As they do, the dream crystallized from random thoughts to a clear, sharp, noisy nightmare. What had been a cozy park replete with roses in bloom and park benches scattered hither and yon for happy couples to share private moments, changed. Changed into a cratered clearing surrounded by the rubble of collapsing buildings. From the omniscient clarity of the dream, he knew he had lost more than just a place to walk of an afternoon. Somewhere lost in that rubble was the body, or more likely ashes, of his beloved.
As nightmares do, the point of view shifted to find blame for his actions. And more blame for his inactions.
He moaned in his sleep, and almost cried out.
But there is no one there to hear him. For the one part of the recurring nightmare that is always true is that his beloved died in that park.
He had no choice. The dream forced him to see the events as they unfold yet again, in excruciating detail, in slow motion.
Since that fateful day, he has sought solace in other places. And yet, the nightmare followed.
He changed his name, fled town, assumed a new identity. It is always easier to be someone new in a new place. Yet the nightmare followed.
One day he realized that the only way forward was through, and sought solace by joining the battle to end the war. He donned the uniform. He brought his complaint to the doorsteps of those that had destroyed his present that day in the park. Those he had thought had destroyed his future as well as his beloved.
And the nightmare ended.