It's dim now.
Something about a girl, I think. Yes. It must have been. Something more? But I remember the other man's eyes. They too, like the lanterns in the windows, were expectant. Why was he there? The glow moseyed over the rough floorboards, skipping over the cracks and shadows. The light vaguely slid through the porch railings and settled on
Betty heard him moan first. She stood up, pressed the front of her starch white dress smooth, and sighed. She knew what came next: moans followed by convulsions, screams, and then? She knew because it had happened before. Unnerved -- it had been her second day after all-- she had flown to the telephone across the long room's bare-patterned floors. That night, she had struggled to keep her composure over the sound of his anguish.
"He remembers at last," she had realized.
This time, Betty didn't run or even walk to the telephone. She threaded carefully among the beds, imagining the rack on wheels and the vials and tubes and needles that hung from it. She knew what they could do.
She was at his bedside now. Slipping off her ring, she took his hand gently. The man calmed.
"Be still," Betty whispered, "it's just a dream. And it has a happy ending."
It wasn't until after he fell asleep that she slid down wearily into her seat and remembered to cry.
"It's just a dream," she said to herself, "and it has a happy ending."