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.

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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.