I had that dream again, the one with the smoldering charcoal and a sky full of ravens. I think it's about Carl. Standing there alone in the smoke feels exactly like imagining him and Chloe in bed together, but the air is different this time. It doesn't smell of gasoline but of rain, the kind that revives the earth in March after a cold winter.
And I guess it's true. We're a wasteland apart and I never burned the ground behind me as I left, so how could it smell of anything other than wet soil and newborn flowers? It's a treacherous smell that I've always loved, I remember it vividly from those early spring days in the country house. He was there of course, all through the summer until it was time to go back home.
His blank face on that last night scared me for so long, and I still sometimes wonder what hurt him the most. I asked Belle about it years later. "Being born is a death sentence", she said, "the rest is just silence". Every time I wake up from this dream I find myself just a little bit closer to understanding what she meant.