He knows where I am at all times. That thought has been circling in my head over and over again like a broken record. That wasn’t the scary part, it’s that he would go as far as bringing these dreams all the way to my parent’s place. My life is dangling off the end of a fishing pole. Flapping in the air about to be plopped into a glass bubble bowl for his amusement.
Abby’s idea is starting to sound better and better. Maybe I should call the police. I shake that ridiculous idea out from my head.
I could see it now, the officers looking me like I just walked out of the madhouse. They ask me questions like ’Madame, have you identified the person who is sending you these dreams?’, ’Is it possible that it is from a mailman?’, ‘Has he hurt you or threaten in any way?’, Or the one I knew that they would say ’I am sorry we cannot help you unless there is a threat to your life. Call us or come back when he has done that and we will process a restraining order on him for you.’
No authority is going to believe this is actually happening to me. I am having trouble believing myself half the time.
Abby sits on my couch wearing a dark green dress with a black belt around her waist. Her legs crossed like she was waiting for an interview. Our original plan was to go out for lunch but we decided to stay in for once.
“I can’t believe you left me for the whole long weekend. While I was babysitting my younger half-sister, you were enjoying cooked food and awesome memories that your parents bring up in conversations,” She says taking a selfie with her phone.
She hit it right on the nail. “Yeah pretty much,” I say popping into some of her photographs.
“I thought pushing a stroller to the park would attract hot guys and scare off all the unattractive ones but for some reason, it did the opposite. It was like, I was now looked at as frugal,”
“You mean fertile. Frugal means cheap,” I laugh.
“Yeah, so here I am looking really good. I had guys look at me, however, the guys who had the guts to talk to me asked me about my child,” Abby sighs. “I had to set them straight, these hips did not bear any child. Do I look like I want kids? Clearly, they can make children since they bring them to a park. Long story short, strollers attract guys who want kids.”
“No kidding,” I say. I know Abby well enough to know that this is a light drama compared to her past stories.
She went on about how the moms acted like a bunch of high school popular girls. The preppy kind. They were giving her dirty looks and whispering behind their hands as if she couldn’t see it. She wasn’t cluing in that she pretty much walked on tough territory being a pretty young girl at the park with a bunch of dad’s surrounding her. She just thought the husbands were only there to offer her nanny jobs that she has no desire for.
Nannies get paid a lot. Which is true, I saw it on TV. If Abby were to get crazy and actually have a child. I don’t think she would even hire a nanny. Abby is the sit back and suntan type. She would send that child to boarding school as soon as the baby was born.
“It would be a waste of time and my money since I would need to pay for a nanny to take care of their child,” she says. See she is the sit back and suntan type. “The only reason why I took my half-sister out was because I thought I would get some guys and I did but not the ones I wanted,” Abby continues.
“Well did she at least enjoy it?” I ask.
Abby stares at her nails. “Who?”
“Katie, did she have fun at the park or did you forget to bring her with you?” I say as a joke, yet, there was a small part of me that wouldn’t be all the surprised if she did.
“Oh, I don’t know. She was in the stroller the whole entire time while I did my nails,” Abby says showing me her tinfoil coloured fingernails.
As much as I wanted to launch the confetti canon to congratulate Abby for taking her half-sister Katie to the park, I couldn’t. Regardless of this huge step and the fact that this was not for the right reasons because I am sure she charged her dad for it. But come on, leaving the poor girl in the stroller with the park in clear eyesight is cruel.
“You are a terrible person,” I say.
“Whoa, harsh much? She can barely walk. I would have to do all the work to bring her up and down the slide and push her on the swings. I wanted to do my nails and have guys drool over me. Plus, it’s not like she is my real sister, so I only have to do half of the work of a normal sister,” Abby laughs even though she was dead serious about what she said.
She knew by the look on my face that, I wasn’t taking it as a joke the way she was. “Chill, she fell asleep on the way there which made things way easy for me,” Abby continues.
“How is your dad and Katie’s mom doing?” I ask.
We never use her stepmom’s name because Abby got tired of having to remember her dad’s girlfriend’s names in the past, however, they have been married for four years. You would think I would be allowed to use her name by now. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I even know her name.
“They are living the life of luxury. That woman is still annoying telling me her petty problems that I could care less about. I don’t get why guys date younger women never mind marry the girl. My dad still wants me to call her stepmom but I swear we took the same classes in high school. Can you believe she is only six years older than I am? Midlife crisis my butt, he has seriously fallen off a cliff if he thinks I am going to call her stepmom. She should be happy I don’t call her gold digger anymore,” She rolls her eyes.
“To be fair, her contact name on your phone is gold digger along with the song and a pair of evil eyes,” I remind her.
“Like I said I don’t call her gold digger anymore, at least not to her face. Enough about my horrible weekend, please tell me about your amazing normal family,” Abby says fixing herself on the couch.
Knowing Abby, I had less than a minute to impress her with my life before she would change the topic back to herself. I could tell her about the dream I received but right now, all I wanted to hear was something other than the dream web I am in.
I laid my head on Abby’s lap. “It was so relaxing. I needed the break.”
“I forgot to tell you while you were out relaxing I also spent my time with my husband… okay he was grading papers and I was redoing my essay but we connected while passing each other on the street on Saturday.”
“So, you stalked him,” I shake my head, “I am sure he was excited to see you.”
“Of course, he was, until I saw his mistress,” Those words probably tasted bad in her mouth.
I look at Abby. “I guess he is in a relationship after all.”
She rolls her eyes. “I guess it was bound to happen… unless that is what he wants everyone to think.”
I am honestly shocked she didn’t tell me this story first, knowing how much she is in love with our teacher this would have been front-page news in her world.
“I am sure that is the reason,” I say.
“Alright enough about me, I am drained by all my drama,” Abby says finishing her can of soda.
“Do you remember our graduation?” I asked.
“Who doesn’t, I partied until my feet hurt then partied some more,” Abby gets up to and goes into the kitchen.
She goes on about all the events that occurred at the party. She made it clear that she doesn’t remember all the boys’ names that she liked back then but she did meet a great guy who looked similar to our professor.
“Then you and Matt left the party early,” she continues.
I sit up on the couch. “Wait, Matt and I left the party early?”
“Yeah, like you always do. Didn’t you two have a romantic night on a hill or something?” she says.
“That really happened?” I ask.
“You leaving the party early… yeah, that always happens,” She says going through my cabinets looking for a snack. “I don’t know why you don’t like to party or that I have a non-party best friend but somehow this works for us. Where are the snacks in this place?”
“No, that is what I dreamed about,” I say. “Check the fridge for something.”
Abby looks through my fridge, “You don’t need to dream about it. It actually happened.” she takes a bite of an apple.
I look at the envelope on the counter as I usually do. I take the letter and head into my bedroom. I know that I shouldn’t read it. I also need to find out who this person is. I need to know why. If I don’t dream, I won’t know.
I close my eyes.
Standing in my apartment, I expected to see someone in here instead of the hush quietness that was in the air. The lights from the lamps lighting up the room and the night wallpapered on the large window of the living room. There wasn’t time for me to waste. I had to look around before the opportunity disappears before my eyes again.
I scan around to see if anything was different or if anything at all was out of place. My hand ruffling through papers on the kitchen island and opening the doors of all the cabinets. My arms lifted up the couch cushions and pushed around throw pillows. Knees sting against the hardwood floor looking under the couch. There had to be something hidden around here somewhere. Something at all.
The knock on my apartment door caused my heart jumped right out of my chest. I crack the door open enough to find David standing there. “I need to tell you something. I know what you are going to say and that you can’t do this right now. I can assure you that I am not here for that.”
“You just can’t show up here David,” I say.
“You’re scared, I understand. By telling you that I love you, I put a lot of pressure on you. I am sorry about that.” There was a worry in his voice. “I really need to talk to you, can I come in?”
I open the door wider to let him in. David stands by the door inside waiting for me to close the door behind him. “I know that you don’t want to hear another word that is coming out of my mouth right now but this is important.”
“Whatever it is…” I begin to say.
“Matt is in the hospital,” His words seem to have slowed down. This time instead of feeling like I am the only girl in the room, I feel like I am in a movie. When the bullets leave the gun and make its way towards the designated body in slow motion. “He didn’t want to worry you and I am sure he is going to be mad at me for even being here but I think you should be there. I know he needs you there.”
Forming a word, at the moment, remains delayed by the shock of it all. Taken back from the feeling of a sudden rush of urgency within me ready to go and speed to where Matt was.
“Is he alright?” I panic.
“His mom is in the hospital that is why he is there,” David adds.
Passing street lights and the fast life of the city we sit in the car with only the radio communicating between us. Which is fine because my mind is focused on thinking about Matt and his mom. I could feel David’s eyes look over at me every so often as he drove. He was looking for any sign that I was ready to discuss things or if I was going to tell Matt about this. Yet my eyes and mind focused on what really mattered at the moment.
The red-lit up sign of the emergency words hung above the door. Sirens ring. Flashing lights through the windows and the walls. I rush inside through the glass sliding doors of the hospital searching for any sign of Matt. After a few directions from the nurse at the information desk, following the blue arrows on the ground and having David following close behind me, I finally saw him.
Matt stood near the waiting room chairs with his head down holding his world size of emotions on his shoulders. I had never seen him like this before. Concern and worry are submerged on his face. I knew that nothing right now would wipe that away.
“You told her,” he says to David. “She shouldn’t be worrying about all of this.”
I rush over to him wrapping my arms around his neck. His tensed body softens a little with my hug. I redirect his attention to me. Resting my hands against his face. “What happened?”
Matt’s chest fills with air then release against mine. “She was fine when we were eating dinner. It wasn’t until she got up to bring the dishes to the kitchen that she complained about her chest hurting. Next thing she was on the floor.”
“You haven’t gotten a hold of your dad?” David asks.
“Not yet. I call some of his friends. They assured me that they would get to him over the radio.” Matt replies.
The frosted clear door slides open and a doctor arrives in his green surgery scrub. He slowly takes off his mask. Each second between him taking the elastic off his ears made my stomach turn to knots. Other families looked over at the same time with tears of worry, hoping that this doctor was for them. He looks over to Matt. “Morrison family?”
Matt rushes over to him. “How is she?”
The doctor’s face doesn’t change. It remains neutral to not expose what was hidden behind his cards. “I’m sorry.” Those are not the words that we wanted to hear, that anyone wants to hear. It has never had a good history with the following words that come after it. “We did all that we could. She didn’t make it.” He says trying to tell him in the best way that he could.
He explains all the things that they did to try to save her and how strong she was during the time but Matt doesn’t hear that. All he hears is that it was the last time he will ever see his mom again. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t say anything. All we can do is watch Matt as he crumbles right there in front of our eyes.
Matt’s dad runs towards us, completely out of breath carrying beads of sweat on his forehead. Two officers behind him as if they had to escort him. He looks at Matt who doesn’t look up at him at all, then the doctor and then us. The silence said everything for us. We didn’t have the gut to say it for our hearts were still coming to terms.
“No, no! Let me see her,” Matt’s dad shouts.
“Sir,” the doctor says.
“Who is in charge here?” Matt’s dad shouts. He stood dangerously close to the doctor’s comfort zone. Face to face as if fists were going to go up at any moment. The officers pull him a few feet back for everyone’s safety.
“Let me see her,” He shouts sharply aiming his index finger toward the doctor.
The nurses at their desk arrow their eyes in our direction and soon everyone else’s eyes navigate over at us. Ears wide open to hear all the commotion. All trying to see what the commotion is all about. Before we knew it we had a huge spotlight on us.
“Sir, I am sorry,” the doctor says following him. “Sir, please calm down.”
Matt’s dad tries to press the enter button to open the doors. “I am a police officer. Let me see my wife!”
The smell of steaming soup filled the air. Pictures of Matt in all steps of his life are arranged on the walls and shelves of Matt’s home. A large photo of Matt’s mom sat on an easel near the living room.
A sea of different styles of black outfits, setting in the formal wear category were all around the room. It was appropriate for this occasion. There are people sitting, eating, talking amongst themselves and trying to dab the tears away with a tissue. Some are rubbing Matt’s dad on the back. They are giving him comforting words that he most likely wasn’t listening to but thank them over and over for their encouraging words.
“I am sorry for your lost,” each person in the line of people continued to say.
Matt leans in close to my ear and in a low voice he says, “Grab your things.”
I look at him surprised, “Wait, what about your dad?”
“Majority of his friends are here and my mom’s,” He replies.
An older lady stands in front of us. She was the next person in line waiting to give her condolences and has been patiently waiting to say the words she was practicing and preparing to say during our conversation.
“Can you excuse us for a moment?” I ask.
“Of course, dear,” she says sweetly.
I could hear her talking to the lady next to her as I move us to the other side of the room where there were fewer people. “See Joanne, some kids in this generation do have some manners. It is not solely rap music and bottom shaking that they call dancing we’ve been hearing about. Matt found himself a real girl. I wish my son would.”
“I understand that most of the people here are for your dad and to grieve about your mom but they are also here for you. You’re his support too,” I say.
“Who are you here for?” he asks.
I knew he was grieving but I was only trying to help him. He shouldn’t carry any regrets from this day. “Matt, you already know that answer.”
“Then show me. Grab your things. I will meet you in the car.” Matt navigates through the people. I never have seen him like this before. Everyone looks at the door closing behind after him, then, the girl that was left behind to stare at, me.
David comes up and stands beside me. “Where is he going?”
“Can you do me a favour?” I say grabbing my small purse and resting my jacket in my hands. “Be there for Matt’s dad and tell him that I am sorry. I have to go.”
“Yeah, of course,” David gives me a hand with my jacket before I leave. The scent of his cologne steaming strong off his neck. “Take care of him.”
A chill breeze crept through the slightly open windows of his two-door car window. Branches swaying the rhythm of the breeze and brown shrivelled leaves roll around the grounds. We sat there in silence. Tiny chime sounds came from the keys dangling in Matt’s fingers hovering near the ignition slot.
“I can’t breathe in there. Everyone is all over me telling me that everything is going to be okay. Everything is not going to be okay,” He says.
“They are just trying to be there for you in the best way that they can,” I reply.
“Their words can’t bring my mom back,” He shouts.
I take a moment to breathe quietly. Reminding myself in the inhale that he has recently lost his mom and re-remembering in the exhale that he is not himself right now. Most importantly to not take it so personally. “Have you talked to your dad?”
Matt looks at me and although his body is present, I couldn’t recognize the person sitting next to me. His eyes were filled with a deep shade of rage, a core of sadness and a dash of lostness. “For what?”
“He is the only one that knows what you are going through the most,” I say.
Matt shakes his head, “He should have been at the hospital sooner.”
There was the trigger. This is what was really bothering him. “I am sure that he got there as soon as he found out.”
“You don’t understand. You are just as blind as everyone else,” He mutters. Matt plays with the keys in his hand. “He works all the time. He couldn’t make an effort to be there at dinner that night. It was his day off but he decided to pick up an extra shift. He knew that would bother my mom and he did it anyway. Now she is gone.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
“Yeah, he has that effect on people. Making it seem like he is the hardest working man in the world. That he is making money to provide for his family. She could have been alive if he was there and don’t defend him. If he was there, he could have saved her. He could have driven that stupid police car to the hospital to save her. He could have…”
I watch as his face falls into his hands, holding in whatever tears that were going to escape. This is what he didn’t want everyone to see. This is the real reason why we are sitting in his car.
“I am here,” I reassure him resting my head on his shoulder. “I am here.”
The alarm goes off. The sun shined brightly in my eyes as I lifted my head off my pillow. This dream laid heavy on my heart. I have never seen Matt this way before. Even though every dream feels real, I know that it is a dream, however, this one lingers a little more. It felt raw. Nothing was sugar coated. I couldn’t just wake myself out of it to avoid anything. It had a lot more than a happy ending.