This is a fictionalised retelling of a dream I had in the wee hours of this morning.  It flows basically the same as the action from the dream, but some of the thinking and interpretation occurred in the couple of hours after I woke up and still had the dream in my head. I also left out of the retelling some action from the dream before and after this main part; if you dream like me, you’ll know that often there’s a bunch of crap that happens, then the good bit, then it kind of trails of with more crap after the good bit.

I’ve created a new category on this blog, entitled Fiction, because I’ve been doing a bit of writing recently and I figured I perhaps should start to put some of it out there.  This is the first entry in this new category.

Anyway, here it is.  Please enjoy.

“Do you want to start something?” he shouted at me.
A minute or so before we had passed each other walking, and had even exchanged an almost cheerful greeting.  In that moment I don’t think I fully understood who he was though.  But I understood now.
“Do I want to start something?  Yes, in fact…  Let’s START something,” I shouted back.
We were in her, now their, front yard, and he was holding the end of a garden hose that, for some reason, ran along the lawn in an almost straight line right to where I was standing.  He waved the end of the hose, like you do when you’re trying to loosen a kink or dislodge it from under a tyre when you’re washing the car, but the wave didn’t reach me.  He threw down the hose and looked around; there was a pile of garden rakes near where I stood, and we both made to arm ourselves.
I reached the pile first.  The rakes were old, their wooden handles worn and weathered. The rake ends were the plastic fan-shape kind and pretty useless for the purpose they were about to be applied to.  An old metal rake head like Mum used to have at the old house, the kind that cartoon characters stand on and smack themselves in the face with the handle, would have been much more intimidating.  As I picked up one of those sad garden implements I thought to myself that this fight, whatever happened, was going to look pretty bloody ridiculous.
He was far enough away from me that by the time I’d picked up one of the rakes he’d only just managed to complete his short sprint to the pile.  He was enraged, his face contorted by a paroxysm of hate and possibly other emotions.  He bent down, grabbed a rake, and started swinging it randomly at me while yelling wordlessly.  A thought came to me, unbidden: why are you so angry at me?
After all, you’re the one playing Happy Families with my ex-wife.
After fending off a few of his swings I actually had to block one that was almost well aimed.  The handle of his rake snapped, and he stumbled forward with the unexpected change in momentum.  He froze, stooped over the pieces of the rake.  “Oh god,” I heard, “oh god,” and as he slowly straightened it looked for a moment like one of the pieces of the broken rake had impaled his left forearm, but he was actually just kind-of cradling it.  He moved gingerly, as if he thought it might change its mind and impale him after all if he moved too suddenly, or maybe he thought he might get a splinter.
Through rage-clenched teeth he said “I’ll get another…  I’ll break one for you so you can have two pieces…”
“You don’t want to do that.”
The voice was mine, but I only knew that because I had felt my mouth moving along with the sound of the words.  The words were spoken so calmly that I doubted it was me who had spoken: I simply didn’t think I was capable of speaking so serenely.
My hand was on his shoulder.  In an instant all of his rage was gone, replaced with something almost like, I don’t know, grief.
“It’s just that she’s…”
To be honest, I didn’t really hear what he said.  Something about how his kids are everything and that she is so good with them and they are so good together and she completes him and whatever.  He was justifying himself to me, for what reason I could only imagine.  Maybe it was guilt — she’d protested when we separated that she wasn’t having an affair, but that doesn’t preclude them having planned to offload me to be together.  Maybe he realised that I was the one man who had been where he was now, and instead of a threat I was suddenly a confidante.  Whatever it was had left him drained and deflated, and after finishing his speech he hung his head, silently weeping.
In that moment I knew how he felt, for she had once had that hold, that power, over me.  He was in her thrall.  There are some women with enough of that power to hold many men that way, but not her — I mean she’s a great girl, but not that great.  So when I saw that he was spellbound by her, I knew what it meant for me.
It meant I was free.
I took a step back, and after a moment he raised his head to look at me.  I held his gaze for a few seconds, then smiled a wry grin that I tried to make look more “I’m glad for you, no hard feelings” than “sucked in, dickhead”.
“Good luck,” I said.  Finally putting down the rake, I turned and walked away.  I had a life to get back to.