. In these dreams, he was small and weak and abandoned.
In these dreams, he was alone.