In my dream, he has a red coat. A red coat, and a striped scarf, and tiny black mittens and tall green boots.
I lift him out of his car seat, and he cheers and wraps his arms around my neck. He is big enough to walk, but I love the smell of him, love the way he rests his cheek ever so briefly on my shoulder, love how his hand wanders into my hair, despite the mittens. And so I carry him. Because I can.
It is cold here. Our breath leaves us as wispy white ghosts, making us giggle. We whisper together excitedly as we walk up to the apartment, and knock, and wait to be let in. My brother whips open the door and we are welcomed with that enveloping enthusiasm that never ceases to startle and amaze and comfort me. My brother is all enthusiasm, all quick movement and noise and taking up space and I absolutely adore him for it. Noah hides his face, feigning shyness--but we all know better. Soon enough he is laughing and playing and running around with R, and they are ridiculously cute together, and it is good, it is so, so good, and we are happy.
We are so ridiculously happy.
Sometimes I wonder if this is happening, right now, in some alternate universe. I hope it is happening. I hope it happens again and again and again. I hope there is a place where my baby is alive. Live, baby! Live, my darling. Live and be happy. Play with your cousin and grow and live and be happy.
And you too, other me. I hope you can live, and be happy. Just like in my dreams.