WARNING: This chapter contains nudity…Also this chapter is very long, so you might want to take a restroom break and get some snacks before you read.
The wind was mild and swift easily passed my face. It felt like winter, but not too cold. I didn’t know where I was nor could I recognize anything. The trees were wide and stood tall with majestic aura. The grass was a greenish-brown color as if it had died seasons ago and sat almost as great as me. Nothing was around, but an old white two-story house that appeared to have seen better days…or maybe not. As curiosity had gotten the best of me, I began to head towards the dilapidated structure before I was quickly interrupted by a sudden sound.
There was rustling in the grass a little ways ahead as I looked towards my left. “Is anyone there?” I called out, not sure as to whom I was speaking to. More rustles came about and soon I heard the dry leaves crunch underneath what sounded to be footsteps. I took a step back to prepare myself and looked in the general direction of where the sound emerged. It was then a small child emerged from the grass. The child was pale and looked at me emotionless, as if waiting for me to say something. “Who are you?” I asked him curiously, but he didn’t answer. Instead, he cautiously turned his back and walked ahead, disappearing through the brush.
“Hey!” I called after him, my steps cantering his as I followed him through the field. The child was suspiciously fast and kept his flawless trot throughout the mysterious field. With every step he pranced, I picked up my pace more to keep up with him. The wind suddenly picked up, whipping itself through my hair and raising every tiny hair follicle on my body. My throat began to feel arid and my eyelids felt like ice, but I continued on anyway as I ran down the dirt path that the little boy followed and soon the boy had stopped.
“Hello?” I called out to him again, but the little boy clearly did not pay any attention to me as he walked over to an old iron gate and peered through the bars while searching for something from left to right. I slowly took steps towards him, but kept my distance. When I got closer, he kept his eyes through the gate as if he was expecting someone.
I stood and watched him, wondering who he was and what he was doing here all by himself. I was also confused about where I was. I didn’t know this place, how I got here, nor had I been here before. It looked like it had been here for centuries without any upkeep. The deadliness of the foliage told me nobody bothered to restore the land back to its original beauty. It stood here for decades with no love or care; fully neglected from its groundskeeper or whomever owned the land before.
I stepped cautiously closer to him from his side and observed his young face for the first time. His eyes were green like mine, but his hair was a golden blonde. His skin was pale and his lips were red from the cold. Black clothing covered him from head-to-toe except for the crimson red gloves he wore that almost matched the color of my hair. It was then he looked up at me for the first time too, but failed to utter a word. Sadness filled his eyes and he stared upon me as if he knew who I was and was grieved to see me.
“I know you,” I told him as I had a revelation of the little boy who stood before me. “But I don’t know your name.” The little boy continued to stare quietly. “Why are you out here all by yourself?”
“I’m not,” he finally spoke.
“Oh? Who are you with?” I asked curiously, looking around for someone nearby who may had been coming for him. The little boy said nothing and kept his eyes on me. I swallowed with uneasiness and continued to press on with more questions, but once again, I could not get any answers. “What’s your name?”
“You know my name,” he suddenly responded.
Confused, I furrowed my brows at him and thought for a moment. I know I know him, but how could I have forgotten his name? Who was this little boy and why did he look so familiar? I thought. “I’m sorry,” I said quietly, barely above a whisper as I slowly shook my head. “But I’m afraid I don’t know.” The little boy was quiet again as he maintained his focus on me. “Can you tell me? Please?”
“You know my name,” he repeated indifferently.
“No,” I replied, now more confused as ever. “I don’t, I’m sorry. I’ve never–“
“Why did you make me leave?” he asked abruptly with a look of betrayal on his face.
“Leave? I didn’t–“
“You made me go away and now look what happened…Now I’m leaving for good and never coming back.” Before I could say anything else, the little boy disappeared within a blink of an eye. I was left in the dust feeling baffled about what took place here and about the mysterious boy’s existence. What did he mean by I made him leave? I thought. What was his relation to me, if any at all? As I stood in place and wondered, I heard another rustling noise coming from a short distance; the same as I heard from before I saw the little boy. Guessing it was the little boy again, I sprinted towards the recognizable sound.
I came to a spot where I thought the sound was coming from only to find myself in the midst of a graveyard that wasn’t there before. Several stones of all sizes surrounded themselves around me, each with their own names, dates and scriptures or sayings engraved on their tombs. As I searched each one, I could feel a mundane presence in the air, creeping its way towards me like a mist of poison trying to consume my internal organs. Thoughts of stories of these people filled my mind while I imagined how these poor people passed and the loved ones they left behind.
One tomb in particular caught the corner of my eye and I turned to head towards the isolated stone. As I looked down, I noticed there was no name, but a brief message that read, “DEATH BEFORE BIRTH BECAUSE OF HIS WORTH“. It was then I realized this grave belonged to an unborn baby as there wasn’t a date range at all. A lump began to form inside my throat and my eyes became hot and stung while the tears fell harshly to the ground. With each tear kissing the gravestone, I couldn’t help to feel responsible. My soul felt empty, my heart ached and guilt ravaged my head. At that very moment, I made a decision to make things right again.
A therapist’s waiting room; an airlock between the chaos of the outside world and the susceptible exposure of one’s self worth. I had a love-hate relationship with this office; more so with the therapist. She was nice, Dr. Nelson. She sat and listened to my quarrels and woes for many hour-long sessions we’ve had for years; ever since I was a little girl and we moved to Meadows Glenn. My father thought that after what happened with me and Quinn that I could benefit from seeing a therapist once a week to talk about my feelings. I didn’t think anything of it at first. As a teenager, I thought it was stupid. Now, I was indifferent to it. Sometimes it helped and sometimes it didn’t.
The room was silent with an occasional cough and the few beeps from a cellular phone every once in awhile. The air was a little thick, but not enough to have any windows open. I sat patiently as I always did and waited for Dr. Nelson to come fetch me from my seat on the comfortable black sofa. A display of magazines surrounded me from the end table to the coffee table, but I took no interest in reading at that moment. The receptionist sat in front of her computer, staring at it and moved the mouse in a disorderly fashion as if she hadn’t a clue on how to work the damn thing. Another woman, sat on the black bench nearby. Her hair was placed neatly in a bun on the top of her head while she sported a crop tee that read: I LOVE BAD BOYS. Her attire was clearly a sign for help.
“How are you doing, Adelia?” asked Dr. Nelson once we were inside of her office. Her office was pleasant and had a warm, friendly atmosphere. It favored the female species with its elegant black and cream wallpaper, pictures of serene scenes, and flowers on every table. The couch was just as comfortable as the one out in the waiting room, but I never felt relaxed in there enough to lie down on it. It was too vulnerable and trusting.
Dr. Nelson examined my face as she smiled heartily at me and I returned the gesture. I could tell she was genuinely concerned. “I’m alright, I guess,” I answered, not entirely sure myself.
“You guess?” she asked. I nodded. “You care to elaborate?”
I pressed my lips together before speaking. “I had the nightmare again,” I told her. She sat silently, waiting for more, but when I didn’t say anything else, she then asked the same question she always asked me.
“What happened this time?” she asked.
“The same as the last few times. Nothing has changed recently, except for this time…” I stopped in mid-sentence to think about what the little boy had said right before disappearing. “This time…he said he was leaving for good.” Dr. Nelson thought for a moment as she sat still in her chair. “What do you think that means?” I asked her.
“It’s not what I think it means, it’s what you think it means,” she retorted with her therapy-like responses she always gifted.
“Adelia,” she began again after I sat in silence with her for a few moments, pondering what it meant. Was he really leaving for good? Would the nightmares finally stop? I had hoped so, but didn’t believe they would. “You’ve been through a lot in your life and you’ve been through a lot within this past year. So it’s no surprise you’re getting nightmares, especially about this. In my professional opinion, maybe these nightmares you’re getting is your guilt talking. You were young back then and yes, you’ve made some undesirable decisions like most young adults do at that age, but time heals most things. The most important thing is that you have to learn how to forgive yourself and move on.”
Her words were comforting, but I didn’t know how much good it would do for me. How could I forgive myself? Renley was right. I am selfish.
Coral Blvd was bustling with shoppers alike, strolling down the sidewalks of the popular outdoor mall with hands full of shopping bags and screaming toddlers in tow. I passed a series of stores on my way to the parking lot when I found myself in front of Hotel Babies, a department store dedicated to cute baby furniture. I stopped at the display window to admire all of the adorable furnishings that belonged in a nursery and imagined what it would be like to have it all in my home. Someday, I thought. Someday soon. It would all be worth it then. Cyler and I would be happy with little ones running around. That would be if he wanted children. That was something we never discussed. Surely, we had only been together for a few months and talk about having children may be a little too soon, but once I paint a picture of having the perfect family, how could he not resist?
“Oh my God, Adelia?!” cried the voice of an obnoxious woman nearby. I turned around after hearing my name and saw three women walking side-by-side towards me like a pack of hyenas. Holly, Megan and Leticia: friends from my old party days. How I thought I left that part of my life behind me, but as they say…all is not lost. “Wow, it’s really you!” exclaimed the blonde in the middle. When they got a little closer, I realized who they were.
“Hey guys!” I greeted with a slight wave, faking my sincerity. Holly seemed to be the only enthused one in the group while Megan and Leticia seemed to share my sentiments.
“You completely disappeared on us. How’ve you been?” she asked. I couldn’t tell if she was sincere or was faking too, but I went along with it anyway.
“I’ve been pretty good,” I replied dryly, secretly wishing I had just turned the opposite direction and pretended as if I couldn’t hear her calling my name.
Holly was one of those people where you tell her you don’t want to do something and she completely disregards you and informs you that you do. She was clearly the leader of the pack and always had been, ever since high school. So I wasn’t surprise to still see Leticia hanging by her side, but Megan was a shock. She was high-maintenance like the rest, but hot-tempered like no other.
“Oh I have a wonderful idea!” Holly cried happily, apparently not giving any heed to my response. “Tonight is ladies night where we get together at my place and have some drinks and talk. I would love it if you joined us tonight!” she invited while the others maintained their enthusiasm. Not really knowing how to respond to the sudden invitation, I hesitated for a moment. “It’s formal so we wear our best dresses and we have the finest Mixologist in town. It’ll be fun, I promise,” she informed. Going against my better judgement, I agreed to go. “Oh great! We meet at 8pm. You still remember where I live, right?”
Unfortunately, yes. “I remember,” I smiled politely.
“Great, see you then!” she smiled and waved goodbye before heading past me. Megan and Leticia followed suit like the little lap dogs that they were. If this was over a year ago, I would’ve been trotting proudly along with them with the low-cut blouses and the skimpy shorts and hooker shoes. But that was apart of my life that I wanted nothing to do with anymore. So why did I agree to go? I thought to myself. I chopped it up to peer pressure. Geez, even in your mid-twenties you’re still a pushover! Whatever it was, I regretted me agreeing to go, but it was too late now. If I backed out, I would never hear the end of it and after bumping into Renley, I had realized that Meadows Glenn wasn’t that big of a city after all.
Sitting on the hard, dense modernize sofa, I shifted in my black lacy dress and continuously sipped down my overly-sweetened cherry-flavored alcoholic beverage. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was still delicious nonetheless and it did do the trick for my tense muscles as I sat listening to the others cackling like a bunch of hens. The house was modern as well and the lights were kept dim that gave off a relaxed ambiance. I could clearly tell Holly didn’t have any children, but managed to maintain a man of some sort by the looks of the male influence in the cold interior decor.
What are you doing here? I silently moaned as I took another sip. Another glass of this and you’ll be stuck here for the rest of the night. With that dreadful thought, I immediately placed the glass onto the coffee table and took a sip of the coffee that had been placed for me by the family’s butler.
“So Adelia,” started Holly, once the conversation about how stunning the latest Jimmy Choo stilettos were had died down. Once my name was said, the others’ eyes gravitated to mine and all the attention was now focused on me. Great. “What have you been up to lately?”
“Not much, just been busy working on my new novel.” I kept my answers brief to not release any fuel to the gossip-hungry dragons.
“Oh yeah, I remember you were into the whole writing thing. Good for you,” she encouraged to what seemed to be sarcastically. I thanked her while letting her know at the same time that I caught the contempt in her feign tone. Holly’s eyes shifted to the floor before she opened her mouth again. “Are you still dating Ren? He was a nice guy,” she pointed out.
“No, we haven’t dated for almost two years now,” I retorted back. She already knew this. Was this why she invited me; to see if I was back with Renley?
“Wait. I thought you were dating him now?” asked Leticia, the airhead of the hyena pack. Holly shot Leticia a warning glare, causing the poor girl to ease back into her seat.
Holly regained her composure before setting eyes on me once more and gave a light nervous chuckle. “We did date, but not anymore.” Her attempt to reassure me that they were no longer together quickly failed. I felt an ample amount of humiliation, but I wasn’t surprised to hear it. Holly was always after everyone’s leftovers.
“No worries, Holly. Ren and I are ancient history,” I assured. “No hard feelings.” There really wasn’t. If she wanted him, she could have him. They were a match made in hell anyways.
“Oh good,” she sighed and smiled, relieved that I didn’t punch her in her plastic face. I returned the smile, as fake as it was, and took another sip of my lukewarm coffee. The sooner I became more sober, the better.
I sat quietly for another hour and endured the torturous meeting of the mindless as they spoke about frivolous things, such as the latest fashion trends, the latest celebrity gossip and their inconsequential sex lives. None of it had meaning. They were all just living for themselves and in the moment. Maybe it was a normalcy for people our age. I had extended myself beyond that margin and wanted more for myself. With that being said, I couldn’t have high-tailed it out of there fast enough.
It was reaching midnight when I got home. The moon was full and high up in the sky, illuminating proudly with each twinkling star. It reminded me of the days I would sit outside with my dad and watch the stars through our telescope on the balcony. We would go over all of the constellations until I memorized them all. It was memories such as those that made me wish I was a child again.
I eagerly trotted up the stairs to my front door to go inside, noticing that all of the lights were off. I must have been so nervous before I left that I had forgotten to turn a light on for my safety when I would come back home. As I headed towards the stairs, I could hear footsteps from upstairs. I stopped abruptly to look up the stairwell to see if I noticed anything, but all was dark in the hallway. I quietly tiptoed up the stairs and onto the landing when I saw a dim light come from my bedroom. As I turned, I saw him standing by the windows, looking out onto the dark sea ahead. “Cyler!” I squealed as I energetically scrambled over to him. Cyler turned around with a mile-wide grin spread generously across his handsome face as he waited for me to reach him.
I wrapped my arms around his neck while he wrapped his arms around my waist; both of us bringing each other in a little closer until our bodies were pressed together. “When did you get home?” I asked him, surprised at his early presence.
“About ten minutes ago, I suppose,” he replied softly. “I ended up being way ahead of schedule on my delivery, so I was able to come back earlier than expected.”
“Well I’m glad you’re back. I’ve missed you so much,” I told him. He brought me to his lips and kissed me fervidly. When our lips departed, I looked into his eyes and debated on whether I should speak about what’s been pressing on my mind or not. Before I realized it, I was already saying his name.
“Hmm?” he asked, keeping his gorgeous green eyes on me.
“Have you ever thought about having kids?” I asked him cautiously.
Cyler gradually released his grasp from me and took a step back. His face fixed with uneasiness as he looked away from me. “I’ve thought about it,” he sighed. “I think it’ll be nice to have a family to come home to someday.”
“It would?” I asked him happily. I was certain he was going to reject the thought after seeing his initial reaction to my question at first, but I was glad he didn’t.
Cyler smiled and nodded. “Especially with you.” Cyler gripped his hands onto my waist once more and pulled me back in for another kiss. This time it being more passionate than the first.
We eventually landed onto the bed where our affection grew more intensely. His kisses were sensual and his touches were enticing. Cyler took hold of my black lacy dress and slowly rose it above my waist then over my head. He went on to removing my underwear while kissing every inch of my body the entire time. Cyler began undressing himself and I helped to ease the process along as well to make it go by quicker. We were soon in each other embraces again, wrapped around each other as if it were the last night we were ever going to see each other.
“Do you mean it?” I asked, breaking the contact between our lips.
“Mean what?” he asked while kissing my neck.
“That you wouldn’t mind having kids someday with me?”
Cyler, still kissing my neck then traveling back to my lips replied, “Yeah.” Then he continued on with me as I shivered with excitement at the thought.
We made love as we always did on the nights he would come home from being on the road. I hated his job, but it was something he was accustomed to since his own father was also a trucker. It was a way of life and I had to respect it, even if it meant not seeing him for a couple of weeks at a time.
Laying next to him, I could feel him wrap himself around me from behind. I felt his breath on the back of my shoulder while his hands caressed the side of my torso. I felt alive for the first time; like I was suppose to be here. This is the one I’m suppose to be with, I thought. Soon enough, it will all be right again.