Somniloquy III

As promised! This is an alternate ending to Somniloquy written by @OfficiallyKJR. It’s alternate because there’s another ending, which I put up yesterday. If you want to read that, you can find that here -> Somniloquy II

For starters it looks like Bree’s lamp is shattered but rather than be upset like I thought she’d be she is glaring at me. I can’t have broken the lamp though, I’m still on my side of the bed. With her light off, the room is cast in darkness, the light from the moon that comes through the window is blocked by her body, and eerie shadows are cast on the wall. She turns away from me and when she turns back to look at me there are tears in her eyes. “Who is Megan?” she asks, the tears dripping down her cheeks unto her dress. This is going to be a long night.

 I love Bree with all my heart. There is no disputing that. I haven’t told her yet so I suppose there could be doubt on her end but I know I do. To be honest, I don’t know why I haven’t told her. And it’s not what you think. I’m not cheating on her – at least not in the conventional sense. I want to tell her about Megan but some things are better left unsaid. Speaking of things better left unsaid, how did she know about Megan? There’s only one way. As the thought crosses my mind, I can feel myself get angry. The journal in the suitcase I keep on top of my dresser is the only place I have ever put down any thoughts about Megan.. How could she? She knows how much I hate invasion of my privacy, and to think she has the audacity to wake me up over this.

 She notices that I am angry, her expression going from distraught to utter confusion. She wipes her tears with the back of her hand, sits facing me, and looks intensely at me with an expression that clearly says “are you going to answer my question or look at me like a deranged predator?’  I try to calm myself down but she asks again, slower than before, “who is Megan”, and that’s when I lose it.

 “Why are you snooping through my stuff?” I start, my voice betraying my barely controlled rage. “Didn’t I make it clear my stuff is mine is mine and yours is yours?”. She starts to say something but I don’t let her.

“Don’t Interrupt me” I say, “I bet you think you’ve got me in a corner. I mean I know I promised not to hide anything but we also agreed we would not invade each others privacy. Before we talk about who Megan is, the answer to which you clearly already know, you need to tell me why the hell you’re going through my stuff.”

 By now her eyes are completely dry, she’s stopped crying, which annoys me. I’m so angry I want to make her cry. I get like that when I’m mad. Just as she’s about to launch into what I expect to be an aplogy,  her phone rings. It’s her sister, who recently moved to New York and often conveniently forgets the time difference. It’s usually not a problem because of Bree’s insomnia but today Bree answers and says through gritted teeth “something’s come up, I’m trying to get to the bottom of it. Call me in the morning”. I’m sure her sister’s wondering what’s going on but now I’m confused as well. I get the sense that things are about to get bad for me.

 “What are you on about?” she asks cooly, eyebrows raised. Something isn’t right, do I have it wrong? Did she find out some other way? How is that possible? It can’t be. Why is Bree so confident if she hasn’t read my journal, she usually never is when we argue.

“Why did you go through my journal?” I ask.

 “Dude, what the fuck are you talking about? You mentioned the bitch’s name in your sleep. You fucking talk in your sleep every night!” She’s off the rails. For a moment I’m scared. But that’s quickly replaced with a cocktail of emotions that I do not want. Fuck! I think. I was so sure it had stopped. No one has mentioned it in a while. I’ve been talking in my sleep since I was 16. At least that’s when I found out about it. But I am sure it happened the year before.

 I fell in love when I was 15. It lasted 3 months. It was a summer fling, the greatest love story of my life. I fell in love with my neighbour and it was magical. We’d spend the whole day together and the night texting. There was not a moment in those three months we were not in touch. She had come from Canada with her family and she was going to go back. But we didn’t let ourselves to think about it. For three months things were amazing; till they weren’t. As summer drew to an end, my faith in the enduring power of our love begun to diminish. What if she went back and everything ended?

She tried to convince me that we would be fine but I was not as hopeful as she was.

Things just got worse. We went from me worrying and her comforting me to fighting all the time. The worst fight was the last night I saw her. I was enraged because she implied we had had a great summer and whatever happened, we’d always have that. I went off. I rained a ton of obscenities interspersed with actual words about how she never saw a future with us and how she wasted my time. She got up to leave because she said she wouldn’t let me talk to her that way. As she stepped out the door, I spoke my last words to her, “I hate you.”

The next time I saw her was at her funeral. I don’t know the full story. They said it was a hit and run but somehow I always thought that she got herself run over because of how horrible I was to her. I became a zombie. All I could remember of her was the last moment when I spat out hatred I didn’t feel for her. Every night after the funeral, I had nightmares where I watched her die, over and over. Nightmares where I said my hateful words and she run straight into an oncoming car. Sleeping was no longer an option, I steadily lost weight. My performance at school sucked. Until I read somewhere that your dreams are usually about the last thing on your mind before bed. After that each night I’d go to bed saying the same four words. For some reason it sort of worked, those words somehow found their way into my less distressing dreams and so I came to find out at the age of 16 that, every night, while I was asleep, I’d mumble: “I love you, Megan.”

The dreams/ nightmares stopped when I met Bree, and once I no longer had to say my mantra before bed to get a good night’s sleep, I asked her to move in. Now it looks like I’m back to square one and I’m going to have to find something to tell Bree. From the way she’s looking at me I’m not going to get away with an evasive answer.

Somniloquy

I wrote this https://ajreads.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/somniloquy/ a couple of years ago, and then recently a new and improved version got published in the @KeeleCreativeWriting Society’s anthology of fiction. So I thought I’d share, especially since there’s now a sequel which I’ll put up pretty soon (don’t worry, I won’t flake out, it’s already written lol). There’s many ways this could have gone, and if you’ve got any ideas I’d love to hear them. For the moment, here’s the first part, I hope you enjoy it! :*

“Have I told you how much I love you?” Nathan asked, inching closer. Bree looked up from the book she was reading, one of the many books she kept on her bedside table for sleepless nights. She was surprised to find him still sleeping.

“It’s hard to find the words,” he said and snuggled in.

I should have known Bree thought, taking off her reading glasses and turning off her lamp. Nathan was never this expressive, especially these past few months. She didn’t mind hearing it this way though. When she was falling asleep a few minutes later, she still had a smile on her face and Nathan’s arm around her midsection.

She found him in the kitchen the next morning, already dressed for work. She stood for a moment and studied him as he wolfed down his cereal, taking in his broad shoulders and high cheekbones. He was wearing the blue shirt she bought him for their three-year anniversary. She loved how the shirt fit, the shade of blue complementing his dark skin. They had first met at Suzanne’s birthday dinner and with his rugged good looks and boundless charisma all her friends had thought he was too good to be true. Even she thought so when he wouldn’t stop calling her, until a month later when he finally convinced her to go on a date with him.

“Morning!” she said, still feeling quite chipper from the night before.

“Morning,” he replied. He looked up, and caught her looking at him. As if that was his cue, he dumped his bowl in the sink and grabbed his bag. He gave her a perfunctory peck on the cheek before heading out. Just like that, Bree felt the high spirits she had woken up with deflate. Rather than the leisurely breakfast she had envisioned, she rushed through her bowl of cereal and dressed up for work.

As senior analyst at her firm she could arrive later than everyone else. She liked to wait till the morning rush had died down before heading in. She arrived in time to catch the end of the junior analysts’ morning meeting before entering her cubicle. An hour later and she was still staring at the same page of today’s financial report, too distracted by thoughts of Nathan’s nighttime declarations and his attitude this morning to focus.

“Penny for your thoughts,” she heard behind her, making her jump in her seat. Nelly, one of the junior analysts, smiled at her from the cubicle adjacent to her own. Knowing Nelly would gossip if she told her, she laughed and told a joke instead. For the rest of the day she ploughed through the report, trying her best not to think of Nathan.

Before the clock struck five Bree was up and packing, in a hurry to get home before Nathan. She wanted a luxurious bubble bath and a glass of wine. As she drove home, she reminisced about the early part of their relationship. Nathan would meet her after work and they’d have a few drinks and a meal or, even watch a movie before saying goodnight. She missed those times, when Nathan couldn’t seem to get enough of her. It was his idea to move in together, a year after they became a couple. She wondered if this had been a mistake.

Lapsed catholic though she was, she had had reservations about moving in with a guy before she was married. Moving in with Nathan had caused arguments with her mother, who still had conventional views and disapproved of Bree’s decision. “I need this to work” she thought. She parked her Toyota Yaris in their two car garage, happy to see Nathan’s Nissan Rogue absent. She couldn’t bear the thought of what her mom and her cronies would say if this ended. Especially now that she had just turned thirty. Already there were subtle digs about when she and Nathan would tie the knot. Her mom never missed a chance to make her disapproval clear.

Two hours and a long soak in the bath later, she came downstairs to find Nathan stretched out on the couch watching football. He was no longer in his work clothes; he had clearly been home a while.

“Didn’t hear you come in,” she said to him.

“I didn’t want to disturb you,” he said, studiously avoiding eye contact.

“When is that ever disturbing?” Bree asked him.

“Calm down Bree,” Nathan said.

Without another word she turned and went upstairs.

Halfway up the stairs she turned around again and headed back to the hall.

“I’m tired of this Nathan,” she said. “I don’t know how much longer I can take this.”

“Take what exactly,” Nathan said and looked at her.

“This coldness between us,” she said. “lately things just seem so off”

“They do?” he asked, pulling her into his arms. “Nothing’s off, I still feel the same; or have things changed for you?” he asked, nibbling on her ear.

Bree let out a sigh. It was just her imagination after all.

“You know they haven’t,” she replied, snuggling in closer. She tried to remember the last time they had done something like this.

A few hours later; with Nathan by her side, she was just about to turn off her night-light when she heard Nathan mumble something. Eager to hear what he would say this time, she inched closer her book and night-light all but forgotten.

“I’ve never felt this way about anyone before,” he said. Bree smiled. Take that mom! She thought. Perhaps she would always wait for Nathan to fall asleep first. Then she could hear all the lovely things he would never say to her when he was awake.

“I love you Megan,” he said.

Feeling as if she had just taken a bullet to the heart, Bree shot out of bed, knocking down her lamp and waking Nathan. For a moment she looked at him without speaking, her mom had won after all.

Tracy

Hello people! I know it’s been a while but I hope this more than makes up for my long silence 🙂 enjoy!

*************

Tracy looked at the filthy probably smelly guy that had suddenly appeared at her car window, wondering where he had appeared from since he hadn’t been there a mere 5 seconds before. Just as she was rolling down she was jolted with the realization that under all the filth, she knew that face. At first she thought it was because she often saw him on that same stretch of road smoking cigarettes, the cigarette stick being the only clean thing about him. Until it hit her how she really knew him. Joojo? She said furtively. The look of shock on his face was enough confirmation for her. It was him. Thankfully the light turned green at that precise moment and she used the opportunity to speed off, so overwhelmed by different emotions the thought of stopping at the nearby bus stop so she could talk to him never occurring to her.

 “I swear it was him!” she said to her friend Enyo some 45 minutes later. After seeing Joojo she couldn’t bring herself to continue her journey and 30 minutes later she found herself parked outside her bestfriend’s gate, now calling to find out if she was actually in. Enyo had barely opened the door when Tracy asked her if she remembered Joojo.

 “Joojo as in Joojo Quansah?” Enyo asked, understandably surprised her friend was dredging up memories from a chapter of their lives both of them had tried hard to forget over the last decade.

“Yes” Tracy replied. “The almighty Joojo Quansah, now clothed in rags and filth.”

“I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea” Enyo said, “who’d have ever imagined”.

Tracy sighed heavily, her mind drawn to the time 10 years ago when she had told Joojo she was ending things with him. Remembering the scorn in his eyes still gave her chills. The way his entourage had laughed with him at her expense when he called her boring.

“Plenty more where you came from” he had said, gesturing towards the scantily clad girls strewn all over the room, most of them hoping to catch his eye.

Of everything he said that day; Tracy remembered that statement had hit the hardest, seeing as he was the one that had relentlessly pursued her, refusing to accept no for an answer.

She felt a tug on her arm that brought her back to the present,

“Earth to Tracy” Enyo said, “don’t tell me you’re imagining what your babies would have looked like”.

Rather than tell her what she had actually been thinking, Tracy laughed off her accusation and discretely steered the issue towards other matters

 

Two days later she was driving down that same stretch beside the 37 military hospital when she spotted him from afar. Without consciously realizing what she was doing she parked at the nearest bus stop, and only when she got out and was locking the car did she acknowledge what she was about to do, her courage nearly deserting her. She stood rooted to the spot for a minute, talking herself into walking towards him.

“What’s the worse that can happen?” she rationalized to herself as she walked towards him.

She waited till she was right behind him and then tapped him. He turned almost aggressively and then stopped short when he saw her. For a fleeting moment she thought he had recognized her and started to smile but her smile immediately dropped when the next thing out of his mouth was “money for cigarette madam, me I no go lie you, ibe cigarette I want buy” he continued in the pidgin English people of his caliber often resorted to.

“Joojo it’s me” she said, “Tracy, don’t you remember me?”

“Tracy who?” was his arrogant reply as he stormed off, muttering about people who wasted time with talk rather than giving the money they were meant to.

Undaunted, she followed him, “we were in university together” she tried to remind him. “We dated in level 100”.

All she got was a “leave me alone” before he crossed to the other side of the road and left her looking at him, mouth agape.

 

********

Tracy got out of her brand new Kia Optima. If any of her achievements in the past 6 years filled her with pride, this was it. It had almost cleaned out her account but it was totally worth it. She loved the sleek lines of the car and the silver colour she had chosen. She checked her reflection one last time, making sure every hair was in place and her lipstick was still sharp. This was her first meeting with these people and she’d be damned if she didn’t leave them with a good first impression. She considered it a great compliment that they had requested her specifically to be the primary consultant on this case. Her boss had been very mysterious about who she was meeting and the nature of the job. Once her boss had agreed however, she had no fears about the meeting as he was fiercely protective of her. She walked briskly to the entrance, checking her reflection once again when she got to the glass door. With a flip of her hair, she pushed the door open- using as it turned out much more force than required so that rather than the elegant walk she had intended entering the room with, she found herself stumbling into the room. As if that wasn’t enough, she righted herself and lifted her head only to find herself face to face with Joojo Quansah.