Posted by amy, Nov 6, 2008. 1005 views. ID = 1982
This post was written in 2 minutes.
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|This post is Part 2 of a writing series titled Out of Slumber.|
I had fallen asleep on the beach outside the rental house while reading a novel. Sunset came, and the tide swept me into the ocean. Before I knew it, I was too far out to get back. I was a poor swimmer, and doggy paddling was not helping me get to shore. With every attempt I made, another thundering wave crashed over my head, choking me and pulling me under its deathly grasp. My energy was soon exacerbated, and I began to give in to the hungry sea.
Just as I was about to sink down beneath the surface he appeared out of
nowhere, grabbing me from behind and holding me close to him. Now that I knew his face, he didn’t attempt to hide it from me. Instead, he pulled me around to meet his gaze and allowed me to look at him straight on. He gave me the same angry scowl as before, and I was mesmerized by its intensity. I tried to speak, to ask him what I had done to make him look at me that way, but my throat still burned from the ocean’s attack, and I was unable to speak. Before I knew it, we were on shore and I was still in his arms. He laid me down on the sand, lingering by my side for only a moment before disappearing again.
I woke with a start, yearning for the feel of his sheltering arms around me. It had been so real, so vivid, that I could smell the salty sea in my hair, and feel the roughness of the sand upon my skin. I needed it to be real, to find this man who had haunted my dreams for fifteen years. I slipped on my robe and left the house as if in a trance. I didn’t stop long enough to put on shoes; I made my way barefoot to the edge of the ocean. The closer I got, the faster I ran, as if running would get me there fast enough to catch him before he abandoned me again by disappearing into time and space.
He was not there, it was only the ocean that greeted me in anger and slapped me awake with each wave crashing upon my body. I was knee deep in the water, and wanted to run out further and let the ocean carry me to him. But I knew that he was not out there, he was not real, no matter how much I wanted him to be.
I lingered there for countless minutes and then slowly made my way back to the house in defeat. I was dripping wet and did not want to leave a trail of water in the house, as if doing so would show my roommates a part of me that I wanted to keep hidden. So I stripped down naked and rushed to my bedroom. I slipped beneath my blanket and imagined him being there with me, doing what I could to conjure up his memory and invite him into my dreamland.
I did not dream anymore. I woke up to the sun beating through my window, and glanced at the clock next to my bed. I was in shock that it was four in the afternoon. I could not remember the last time I had slept so late in the day. Instead of beating myself up over wasting the day as I normally would have, I lingered in bed and enjoyed the feeling of the silky sheets on my naked body, imagining that it was his hands that rubbed on me so intimately, and not merely the sheets upon my bed. I finally let responsibility and my growling stomach overrule, and I put on some shorts and a t-shirt.
I could hear noises from the kitchen downstairs. The most wonderful smell invaded my nostrils, and I rushed down to investigate. Melissa was pulling a pan of lasagna out of the oven. The tantalizing aroma had also reached out to Lauren and Tanya, and they both came running into the room. Melissa smiled out of satisfaction that her cooking had done the job of getting everyone downstairs.
“Keely you are going to love Mel’s lasagna!” Lauren raved.
“We all take turns cooking a feast on Sunday afternoons to celebrate the end of a work week.” Tanya explained.
“We can tack you onto the end of the rotation.” Melissa said as she laid out rolls, butter, and a garden salad.
The four of us made for an odd scene. Our hair tousled from sleep, Lauren and Melissa still in their bedclothes, and Tanya and I in running shorts and t-shirts. We were all stuffing our faces and lounging around various parts of the sun room rather then sitting at the table in the next room.
I couldn’t believe how good the lasagna tasted. I felt as though I hadn’t eaten in days. I ate two pieces, a salad and countless rolls. I felt like a beached whale when I finally forced myself to put down my fork. “Melissa, that was so very good that I think I could marry you.”
“Thank you, but I don’t swing that way baby.” Melissa laughed as we all giggled along with her. “I knew that we would all need to store up on carbs for the shopping trip tomorrow.”
“Speaking of shopping, what’s our budget like for tomorrow?” Lauren’s eyes sparkled as she was concocting ideas in her head.
“Oh, I don’t know, about $500ish.” I said sheepishly. Lauren and Melissa both let out whoops of excitement and even Tanya’s face brightened with the news.
“I think after we teach Miss Keely about fashion, we are going to have to also teach her how to handle her liquor.” Melissa glared at me through her thick lashes.
I knew I couldn’t have been lucky enough to avoid being confronted with my early escape from The Ocean’s Fury. I just rolled my eyes at her and sighed as if I was concurring. I knew how to handle my liquor, which is why I generally stuck with my limit. The excitement of the previous night overwhelmed me, and I had let myself be taken in by the alluring atmosphere. I would be more careful the next time I was in that situation.
I was the first to rise from the table, insisting that I would wash the dishes since everyone had been so nice to me since my arrival. I told them it was best not to spoil me, but to throw me right into the routine of things. I washed the dishes silently; my mind was stuck on the vivid image of him from my dream the night before. I cursed myself for being so susceptible to my own imagination’s creation. He was fictitious. If he had been real, I would have come across him at least once in the past fifteen years, I thought to myself.
I decided to take a jog along the beach in attempts to get him out of my system. Tanya had taught me which landmarks to look for in order to measure the distance I was running. She offered to come along, but I preferred solitude while jogging. She understood, it was the same for her, it was a release.
After leaving the Campbells, I headed towards Michigan where I would take a certification class. I stayed in Flint long enough to earn a certificate in photography. I still did not understand why it had to be Flint. I could have easily gotten my photography certificate at hundreds of other places. I did not form any kind of relationship with any one person. I waited tables at the local Denny’s to get by, and barely left my apartment unless I was there or in class. The day that certificate was placed in my eager hands; I was in my car again, headed towards Tennessee. In Tennessee, I worked as an assistant to a photographer who was on staff at a resort in the Smokey Mountains. We shot wedding after wedding. The people in the photographs intrigued me. They all had the same look in their eyes- the look of contentment and love. That look was something I had never experienced first-hand, and was determined not to let it happen. I was too restless, I moved on at a moment’s notice, and having someone to love me would not work in a life such as mine.
I again found myself sifting through my memories from the past. I was only in Tennessee for nine months, and from that point on I have moved to seven different places working various tourist seasons: Orlando, FL, Miama, FL, Myrtle Beach, SC, Aspen CO, Laguna Beach, CA, Denver, CO, and now Altlantic Beach, NC. I have worked as a bartender, waitress, sales clerk in a resort gift shop, and in hotel housekeeping.
I enjoyed both Miami and Orlando, but the humidity made my hair a constant ball of frizz. I roomed with the same two other girls in both cities. All of us kept to ourselves, which made it much easier not to form a relationship with each other. Rebecca and Trina had the same need for solitude as I did. We lived together merely out of convenience, none of us being able to afford rent on our own. I slept on a futon in the living room so that the other girls could have their own rooms. They had many more things that I did, and could use the closet space; while I was content living out of suitcases for the year that I stayed with them.
My dreams, prior to this morning, had been the most vivid while I lived in Myrtle Beach, SC. Despite there being so much water involved in my stay, it was eerily peaceful there. The dreams weren’t nightmarish, but calming. I actually looked forward to sleeping each night so that I could see him again. I was able to live alone in a closet sized apartment above a doughnut shop. The sickening sweetness drifting up through the vents was too much to handle at times.
Everywhere I went I could smell that same sugary aroma on my skin, in my hair, and on every article of clothing that I owned.
From there I lived in Aspen, CO for six months and then Laguna Beach for another six. I worked in housekeeping in the mornings, and bartended at night in both cities. Again, I had the privilege of living on my own, not caring how small my living space was, just appreciating the solitude. I didn’t have time to make friends, although I got plenty offers for dates, I was simply not interested. One of my coworkers, Daniel, in Aspen was so persistent; I finally gave in and went to dinner with him. He was nice, and somewhat attractive in a computer geek kind of way, I just wasn’t that interested. I let him down easy, and yet he still remained just as persistent as before.
My time in Denver moved by in a blur. My bones screamed at me for torturing them with the bitter cold. I dated my neighbor Steven out of pure convenience. I was in the upstairs apartment, and he was below me, with a fireplace. We would sit in front of the blazing fire, drinking hot chocolate and cuddling up to stay warm. I told him from day one that this was all we could be; friends who happened to enjoy cuddling and kissing each other. He accepted it until he met a new girl at work, and his invitations for hot cocoa dates went out the window. I always did my best to avoid any type of relationship with people other than congenial working relationships that were necessary to maintain my employment status. So far I had not met anyone that was hard to leave other than the Campbells, and even that was bearable. I didn’t let myself get emotionally close enough to anyone so that it was easier on both parties when it was time for me to move on to my next journey.
My reminiscing caused me to lose track of which landmark was which, and I found myself passing the same group of guys I had danced with the night before. I jogged another ten minutes and then turned to head back to the rental house.
The second time I passed the group of guys, they hollered at me to stop and talk. I was in no such mood. I was drenched with sweat and eager for a hot shower to soothe my aching muscles. Instead, I waved to them and yelled out, “Next time maybe?”
One in particular seemed upset at my refusal to join them. I made a mental note to apologize with sincerity, without leading him on the next time I saw him. I would hate to give anyone the wrong idea about me. I was not the dating type of person. I tried it once, but soon learned that it was a waste of my time. “Because no one could or would measure up to the hero from my dreams.” I thought aloud.
The next morning, I woke up to Lauren and Melissa bouncing on my bed. “It is shopping time!” They giggled like prepubescent girls at a slumber party.
I hated to admit it to myself, but I was faintly excited about the shopping trip. More excited about their amusement than my own, but I would play the perfect part of a damsel in fashion distress. I would let them dress me up from head to toe, and would even join in the excitement when I would lead the shopping trip towards the dress I had dreamt of.
I was disappointed that he had not returned to me, for me to have another chance to get an explanation from him, but I would not let that ruin our day. I got dressed and came downstairs to find them already outside in the convertible with Melissa laying on the horn. “All right, all right, I am coming!” I yelled in response.
We went to store after store, they joked about me being their Atlantic Beach Barbie doll. Tanya pointed out that I could not be Barbie, but one of her friends rather, due to my jet-black hair. They all laughed about it as they tried to recall what Barbie’s friends names were. “Midge!” Melissa finally exclaimed. That put all three of them into a fit of hysterics.
We had only spent half of my clothing fund by lunchtime. I was hungry and tired, so I forced them against their wills to let me treat them to lunch. I promised that after our cheeseburgers, French fries, and milk shakes, I would endure another two hours worth of them playing dress up. They picked a lot of halter and tank tops, short shorts and miniskirts. These were the clothes you must wear to get the tips they kept reminding me.
I requested to shop for a few summer dresses for days off and they complied without any moans or groans. I found the most beautiful flowy yellow cotton dress. It was backless, and tied around my neck. Melissa and Lauren agreed that this was by far their favorite purchase thus far. I knew it would be, I had seen it before in one of my dreams.
Tanya found a silvery grey blue strapless dress that laced up the bodice and hugged my curves in all the right places. Finally, I found my third and final dress, and the last purchase for the day. They all agreed that the simple sea green dress was the perfect way to complete my new wardrobe.
By the end of our shopping trip we were all exhausted and extremely satisfied. Lauren and Melissa were already debating what I would wear for my first day on the clock. Tanya just rolled her eyes at them in the rear view mirror and turned the radio up full blast. I was happy to be in the front with Tanya. Sometimes Lauren and Melissa’s blatant enthusiasm was too much to handle.
I was wearing the yellow cotton dress, and walking along the beach outside the rental house. The moon was full, and the sky was clear. I saw him in the water and ran to him. My feet could no longer touch the ocean’s floor, and I was out too far to go back. He saw me then, my pale face reflected in the moonlight. He came to me, that same angry glare burning into me like fire. Instead of rushing me back to dry land like every other time, he lingered for only seconds, but felt like an eternity to me, and then brushed a loose strand of my hair behind my ears. I turned my lips towards his touch and grazed his hand with my lips. This upset him further, and he dragged me angrily through the water and onto the shore. He did not look back at me this time. He just walked away, and disappeared into the night.
The first dream faded away as a different one settled in.
It was Tanya on the beach this time. She was jogging early in the morning, enjoying her solitude as she made her way to her two mile marker- the blue house with the huge deck and swimming pool. She was only running four miles today instead of her usual six. There was a dark shadow hiding behind the house she was approaching. She waved to him in confusion, as if she knew him. She didn’t shrink back in fear as he ran out to meet her. It was when he tackled her to the ground and covered her mouth with his hands to stop any noise from escaping her lips that she felt any fear at all. I could see what was going on, could feel her emotions,, but I was not a participant in the dream, merely a witness, so I could not reach out to help her.
Thankfully, the same group of guys from the bar were also jogging the same path, and Tanya’s attacker heard their approach and got scared that he would get caught in the act. He hit Tanya over her head with a nearby rock and ran away from her as fast as he could. The guys heard her scream as the rock impacted her head, the red staining her golden hair. One of them had a cell phone and called for help while two of the others ran after the man in the shadows. The fourth man, a blonde with sea green eyes seemed very familiar to me. I studied him closer while waiting for the ambulance to show up for Tanya.
And then it was blank. The terrifying vision was over, and I had to debate what I was going to do with my knowledge of the impending future. I felt angry and protective, my fighter instincts were kicking in. I had no idea when or if Tanya planned on running today, so I threw myself into watchdog mode. I could not tell the girls about my gift, or curse as it sometimes was. I had to watch Tanya’s every move until I could find out who the man in the shadows was, and why Tanya did not feel threatened when she saw him.
I would ask Lauren, Melissa, and even Tanya about their dating history. We could create some kind of signal to use at work so that they could point the men out to me. This way, I would tell them, I would know that they were off limits. It would save me a lot of trouble of clearing my conquests by them prior to dating them.
The girls were actually excited by my suggestion. They had not guessed that I would be so eager to start playing the field. I laughed it off as simply a preventative measure. I was enjoying my life in the rental house with them, and I wanted to do my part to keep the peace and not let any man get in the way of our blooming friendships. Tanya challenged Melissa to running sprints instead of her usual jog, so I felt relief that she would not be attacked today. I let my guard down slightly, but kept my senses heightened. Copyright 2008 amy. All rights reserved. FifteenMinutesOfFiction.com has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.
|This post has been awarded 4 stars by 1 reader.|
|This post is Part 2 of a writing series titled Out of Slumber.|
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