“Hi, Dad! I can…. I can barely hear you!
“No, everything is fine. I’m better. Mostly. Yes, I’m taking my vitamins.
“Really? Wow. I… Say that again, Dad. The static is really bad.
“Bigger than the one at Giza? No way. I’m telling you, it was aliens. Just you wait. You’ll see.
“What? No. No, we don’t— No, we don’t go that far in any more. Well, just once.
“Oh, Dad, you need to come back so you can see what Jack painted. Well, you’ll see when you get back. It’s my Christmas present to you. When the gallery gives it back, that is.
“Yes! He did. It’s that good. I’ll tell him. Okay. Okay. Before Spring?
“We haven’t opened them yet. The sun isn’t even up! No, you didn’t wake me. I was up already. No, no it’s not bad. No, I don’t want to use those pills. Yes, yes, they signed the papers. We had to have them when they took me to the hospital.
“I told you about that in my letter! No, but it sort of… sparked a little. No, it was fine. No. I’m not crying. It must be more static on the line. I can’t— not on the phone. I’ll write.
“I miss you too. Merry Christmas. I will. I will! Merry Christmas.”
Beth hung up the phone, blinking the last of the tears away.
She limped into the dining room-turned-office, looking at the stack of boxes along one corner. One whole stack, four high. “Dream Journals” written in big, square letters.
She opened the top box, pulled out a thick notebook. She brought it over to the desk, sat in the big leather chair, and flipped to the last written page.
She rooted through the middle desk drawer until she came up with a pen, scribbled on a corner of the page until the ink started to flow again. She bent over the notebook, writing, pausing every now and then to sniff, and wipe at her eyes or nose.