An "Un-Remarkable Girl"
Part Four -- Trouble in Paradise?
I woke up feeling dizzy. Then
I felt like I was tingling all over, I stood up and felt great, turned
around and saw Angela coming, opened my arms to hug her, and she walked
right through me, I turned around and saw her kneel down on the edge of
her mattress. There was somebody in the bed. A man? I got a closer look.
It was me.
I drew in a quick, deep breath
and opened my eyes. I was alive. I was alone. I raised my head and Angela
was coming toward me.
She came to the edge of the
mattress and knelt down. She smiled, "Youíre awake?"
I whistled, "Yikes-"
She smiled, relaxed, swiveled
to a sitting position beside me, "Yikes, what?"
"I just had an out of body
She grinned, "Tell me about
"I felt dizzy- I got up, I saw
you coming, I opened my arms to hug you, you walked through me and knelt
down right there-"
"Deja vu?" she leaned down
and kissed my forehead.
"I saw somebody in bed, I
flew over and looked down and it was me- I panicked and- zip, here I am."
"How do you feel?"
I had to check my senses,
laughed, "Pretty good-"
She nodded, "I always feel
pretty darned good after one of those- They never last long, I realize
what's happening and jump back in my body before I get a chance to think
about going anywhere or, like checking out the pyramids or anything-."
"It happens to you?"
"On and off-" she looked
and sounded completely relaxed and comfortable with the idea, leaned down
and kissed me on the forehead again.
"How many times did you kiss
me on the forehead just now?"
I nodded, "Good, I was afraid
I got lost in deja vu land-"
She was wearing her silk
oriental robe, kind of leaned forward and rolled over me. My arms kind
of naturally fell into place around her, we ended up on our right sides,
facing the same direction with my hands holding her shoulders- She turned
her head and tried to kiss me, then kind of squirmed and wiggled around
until she was on her back and I leaned down and kissed her and she reached
up and touched my neck.
I felt the air was tingling
in the room- I imagined little twinkling bits of something in the air.
And I 'felt' a memory of the girl in the hallway earlier, raised my head
when Angela let go and looked around. Nothing was different. There were
no kids in the room looking at us. One cat was looking down at us from
atop one of the bureaus-
Angela grinned up at me,
"Do you do that often? I mean the out of body thing?"
I shook my head, "Not often-
I don't usually get far, I just get to the point where I realize I'm out
and either panic or remember I'm supposed to write a book or something
and I can't leave yet."
"You're supposed to write
a book?" she smiled.
"When I was a kid, I was
lying awake in bed and heard a voice. The voice asked, 'Do you know who
I am?' and I said, 'Sure, you're my grandfather'. I thought the bedsprings
had turned into a magic telephone and he told me somebody important 'over
there' thought I'd be a good writer- and if I said, 'Yes, I want to be
a writer' some things would change, I'd have a different destiny during
this life time than I guess I would have otherwise- I think I said 'Yes',
so when I was sick with Hepatitis A in High School, I just got up and forgot
to bring my body with me- I- um, it happened a couple times since- I never
know why- usually, I remember I haven't written whatever book I said I'd
write or something... I haven't written my book, I can't go to heaven yet-
She smiled up at me- "Sure
be great if we can, like- leave our bodies together and go somewhere and
see something- heck, I'd even love to meet you in dreamland and do something
I rolled onto my back and
she rolled until her upper half was on top of my chest? She propped her
elbows on either side of my head and looked deeply into my eyes.
Then she moved just enough
so she could kneel beside me (on the mattress) and lowered her forehead
to mine and again, looked into my eyes. After a moment or two, she rocked
her forehead against mine until her mouth moved down into contact with
mine, kissed me lightly, "You hungry or what?"
"Is it midnight?"
"Not quite- but if you're
hungry, I am-"
I nodded, "Sounds good-"
Her head moved up and
down when I nodded, "Steamed vegetables and brown rice?"
I nodded, smiled, "Do
we eat in the jungle again?"
"The jungle? Is that what
you want to call it?"
"You shrug a lot, ya notice?"
"You nod a lot too-"
I nodded, "Maybe I'm saving
my energy for better things?"
Her eyes widened, "Ooo- I
like that idea- You're even better than I thought you'd be-" she pouted,
"Even if you aren't Jewish-" she shrugged, "But I think I'm more like a
Buddhist or a Hindu lately anyway-"
I kissed her- "Whatever you
are, I like it-"
"You like 'It' or me?"
"I like the fact that you're
you and you're here, and I'm here and we're together... and 'it', being
the sum total of all of that stuff and more, 'it' looks like it's only
She sighed, "Scary, huh?"
but her eyes sparkled.
She sat up, looked away,
looked down into my eyes, "What are you looking at?" grinned.
She raised her eyebrows,
tipped her head down. I don't know whether it was the lighting or my state
of mind or both- but she looked like she was radiating love and understanding,
intelligence- maybe even light.
"You look like you're stoned."
I shook my head, "Nope- nothing
She smiled, "Something's
"You're not ready to call
I swallowed, "Um, it feels
like love, but that word is so loaded- I think maybe I'm protecting both
of us if I save it for a while?"
She sparkled, then
pursed her lips and looked like she was deep in contemplation, raised her
eyebrows, "So, you're already thinking about me when you're making decisions
that might effect your life?"
She shrugged, "Well, it suddenly
felt like you were holding back and I started to worry- but somehow or
other, I guess I asked the right question and you gave the right answer-
Now that's tricky-" she looked away, shrugged, looked right at me-, "You're
making me feel like I never really felt the real thing before, and the
scariest part is, if this isn't the real thing, I don't care- I want it-
I want you- I want you to want me the same way I want you. And I want you
to be honest about it- because if you're this freakin important to me already,
I'm afraid of how much I'll want you in a little while, and if you don't
want me like that, you better say so, real soon, because I'm in over my
head, but I might be able to swim ashore from here? Ya know? and if we
get deeper, if I get deeper and you're just playing with me-" she shuddered,
sighed, looked away- "I'll probably survive, but I'll be kicking a lot
of innocent inanimate things around for a while, hope I don't break any
toes, and I'll probably hate men for.... " She looked down at me and shrugged,
"At least until the end of the world-" she laughed, "Okay, nothing like
a little emotional blackmail- Do you like me?"
She watched my eyes.
I felt my eyes light up.
A magnetic charge from her
eyes rolled through me, around me (like a gas, surrounding my head?) and
then flowed down my spine, took hold behind my lungs and around my heart-
then the current shot between my legs.
Her eyes gravitated toward
my belly, she raised her eyebrows, "Dessert before dinner?"
"Are you the dessert?"
I don't know. Some things
are just so close to perfect you don't think anything could be better?
And then- well, in this case- 'it' got better? All of a sudden, life could
be impossibly good? I decided to trust it- trust her? If she turned into
a manipulating... whatever- later, well- maybe I'd be able to fight my
head clear and escape without any permanent damage? Scar tissue's stronger
than the original? But- is an emotionally scarred heart (or the metaphysical
'heart') able to generate and feel love any better or worse than an un-experienced,
un-damaged 'heart'? I didn't care. At that moment I decided I was going
to thoroughly enjoy being with her for as long as the feeling might last.
We wrapped me in a blanket
and I followed her to the kitchen, sat there feeling like a Native American
watching her cook- (She wore her silk robe and never tied it- just sort
of didn't care whether it covered her at all or not?) Then she filled two
large stoneware plates and had me fill two stoneware mugs with mango juice
and I followed her to the 'jungle' and we ate and stared at each other
and smiled a lot. We interrupted the meal to kiss a bunch of times and
fed each other and drank our juice.
And then she spilled
a little of her juice on her breast and grinned at me.
I couldn't tell whether she
was embarrassed to realize she hadn't been covered all this time or blushed
with imagination- I leaned over and licked the juice.
She looked like I'd had one
of the most wonderful ideas she'd ever heard of and dipped her fingers
in my juice and splashed it on my chest and licked it.
"This has real potential-"
I think we thought of several
interesting ways to share food, but finished ours and stared at each other
for quite a while.
We took another shower and
dried each other and then we gravitated back to bed and just kind of did
a lot of light kissing and stared at each other until the phone rang and
I realized I'd been asleep-
Randy's voice, "Hey- love
bird- you ready for another day in the real world? We've got an hour and
a half- I thought you might need a couple wake up reminders this time-"
And when Angela and I both
walked into the restaurant, the ceiling did not cave in-
But when I stumbled into her
bedroom after work (with a handful of clean clothes) she opened one eye,
said, "I was so happy all freakin day, thinking about when you were going
to come home and what we might do- well- I just fell asleep- and I supposed
I could wake up enough to make love, but I'm not too sure-"
I nodded, "Whatcha doing
tomorrow? I'm going to pick up a car and get it registered and all that
weird stuff and then drive it to where I used to live and load it full
of stuff I can't live without for a couple weeks and drive back here- and
I'd love to have you along for the ride..."
"Yeah? I don't get out much-
I wonder what the world looks like these days- wow- an adventure. You better
ask me again in the morning- or whenever- cuz my brain is fried-"
I looked around and found
a spot on top of one of her bureaus where I set my clean clothes-
She opened one eye, looked
around, "Where'd ya go?"
"Who me? I'm over here-"
She laughed, "No- that other
guy I'm in love with- what cha doing?"
"Oh- I grabbed some clean
clothes from my stuff downstairs and I thought I'd put it here where the
climbing cat could guard it for me-"
"Okay- "Climber"?- I've been
calling that one "Nutmeg", because of the color under her chin- and "Nutcase"
when I find her up on top of the cabinets in the kitchen and I have no
idea how she gets up there- or how she gets down, Funny- I've never heard
anything go crash-..."
"You want me naked or what?"
"Of course- It might feel
kinky some time in the future to wake up and pull something off you, but
I'm naked, so you should be-"
I nodded, dropped my clothes
in a pile near hers and plopped to my knees and flopped down beside her.
She rolled closer and cuddled
and we did wake up just enough- and we fell asleep mumbling about finding
a crooked doctor who might want to 'turn us into Siamese twins' with our
hips welded together? I'm pretty sure I suggested a pivot joint-
I don't know which one of
us said, "oht-oh- we got it bad..."
That night I dreamed I was
floating up near the ceiling, and looked down to see us both in bed. Her
hair was chocolate brown and she was pregnant. I knew it was a dream- it
wasn't like the out of body thing- that had been completely different-
But I was looking down at us and wondering how I'd feel about her being
pregnant and I saw the girl from the hall again. And she looked at the
two of us on the mattress and covered her mouth and then looked up at me
and gasped and ran away- ran right through the wall- I woke up and looked
around, pulled a blanket up over Angela's shoulder, kissed her forehead.
She woke up enough to kiss my lips and snuggle a little closer- I floated
off into some other section of dreamland and woke up when a cat licked
my ear. Angela woke up with me, "Somebody's hungry-" There were three cats
staring at us.
"Yeah, well this one thinks
she might chew my ear off if one of us doesn't feed her some decent cat
Angela sat up far enough
to see which cat was ready to chew on my ear, "Nutcase!" she giggled, "Maybe
she's thanking you for the nice soft clothes you so thoughtfully put up
there on her perch."
"The first time a cat
woke me up by licking my ear? I didn't know we had a cat to begin with
and then, the sandpaper tongue? Gad- I had no idea what was happening."
"You said you didn't know
that 'we' had a cat- which 'we' was that?"
I blinked- "Oh- I was a college
commuter, then a couple friends decided they couldn't bring their girlfriends
home to mom and go to bed with them so we decided we couldn't live without
getting our own apartment and I found out my college had some kind of special
deal with a bunch of places so we got a place that was slapped together
off campus- three bedrooms with their very own desks and a living room
with a television and a fake leather couch and a couple chairs that didn't
match and we had a kitchen that only one of us at a time could fit in,
but it had a microwave oven and a sink and a refrigerator and there was
a dining room table behind the couch. And one guy's girlfriend moved in
and her cat adopted me before I knew it was there...
She was laughing quietly
and shaking her head, "How do you do it? You say the most mundane things
and it isn't your delivery, but I'm fascinated- Do you have some like,
science fiction brain or something? Are you broadcasting these pictures
into my head so I'm seeing them as you talk?"
"The other night? When my
car blew up? I couldn't get my credit card to work and I didn't want to
stay in the sleazeball motel, so I walked around in a stupor until I turned
a corner and saw the nice little sign that says 'Restaurant' downstairs,
and I stumbled in and Geoff stood there behind the counter and told me
his life story and I don't know whether I actually heard any of it, or
could follow what I did hear? but yeah- I saw little movies in the air
of everything he was talking about. Are we dead and this is heaven, and
we just don't know it yet?"
She shuddered, "Technically,
I don't believe there is a hell? Or if there is one, you gotta really screw
up good to get sent there for any length of time? But- do you want to know
how many times I've wondered if this is it? If this place is like over
the edge into one of those places, or a halfway house between worlds?"
she shuddered again.
I nodded, "Ya know? I don't
think the sun's been out long enough to say so since I got here? and this
isn't Seattle- It doesn't rain so often that when the sun does shine everybody
wonders where that funny yellow ball in sky came from?"
She laughed, "Randy's right-
this place has some kind of secret skeleton of unknown metal combinations
that generates its own private little twilight zone-" She sat up and looked
around and grabbed her silk bathrobe, "Help me feed the cats?"
I got up and walked to the
bureau and grabbed a pair of sweatpants, and a flannel shirt and stumbled
around behind her- The kitchen still smelled like stale dishwater, "Want
me to wash the dishes?" I yawned.
"I think it's broken- but
go ahead and try-"
I pulled the door open and
saw about a month's worth of dishes in pretty sad shape, thought about
rinsing them all off, then rearranged half of them and poured the dish
soap into the right little chambers, closed the door, locked it and pushed
a few buttons, it made some swishing and gurgling noises and then sloshed
and hummed to life.
She grinned at me with a
strange combination of admiration and curiosity, maybe a little bit of
awe? Like she thought I had infinite magical powers- "Machines like you-"
she shuddered and opened a cabinet- at least half a dozen cats materialized
around bowls on the floor. A couple of them looked at the humming dishwasher
like it just might be an invading monster from some other world.
Angela opened a couple more
cabinets, looking for something, I happened to glance her way and, "Candles-"
She turned to me and said,
"Yeah- I love candles- scented candles, unscented candles-"
"My mother has this theory
that you can burn a candle to get rid of almost any obnoxious odor?"
Angela shook her head and,
"Are you trying to tell me something?" she sighed and touched several candles
one at a time- "Um, cinnamon, raspberry, vanilla, lemon-... I think your
mom and mine went to the same school of covering up odors-"
"Am I supposed to vote on
which scent I like best?"
She laughed again, "I'm leaning
toward cinnamon, but my mother has this theory that lemon covers anything."
I sighed, shrugged, "Candle
scents are not exactly my strongest suit-"
She smiled at the floor,
"Hey, I finally found something you don't know much about? Wow-"
I had to do a double take
to make sure there was nothing barbed in her comment-
She grinned wider at me-
"You're really here- you're really awake and real and we're in the kitchen
at midnight running the dishwasher and talking about candles-" she shrugged,
"This has to be heaven-"
She put a yellow candle on
a counter away from anything combustible, struck a match and lit it- "I
haven't burned any houses down lately..." she rolled her eyes, "Ya know?
I fell asleep with a candle burning once? woke up and thought the whole
bedroom was on fire? But I let out a yelp and knocked over a glass of water
that put the fire out and, well, that's a good way to scare off a roommate,"
she laughed, "Let them know you're fully capable of burning the house down-
Do you have any idea how great it is to have you to talk to?"
I tried to play with her,
pointed to my chest and looked around to see if there was anybody else
there, shook my head and shrugged.
"You haven't corrected me
for using bad grammar, you haven't looked at me like I'm from another planet
because I said something that real people aren't supposed to talk about?
I mean, the hair stuff is obvious- I know you noticed it-"
Her jaw fell, "You're not
color blind are ya?"
I laughed, shook my head,
"Oh- you mean that half your hair is green and the other half is blue?"
She giggled, "You noticed...
how about the brown roots?"
I shrugged, "Didn't you tell
me you colored your hair because you were sick of being the brunt of a
bunch of blond jokes?"
Her jaw fell open again,
but she recovered quickly, "Hey, be careful- If you told me my hair changed
colors all by itself, I'd have to run to the nearest mirror to check-"
she almost cackled, "and then I'd want to stay awake until I could watch
it change color some time." She yawned, "You're bad for productivity, though,
I haven't painted anything or thought about painting anything since you
got here." She winced, "Ya know, when Janice gets back we might have to
tone it down a bit, you might even have to sleep in your own apartment
for a couple nights-"
"You want to drop in on me
down there if you're not busy up here?"
She tipped her head sideways,
"Ya know- that might solve a couple minor- well, major problems- when Janice
goes to bed she closes her door and might even lock it- she isn't crazy
about me wandering around all night- but I told her before she moved in-
I warned her- maybe it didn't sink in- I'm nocturnal-" she shrugged, "More
or less-" Her eyes widened, "Maybe we should take a couple cats down there
and turn them loose so they can chase the mice into somebody else's apartment."
the light behind her eyes lit brighter than usual, "Hey, want a couple
cats? How about Nutcase? She likes you-"
"Don't you like her?"
"I love her- she just gets
moody, like at all the wrong times? Maybe if she had her own space, ya
know- She could run your life for a change? Then I'd have to come visit
her and I could tell you all the worst food to feed her so she'd see me
coming and realize what a good thing she had with me-" Angela shook her
head, "Janice doesn't like her at all- there's this little bell that goes
off in Janice's head that tells her all sorts of stuff like, 'Normal people
don't paint at three in the morning,' 'Normal people don't let cats climb
up on top of cabinets in the kitchen-' Like Nutcase would listen to anybody-
You wouldn't mind a cat that climbs up on top of any of your cabinets-
I shook my head.
She grinned, "Are you just
about perfect or what?"
I sighed, tried to look guilty,
"I gotta tell you- I bribed Janice to come here and drive you nuts so you'd
really really really appreciate me when I got here-"
She nodded, grinned, "I knew
it!" stared at me with the candles in her eyes flickering brightly, "You
didn't have to waste the money, though, I would have liked you anyway-
How the hell did you manage to get your car to blow up like that and then
get the credit cards not to work?" she shook her head, "The odds of us
bumping into one another were like, I can't imagine..."
The cats looked at us like
we'd lost our minds and went back to their late night snacks.
Angela yawned, "Want a sandwich?"
"What cha got?"
"Tofu or garden burgers-
gotta nuke the garden burgers-"
I yawned, shrugged, "Should
I push the buttons or is that your domain?"
She shook her head, grinning
at the floor, "I hope I never get used to you-" she frowned, "Maybe I should
have said, 'I hope I never take you for granted.'"
Her eyes softened and she
looked at me like tears could form any minute.
We set up shop at the coffee
table in the jungle again. She looked at me with silver and gold sparkling
in her green eyes and a smile that told me she was too happy for words.
She sighed and looked at the food she'd just placed on the table and looked
at me, "This is great- I feel like a freakin five year old playing house-"
then she frowned, "I don't know what to do about Janice though-"
I swallowed, "Are you guys
lovers or anything?"
She looked worried for a
moment, then softened (She bit her lip, tipped her head sideways, had a
different glow altogether. More womanly? More 'Been there, done that-'
with a lot of 'holy shit, this guy really loves me' thrown in.) "You really
don't have a problem with any of that, do you?"
I shrugged, "Comes from being
a sensitive outcaste in high school. You withdraw, can't find a place that
feels safe at all, so fret about everything that can possibly go wrong...
I solved all the world's problems to my own satisfaction, and then thought
through everything that could possibly effect me personally. I didn't think
anybody would ever love me for who I was- so I told myself a lot of bullshit
about what I could and couldn't put up with. Then I had a couple real live
lovers and found out what jealousy felt like and... well, intellectually,
I know that it shouldn't matter, but-"
She took a bite and swallowed,
looked a bit scared, "You're the jealous type?"
I shook my head, "Not really.
In the first part of love, when the bells are ringing and the chemicals
are flowing in your brain and all of your racial memory and the entire
future of the human race wants you to believe that reproduction is all
that matters- you can't see anything but each other (If it works for both
of you- if you both feel it.) And when it falls apart, well, the first
one was a killer- the second, I sort of always knew she was temporary,
but she got under my skin and then she started to test me, like to see
if she could get a rise out of me by flirting with other guys- I went through
a deep private hell and then, by the time she told me she wanted to see
other guys I basically shrugged it off. Third one was a bitch- not the
woman, the hell I went through after-"
Angela waited, "That's it?
I shrugged, "Three serious
ones. The third one got real deep- real quick and I found out she really
wanted to sleep with as many guys as she could- and maybe she really loved
all of us, or most of us, but I couldn't believe I could be suckered like
that- I don't know, maybe I felt like I was so sexually inept nobody'd
want me after that."
"So, basically- you're holding
back to see what happens six months or a couple years from now?" she took
"No- you got deeper than
any of them," [she smiled at the floor, glowed inside a small pool of light
that might have been coming from inside her.] "Like that-" I snapped my
Whatever she was thinking
registered throughout her body, her eyes widened, happily, she had to draw
in a deep breath and rearrange herself, looked at me and nodded, "Gee,
I wonder how that feels- but it's happened to both of us? That's rare-"
she turned around, reached back and flipped a switch on her aging boom
box radio. Loreena McKennit was singing, "Wow-" she said, "Goose bumps-
that was timing-" she shivered, then beamed.
I got this strange visualization
that she and I were sitting in a little clearing in a real forest and the
music was everywhere we wanted it to be, but, all around us, the rest of
the universe was in almost total darkness. Out there, creatures were stalking
and killing each other. People were lying and manipulating each other.
Bunches of us silly humans were in love, paying attention to nothing beyond
our own tiny bubbles of 'reality' and the Loreena McKennit song inspired
visions of half naked guys dancing and leaping around camp fires to impress
their half naked women. A black panther swiveled her head to look at me
through emerald eyes. Then I felt like I was surrounded by that black cat,
a motherly influence, who was lounging around, watching over me like I
was her cub. I felt protected. I had a lioness ready to pounce from the
shadows to tear anybody apart who threatened me.
Angela's eyes were liquid,
almost not physical at all, and sparkling, "Wow- What are you thinking
"We're in a real jungle,
and somebody is watching over us."
She grinned, nodded, "I have
to get this CD-" she said and swayed, eyes half closed, "I love this song-"
When we got back to bed that
song filled my head and the universe and I floated off into eternity listening
to remembered fiddles, harps, pipes I had thought were synthesizers and Celtic drums.
I felt like I rolled over
and it was daylight. I was in another part of the world. Angela was there.
I looked around. This place was old. It looked a little like a Greek Island,
but I could feel it was well inland- Macedonia? Serbia? Ruins of thousand
year old temples on hills where chips of stone were covered with moss or
lichens? Sparse trees and a land that had almost been farmed to death.
We were on a farm. The ruins were miles away- I turned to her and she was
young- her face changed. Larger head, more prominent cheek bones. Blond
hair in tight ropes of pigtails tied around her head like some kind of
ridge. Russian peasants? "I love you," she said in her real voice, "I always
have- even after we die, I will find you and love you again." She melted
from that other face into her current look and beamed at me in a forest
with several children around us. The ground shook- we ran into the open
where hundreds of chariots thundered all around us and -Romans? A
bunch of hard looking men- speared, hacked and slaughtered them. I threw
down a sword and stepped in front of a chariot. It roared through me, I
blinked. I was back in Angela's bedroom. The first greys of morning were
filling the air. It never really got completely dark in her apartment.
Her door was open. She had gone to the bathroom. I realized I had sat up.
I let myself fall back into the pillows. I drifted off over the battlefield
where everyone I loved had been massacred. I turned around and the girl
from the hallway outside of Angela's apartment was there. She looked at
me like she was astounded that anyone else could feel pain like that- I
wondered if she was alive in our time or not, then asked, "Who are you?"
She looked astounded that I could see her and like stepped back and disappeared.
I felt Angela settle back
into bed, woke up enough to reach out and pull her closer to me. She caught
my wrist with almost no pressure at all and held it, kissed my palm. She
"Are you crying?" I woke
all the way up.
She moved my hand to her
wet cheek, nodded, "You love me!" she gasped, then pulled my arms tighter
around her, "I'm in love with a freakin normal guy and he wants me- this
is heaven and hell at the same time."
"Who ever said I was any
kind of normal?"
She shrugged, "What I meant
was, you're none of the sick scary things I'm afraid of- I always thought
I was drawn to my own death at the hands of a serial killer or something.
Now all I want to do is spend eternity making love with you- I might not
get a lot of painting done, but hell with it. I'd rather know heaven on
earth anonymously than go down in history as the greatest visionary artist
of all time-"
She reached down and touched
me, raised her eyebrows, "Ready for more?"
I nodded. (Almost teased
her by asking "More what?") But we rolled around and stared into each other's
eyes while we rocked and melted into explosions of white light.
I woke up in a bed with gold
coloured silk sheets. I was surrounded by marble columns and covered by
a canopy of purple silk flapping in the breezes. I sat up, naked. The bed
was layers of animal skins on a slab of marble. there was a ceiling above
the canopy. I was in a large, open room. Robin's egg blue silk sheets or
curtains hung in odd places around the room to give the illusion of privacy?
A small girl in a kind of white tunic with a blue sash stepped out from
behind a curtain and smiled at me. An arrow point came through her chest.
She looked down at it, spit blood and decomposed in front of me. Something
roared menacing and growled, "I'm coming for you-" I whistled, expected
the panther to bound from behind a curtain to defend me. Something white
flew over my head and charged through the curtains. The menacing thing
screamed in horror and ran- I turned and Angela was standing there with
her mouth open, "That thing has been chasing me all my life- and you just
scared it to death?"
I opened my eyes, she trembled
beside me, "Were we just dreaming?"
"A nightmare- you were in
this Greek temple or something. I came to wake you- a kid came to see us
and somebody shot her with a bow and arrow- then some kind of demon roared
and you turned into some kind of white thing and scared it to death-"
"I did? I dreamed the white
thing flew from behind me- I was afraid the girl was you- God, that was
awful, the arrow came through her and she rotted in seconds, turned into
a black and gory skeleton and disintegrated." I shuddered.
She shivered, "You get a
lot of dreams like this?"
I shook my head, "If I did,
I'd give up sleeping-"
She nodded, "I tried that-
it doesn't work."
We shuddered and shivered
together for quite a while. I really really wanted to go back to sleep
and bask in some regenerative pool of something- but daylight wouldn't
I felt drained.
Angela was still shaking,
"I don't want to get up- but I guess we have to- I haven't had a nightmare
in months- oh God, I hope they're not back again-"
I hugged her.
"Used to be every night-
I really thought something demonic was stalking me- Okay, so maybe we had
this dream to prove to me that you really are my knight in shining armor
and you really can keep the monsters away."
I shuddered. I could still
almost feel the presence of that- whatever it was...
We went down into the restaurant
for breakfast. Geoff greeted us with his mindless smile. (I shuddered.)
Cheryl wasn't there. (I shuddered.)
Randy walked in, pretended
to be in shock over Angela's presence, then looked at us and looked worried,
"You look like you've been through hell-"
We nodded and shuddered.
Angela shrugged, "My fault,
I really wanted to share a dream- so we dreamed that some kind of demon
was stalking us."
Randy straightened his back
and looked like he didn't want to know us, "I told Geoff to keep that thing
tied up in the basement-" he grinned. Then he sat with us and made small
talk during breakfast.
I think I actually saw everyone
getting farther and farther away from me- sound changed, the air felt cold-
Every time I shivered Angela looked at me and I think her jaw dropped a
Geoff came and sat at our
table with us after we finished eating and there was no one else in the
Randy yawned, "Where's Cheryl?"
Geoff shrugged, "She got
up early and said she had to go somewhere-"
Angela looked at me with
a near panic in her eyes.
The door to the street opened
and we swiveled our eyes to see Cheryl and Tom, the security guy
from the place we bought the computer for the office (& Randy's student)
walk in, beaming a really tangible peace. They smiled at us and came right
Cheryl touched my shoulder.
Like warm water shooting through me- I relaxed completely. I stood up and
shook Tom's hand. It was like the heat had come on and I snapped back into
my 'normal' state of mind.
Geoff grinned at Cheryl,
"Were your ears buzzing? we were just wondering where you went."
I closed my eyes and 'felt'
a blue and violet mountain in the room, connected all the way to heaven.
The room filled with the kind of feeling I'd felt in the apartment I was
supposed to be renting from Geoff. I opened my eyes and everything looked
normal, no neon spectres or anything.
"I told you- we decided we
were going to have special meditation this morning."
Geoff looked confused, shrugged,
"I must have forgotten-"
I squeezed Angela's hand
under the table and felt her tension melt. She looked in my eyes and then
she looked confused.
I stood up to shake Tom's
hand while Randy pulled a chair from another table and turned it around
for Tom to sit in.
"Tom- this is Angela-"
Tom and Cheryl exchanged
conspiratorial glances and smiles. "Oh, yes- the artist?"
Angela hung her head and
shrugged, blushed, "Well, I can pass for one-"
I sighed, "So how long were
you guys meditating? Man- we had a nightmare that I thought was going to
screw up the whole day... and you walk in, this mountain of peace follows
you and changes the whole place back into the happiest never never land
I ever felt."
Tom weighed my words, then
looked into my eyes. I remembered the nightmare and almost shuddered again.
But he smiled and I felt like something flowed in through my eyes and spread
through me and all the shadows in my soul melted as a new kind of light
washed through me. I yawned.
He shrugged, "We started
at about four forty five and went in hour long spurts, got up, wandered
around and sat down again-" he yawned, "It was great."
I looked at a clock, 9:30?
"So, what are you? a Guru
or something?" Angela grinned. (I checked, there was no guile in her at
"Uh- no, we're both just
students- beginners really- In India you can't call yourself a Guru until
you can raise the dead."
Angela took a moment to let
that bomb explode somewhere between her head and heart, then raised her
eyebrows, almost giggled, squeezed my hand, "Oops- wrong question-"
"What kind of Yoga is it?"
I asked, shrugged, "Seems like I've heard of a bunch of different branches
or whatever, Hatha, Gupta, Kundalini-"
"Raja-" Tom nodded, "Spiritual
stuff- the kind of stuff that tells you any legitimate religious practices
or system are supposed to take care of your body mind AND soul."
Randy cleared his throat
and handed me an envelope, "I told the boss you were going to pick up your
car today, here's your first paycheck."
Randy shrugged, "Well, if
you don't want it-" and pretended to take it back.
I grabbed it, "I was thinking
about standing in lines in the Motor Vehicle department and all that good
"And then I guess we're going
to drive across state and pick up a bunch of stuff he can't live without-"
Angela grinned impishly, "Should I wear like a normal looking wig or anything?
Ya know? He's never even mentioned the fact that my hair is funny colors."
"So maybe love isn't just
blind, it's color blind too?" Tom grinned.
Randy yawned, "Am I driving
you guys around until you're through with all this stuff? I'm beat."
Tom shrugged, "You been working
all night? Go to bed, I'll drive them around-"
"Really? You're not just
saying that because you're ready to go up a level in Aikido are ya?"
Tom shook his head, "We finished
a big project the other day, I cleaned up all the details and took the
rest of the week off. We decided to meditate for several hours and the
world really looks different- I kind of want to bop around and see what's
"Hey- you're sure?"
Randy shrugged, "Okay- The
car's at Dixon's garage- Ya know where that is?"
Tom smiled, "The guy with
the kids? Yeah- I used to get gas there before they took the pumps out."
So Cheryl and Angela ran
Angela came down wearing
a wig. She really looked like it was her own hair. (Brown, a little
bit unruly, slightly kinked, a bit on the thick side. It really looked
like she'd grown it.) She shrugged, "I was a Jewish princess in a play
we did at school. They made me get a wig. I keep it around for fun." Then
she laughed, "They almost made me wear a big nose for the first part of
the thing, so we could joke about my 'nose job', but we couldn't get it
right, so the jokes were all in the past tense."
"Were you born with that
nose?" I grinned.
She did a double take, spoke
nasally, in a Long Island Jewish Accent, "Of Course I was-" then laughed,
shrugged, "Yeah- I was born lucky- straight teeth, cute little nose. My
parents joked that they had me switched at birth and some poor girl is
growing up with a family full of blonds wondering why she doesn't fit in.
Anyway, with the money they saved on nose jobs and orthodontists, we managed
to get me through college... well, the grants and scholarships didn't hurt-"
she laughed again, "You'll have to excuse me, this passing for normal stuff
is so much fun I usually go overboard-" she made a silly gesture, spoke
through her nose again, "Now, Trixy, as I was sayin to Ralph, we really
gotta do somethin about 'you know who' and their 'you know what'..."
I was grinning, "You couldda
had a career in television-"
She looked like she thought
I'd had my brain removed, made a kind of Southern Belle melodramatic hand
gesture, "Well, perish the thought, Ashley Wilkes would have none of thayat-
No woman of his would be seen dead anywhere near a television, it was Broadway
or nothing for me-" she shook her head, spread her arms and belted out,
"To- Morrow To Morrow-" and got through half a stanza before Cheryl walked
in. Angela blushed and shut up, then sighed at the floor, then tipped her
head sideways, wrinkled her nose at me and shrugged, whispered, "It took
all my acting skills to get along with my freakin family. Shhh- Cheryl
might still think she'd be better off if she had a real family, I'll give
her mine, any time-"
Tom and Cheryl in the front
seat (Cheryl sat half sideways so she could look at us while we talked).
Angela and I in the back- We drove off into a relaxed adventure, laughed
our brains out in one of the happiest, and easiest times I ever had with
people I hardly knew.
At two P.M. we walked around
my new car with its new license plates and window stickers and insurance
policy things in the glove compartment.-
Tom and Cheryl waved and
jumped into his metallic midnight blue S.U.V. and drove off.
I opened the passenger door
and Angela curtseyed and climbed in.
I walked around, opened my
door, climbed in, turned the key- it started.
We fastened our seat belts
and turned to each other.
"Oh God!" Angela rolled her
eyes, "Next time I blink we'll be filling out forms and wondering how the
hell we can afford to pay the mortgage we just signed away our first born
for...?" she wrinkled her nose, "That new car smell stuff really does come
in a can, doesn't it-?"
"Should we keep a year old
cat box in the back until the new car stink goes away?"
She shook her head, "Well-
whatever those two are into, I want some."
"I don't get it- Cheryl's
looking at him like they're an item. Are they like-?" I shrugged.
"That's the weird part-"
Angela shook her head, "I think you and me are the only ones in that building
that actually have sex-"
For the zillionth time in
the last couple days I relived a vision of me sitting at the counter, listening
to Geoff's life story. I could almost feel Cheryl register the fact that
she knew I was bothered by half the details he gave me- especially the
part where she disappears and reappears nine years older- I almost honestly
felt like somebody had hypnotized me and told me I couldn't think about
any of that- "Is Geoff all there?" I blurted.
Angela burst into laughter,
shook her head and blushed, "You're not supposed to ask that question."
"Well, then you tell me-
Cheryl shows up as a what? nine year old? and he takes her to bed and then
little green men kidnap her and bring her back five minutes later as a
fully grown woman? Am I supposed to believe any of that?"
Angela looked like she was
going to break down into madness or tears, shrugged and shook her head.
Then she sighed, "Okay- I was on drugs all that time- Prozak. Okay? I was
having nightmares like you wouldn't believe- I didn't know what was real
and what wasn't- I didn't know whether Cheryl was Geoff's invisible friend
or what was going on- There was this kid running around the place. -Around
the apartment building. Running through walls- staring at me like she couldn't
believe I could see her and then I thought it was her who was hanging out
with Geoff. And I saw the thing they built for her? I thought it was a
cage? Like they were building a big cat carrying thing and maybe they were
going to lock me up in it? And I was going out of my head-"
"Did you give her some of
your clothes, take her shopping?"
"The real girl? Or the ghost?"
I slumped back into the seat,
ghost? "The ghost is still there-"
Angela nodded, "I'm so afraid
her soul is going to die before she finds her way through the tunnel-"
she shook her head. Then her mouth fell open. Like she realized she'd admitted
"Ya hate me?"
I blinked, looked at her
like I had no idea what she was talking about.
"For not telling you I was
crazy? I really was."
End Of Part Four -- Click here for Part
Five of this Story