On Top Of the World

Look up, the stars are fading
And I am still here waiting to see you again
Be with you my friend
When the moon is gone forever
I hope you're up there somewhere, I'll see you again
Be with you my friend

Sometimes, I wondered if I'd ever find the right guy. My friends all said that I just had bad luck, but I knew the truth. I just wasn't compatible with anyone but him.

Him. I wished more than anything that I knew who he was and where he'd been hiding for all of my life. Although it was possible that I only felt like I needed the perfect boyfriend because my dad was a not-so-perfect guy, having left my mom and I when I was three.

Cause all the roads they lead to where you are
And all the streetlights shine like they were stars
That's where you are

I never even ever got to the second date. After about five minutes (ten, tops), into a date, I'd find something about them that I just couldn't stand, and their imperfections just seemed to grow from there.

I would sometimes dream about him. Or what I thought he'd be like. But, somehow, I never imagined that I could dream like this.

Let's spend tonight on top of the world
And we can do anything
We can be anything
I'll meet you tonight on top of the world
As real as it seems
You're only in my dreams

I cried myself asleep one night after a particularly horrible date. I don't cry a lot, but I just got this feeling that I'd never find anyone who could stand to be with me. It was completely oppressive, and it washed over me like a wave, reminding me of all of my too-sarcastic, standoffish, longing faults. It was true. As much as I wanted to find my perfect match, I was standoffish. I didn't want to get hurt even more, but somehow, I always managed to bring it on myself.

And honestly, you think you have it bad? You think you can relate with me? You can't. Not even close. My doctor says it must be a psychological issue that I can't manage to force myself to like anyone. That I can't fall in love with anyone. But it's really taxing. You try going out with half the school's population of boys and never once finding one you like. It makes you start to wonder about yourself.

My dream was a vivid one. As soon as my head touched my pillow, I was being carted off on a cloud of vivid blues and cotton candy pinks. The sky was yellow and orange and red and crimson and dusky purple and black and white all at the same time, the colors whirling and twirling around, interweaving and forming new colors, spinning up so far into the sky that I could barely see them, and then come toppling back down.

I was transported to a castle made of solid gold, with silver lining. The heavy looking door swung open as soon as I reached out to it. I stepped through, and nearly laughed. What a strange imagination I had! The ceiling of the palace was black, with silver filigree twirling through it. The carpets were a bright scarlet and gold, and the walls were the same black and silver as the ceilings. I almost felt like, if I stared at the walls too long, the silver strings would begin to move.

There was only one door, at the very end of the hallway, and I made my way towards it, taking my time. The door was complete silver, with black threads- opposite the ceiling and walls. I pushed the door open, and it was a little harder to shove than the front door I'd walked through.

The room was a pitch black, and I felt my eyes struggling to adjust. I turned to leave, but the door slammed shut behind me, and I couldn't find the handle again.

"Hello? Is someone there?" A voice asked, and I froze.

All of a sudden, it no longer felt like a dream, and I felt myself struggling to breathe. Whenever I began to panic, my throat would close up and I'd begin to make this horrible choking sound as I sucked in breaths. I held a hand over my mouth, closing my eyes (not that it made much of a difference; it was so dark in that room that it was probably brighter behind my eyelids), and wondered if you could die from lack of air in a dream.

"Hey, it's okay. Are you alright?" Whoever it was ran into something, and made a dull thud. "Ow. Wall," I heard him mutter, and I laughed a little, because he couldn't see where he was going either.

I felt a hand touch my arm, and I jumped. I'd been leaning against what I thought was the door, and he must have been feeling his way along the wall to find me.

"Who are you?" the voice asked.

"Sierra. Who are you?"

"My name's Kel. I don't remember it, but I must have been doing drugs last night, or something. I've never had such a weird dream."

"Yeah, me neither." For some reason, I was laughing again, and I slid down the wall to sit.

A few minutes later, he slid down the wall also and took my hand. It was comforting. It was such an unnatural dark after the bright lights outside that it just felt good to be holding onto someone.

"I could have been doing drugs. I was screwed up enough," he said, and he sounded like he was talking to himself. I answered just the same.

"Yeah, me too."

"What happened to you?"

"You first," I insisted. Dream it may have been, but I wasn't going to spill my guts if his biggest problem was that he'd dropped his ice-cream cone, or whatever. Screw that. I'd lie if it was some stupid dream-answer like that.

"I can't seem to find a girlfriend."

I swear to God that I stopped breathing. (Again.)

"Oh?" I squeaked.

"Yeah. It's like I can't deal with anyone. Like, I don't know."

"Like you can't fall in love?" I asked. "Like you can't force yourself to?"

"Yeah, exactly. It's depressing. Sort of like no one wants you."

"Like no one gets you," I added.

"I'm going to take a wild guess and say that that was your problem, too?"

I nodded, then remembered that he couldn't see me.

"Yeah," I amended. "My latest conquest was a horrible kisser."

"Oh?" I could already tell that Kel was grinning. I could hear it in his voice.

"Yeah." I sighed and let my head fall back against the door with a thud, still trying to see through the insane darkness.

I wouldn't have been able to tell that he was so close if I hadn't felt his hair brush against my face. I caught my breath, trying to pull back on instinct, but I was already up against the wall, and I couldn't yank back any farther. His lips brushed against mine, and he pulled back. I could already feel the blood burning in my lips as he pressed his mouth to mine again.

It took a minute, but then my heart did this weird flipping thing and started pounding in my chest. Which had never happened to me before. I gasped in a breath and kissed him back, pushing him to his back on the very dark floor. He flipped us over and I scrabbled for a purchase, to grab him with.

Look out across the water
Faces of lonely daughters and mothers who care
But just can't be there
Swear that I will see you someday
I have to find a way to show you I care
Even if you're not there

What seemed like days later, yet at the same time, like only seconds, we both lay on our backs, breathing hard.

"I wonder what will happen when we wake up?" he speculated, stroking my hair.

"I don't know. I wonder what this is trying to tell us?"

He stopped stroking and I heard him moving, but I couldn't tell what he was doing.

"What do you mean?" he asked when he had stilled again.

"Like, how you're supposed to get something out of dreams? Like, if you dream in blue, it means truth? I think."

I could hear him laughing quietly. "So what does black mean?"

"That's what I was thinking. Maybe it means that we shouldn't be so picky as to who we date. As in, you know, close your eyes? Don't be so judgmental?"

Kel shifted around again and made a noise that sounded noncommittal.

"What? You don't think so?"

"I don't know. Might be." He stirred again, and it sounded like he was rolling over.

"What are you doing?" I finally gave in and asked.

"I think I'm waking up. For school. I keep hearing this ringing noise, like my alarm clock.

As soon as he said that, a door on the opposite wall from where we were laying flung itself open. A too-bright light poured in, and I squeezed my eyes shut, blinded by the sudden illumination.

"Wait!" I shouted. "I don't even know if you're real!"

But he wasn't there.

My mother was, however.

"Sierra?" she asked, shaking me awake. "Wake up, sweetheart. Are you alright?"

I blinked awake reluctantly. "Yeah." I sighed. "I'm fine."

So I'm following the road to where you are
(Meet you tonight on top of)
The streetlights they will guide me to the stars
That's where you are

That night, I stared up at the streetlights as I was walking home from the store for so long that they blurred and twisted and changed shape until they looked like stars. I fell asleep begging to see Kel again.

But it wasn't for a week until I was back in the dream again.

This time, I was urging the cloud that was carrying me to rise faster, and I raced down the hallway, throwing the door open at the same time that he did.

Let's spend tonight on top of the world
And we can do anything
We can be anything
I'll meet you tonight on top of the world
As real as it seems
You're only in my dreams

"What color is you hair?" Kel asked, wrapping it around his finger.

"Technically, it's strawberry blonde, but it just looks red with blonde highlights."

"Ah. Carrot red?" I was getting good at hearing the grin in his voice.

"No. Sort of an auburn color. Sorry. Do you like carrot-hair?"

"Oh yeah. It's a total turn on. But I think I can probably deal with strawberry blonde." He had wrapped my hair around his wrist and was reeling me in. I could feel his breath on my cheek. "It's going to be difficult to do, though," he whispered, so close to me that our mouths bumped together.

"Well, it's nice to know you can manage," I breathed, and closed the tiny distance between us.

"What color's your hair?" I asked when we pulled apart.

"I don't have any. Primary stages of young age baldness."

I snorted. "I may be blind, but I can still feel, genius," I said, giving his locks a gentle tug.

He laughed, too, and removed my hand from his hair, twining our fingers together.

"I think what most of the girls call it honey brown. I'd just describe it as curly and brown, but, hey."

I lowered myself onto his chest and set my head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat.

"What do you think our bodies are doing while we're having these dreams?" I wondered.

"I don't know. Where-"

"Ow!" I cried. "Did you just pinch me?"

"No, why-"

My eyes flew open, and my mother's grinning face was in front of me. I gave a jolt, my eyes opening wide.

"Mom? What, what time is it?"

"Only eight. Don't worry. It's Saturday, you don't have school."

"Then why are you waking me up?" I moaned.

"Well, I heard that you broke up with another of those boys. I was just thinking maybe you'd like to talk?"

Not to you. I loved her, sure, but sometimes- God, sometimes? Try always- my mother could be annoying.

"Not really." It was hitting me that she'd just woken me up from a dream with Kel, and I was getting grumpy.

"Well, don't you think you should give one of these young men a chance?"

"Not particularly," I said shortly, trying to keep in my fangs.

She gave me a knowing look and got up, patting me on the leg. "Okay. I'm here if you need me."

She walked out of the room, and my little sister snuck into my room.

"Get out, Clara!" I yelled, and she stuck her tongue out at me, hurrying out.

I groaned and flung myself over, onto my stomach, slamming my pillow down on my head.

My heart is empty without you
Sometimes you don't know what to do
And I need you tonight
I'll fall asleep and it's alright
Close my eyes and I'll be by your side

The next month was torture. All I wanted was to find Kel again, but I wasn't dreaming. At all. I was barely sleeping at night.

And another month went by, bringing with it collage applications and tests.

And two more, until I got my acceptance letters back, and graduation was in the very near future, with none of us believing that it could almost be over.

Graduation night was when I finally slipped into the dream again. I just closed my eyes and I was there, laying at his side.

Let's spend tonight on top of the world
And we can do anything
We can be anything
I'll meet you tonight on top of the world
As real as it seems
You're only in my dreams

"You know," he said. "I think I figured it out. We'll only find each other if we stop trying so hard. After the first night, I didn't want to let you go. It was only when I was pretty much knocked out after basketball practice, and I couldn't think about anything,"

"And I just practically passed out because of graduation," I added.

I felt him sigh.

"This is annoying," he muttered.

"I wonder if normal people have dreams where they find their soulmates," I chuckled. "Bet not."

He kissed the top of my head. "Yeah," he said. "Bet not."

The next morning, when I woke up, I carefully sat up, pushing my covers off. For some reason, I knew that the next time I saw Kel, it wouldn't be in a dream. I wouldn't have that dream again. He had known too. Our goodbye was nostalgic, like we were in the last day of summer camp, and we knew that we were leaving.

I looked in the mirror, and saw…myself.

Sure, I was still longing for him, but now that I knew that Kel was out there somewhere, I wouldn't have to keep searching. I had a lot to go on anyway. Anybody who's name was Kel, had curly honey brown hair, and made my heart flutter. That would be him.

Maybe it would be days. Maybe it would be years. As long as I got to keep him for the rest of my life, I knew that I wouldn't mind waiting.

My reflection grinned at me in the mirror, and I grinned back.

Let's spend tonight on top of the world
(On top of the world)
As real as it seems
You're only in my dreams

A year later, I was sprinting down the hallway, passing by blurry visions of people. I hauled my messenger bag up higher on my shoulder, cursing the confusing map of the campus. But I couldn't be late to my first class in college! Jesus, my luck was horrible! Suddenly, I slid to a stop, my head whipping around. The guy I'd just passed had done the same, and was now staring at me as hard as I was staring at him. His honey brown hair was shaggy, and he was wearing a shirt with a basketball team sprayed across his chest.

"Hi," I said. "Do I know you?"

He grinned, and my heart fluttered, allowing hope to flood my senses. Only one other guy had made my stomach flip and my heart flutter.

"Where are you going?" he asked, coming to stand beside me and take my bag from me. "I'll walk you to your class."