The man’s son is 11 and dreams about a puppy.
He tells the man about his dream one morning. The man is drinking coffee before work, paging through a magazine. He pauses on the perfume ads and traces beautiful people with his eyes. His hair sticks up and his stubbled beard is gray.
His son says, “Every night I dream we are looking at puppies. One of them loves me so much and wants to go home with me. Then I ask you and mom if we can keep it, and you say yes and then I’m so happy. But then I wake up and I realize it was just a dream and I say ‘Oh’, and I just have to get up like every other day.”
The man nods his head and turns the pages of his magazine. Beautiful people have found blue water and sunshine; they put their hands on each other with their eyes closed and they have never known loneliness.
He looks, then, at his son. The boy is smiling, still tuned to the joy of the vision even though there is no puppy and he’s perched here with the man on the cold gray granite surface of this day. How much should he tell his son about what is to come? When is the time to start breaking his son’s heart, just a little, for his own good?
He turns a page. Beautiful people kick water into diamond droplets with the sunshine in their eyes.
“I’ll tell you, son,” the man says and his son’s eyes grow wider and hope flares in them like a beach fire, “that is a good dream.”