Inhale, Exhale - By Sarah M. Ross


When I was about six, my dad had begun to call me his little Monkee. People always assumed I was a tomboy who climbed trees, but that wasn’t it at all. No, Daddy called me that because I was always daydreaming. His little “Daydream Believer,” just like the song. I was always in my head more than I was in the world. And today was no exception. But today, I wasn’t daydreaming; I was trying to relive a dream from last night.

With the top of the VW Bug convertible down, the wind rushed through my ears, drowning out the chatter around me as my eyes slid shut. I turned up toward the sun, enjoying the heat on my face as my long, brown hair whipped around me and tangled. It would be impossible to tame it later, but it felt so good to let go of everything, and I didn’t want the feeling to end.

“Hey! Are you even listening?” Ava chastised, playfully shoving my shoulder to get my attention. I hadn’t really been paying attention to the conversation of my best friends beside me, but they were used to it by now. “Hello? Earth to Jillian!”

I shook my head, bringing myself out of my thoughts and back into the present. Grabbing a hair tie from around the stick shift, I threw my hair into a messy bun until I could brush it out later. I wanted to leave it free to give the sun a chance to lighten it a few shades like it did every summer, but I’d save that for another day.

“I’m sorry, Ava.”

“Daydreaming again?”

“Sort of. I was thinking about this dream I had last night.” I paused for a moment, mustering the courage to ask the question that had been weighing on my mind since I woke up five hours earlier. It sounded so stupid in my head; I knew it would sound even worse out loud. But these were my best friends, and I needed to talk this out before I went crazy.

“Have you ever woken up from a dream and thought it really happened?”

“Yeah, every time I dream about me and Chris Hemsworth.” Trish sighed, thinking of her favorite fictional boyfriend.

“No, I mean, like the dream was trying to tell you something. Send a message.” I groaned. This was sounding even stupider than I thought, and nothing was coming out right. “What I’m trying to ask is, do you believe dreams can be prophetic?”

Ava turned down the sounds of Bruno Mars blasting through the speakers. “Huh? Like what, you’re some kind of fortune teller now? What exactly was that dream about? Am I going to win the lottery?”

“I don’t remember a lot of the specifics, but I can’t shake this feeling I was with someone else.”

From the backseat, Trish pulled her feet up and sat on them, then leaned forward, resting her elbows on my headrest. “You mean someone other than Christian?”

Ava gasped, and the car swerved a little onto the shoulder before she righted it. She always was the most dramatic one of our trio. Even her looks were striking, with her pitch-black hair cut in a blunt bob that angled down, highlighting her high cheekbones and her signature cherry red, pouty lips. “That’s insane! You and Christian have been together since we were sophomores in high school. He loves you like crazy. And with your four-year anniversary coming up at the end of the summer, I’m pretty sure he’s going to pop the question.”

I frowned. Huh, that should not be my first reaction to the thought of my boyfriend proposing. I shook off the errant thought. Of course I was excited. It was just this stupid dream that made me frown.

“I know, I know. And I love him, too. It was a stupid dream. Never mind. Forget I brought it up.”

“Oh no,” Trish clucked. “You’re not getting out of it that easily. This sounds like a juicy dream, so spill it, missy!”

“It was nothing. Really.” I turned to look back out the window but knew neither Trish nor Ava would let it rest at that. I wasn’t a good enough liar to pull it off, and they knew me too well. I sighed. Might as well get this over with. “It was…intense. We were holding hands walking down the beach over by the lighthouse, and then he stopped and turned me, staring in my eyes. But the thing was, it wasn’t Christian. It was someone else. And we were connected in a way