Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kimmydon Week 37: Visitations


Picture 1

Picture 2

Kimmydon's Choice: Picture 1


I had been trying not to think about the vision in Costa Rica. I had enough distractions with Beth’s odd mood swings. Thankfully, her libido hadn’t taken a hit. She complained about being fat, but that was nonsense. Yes, she was bigger and heavier than before, but only a little more than what the baby accounted for, and her breasts... Oh my God, her breasts. She claimed her bras still fit fine, but I was sure they had to be tighter. Their contents definitely looked larger, pushed higher. That came with the pregnancy, all for baby’s benefit, but I wasn’t going to miss out on some of the fun before the baby came.

My hand cupped one now, sliding up from where it rested on her belly. I had been feeling the baby kicking a few moments earlier. Once Beth had stopped squirming, the baby had started. It had been the same every night this month. Just when Beth settled down to sleep, she’d groan and I’d grin and watch her belly writhe with the life inside it. I could actually see it moving. Not always, but sometimes, a little bulge here, lessening there.

Even the baby had gone back to sleep now, and stroking Beth’s breast, I joined them.

* * * * *

The alley was unusual. I never really went into any of the ones downtown, but this one seemed to be outside a warehouse and someone had set up a small smoking area. I hadn’t had a cigarette in five months, and before that in almost a year. I didn’t even crave the things. Why would I dream of this?

A woman sat in one of the chairs, a young woman.

“Sarah?” I asked in disbelief.

“Hey, Pete. Ready yet?”

I shook my head, uncomprehending. She just chuckled and shook her head. Holding pack and lighter out to me, she created a need that hadn’t been there before. I took one slender, white stick from the pack and put it between my lips.

She smiled more broadly. “Learned to light them yourself, did you?” She exhaled, letting the grey stream circle her head. “You would have had to.”

Her words made me stop in the process of holding the lighter to the end of my cigarette, but now I inhaled, pulling the flame through tobacco. I pulled the toxic mixture into my lungs and exhaled in relief. It felt so familiar.

“And no coughing? This is weird.” Sarah swept blond curls out of her eyes and leaned back in the chair.

“I am dreaming this time, right?” I asked.

She laughed. “Yep. Shared conscious. Pretty neat. I won’t be able to do this much longer though. Baby’s going to need her own memories, her own dreams.” She took another drag. “Her own rules to break.” The grin she gave was pure imp, Sarah to her toenails.

“You’re my...” I shook my head sure I didn’t understand.

“Well, I am and I’m not. We are more than our genes, more than our environment. You’re baby is going to be herself, but I’ll be in there, too. Why? You that against seeing me again?” She reached over to punch my arm lightly.

“No,” I said quietly, still in shock. “Is she going to look like you?”

Sarah didn’t answer right away, looking up at the cloudy sky and smoking. “What do you think?” she asked.

I thought about it. Sarah had looked a lot like Mom, and so did I. “Fifty-fifty?”

She chuckled. “Something like that. I might look like her, but it’ll be me. Just imagine, you, a father.” She dragged the word out, making me wince. “And you just know I’m not going to be an easy kid. You remember.” She puffed again while I groaned.

“But Beth and I aren’t Mom and Dad. We aren’t going to be nearly as hard on you.”

She laughed until she coughed. “You say that now, Pete. What about when your daughter wants to date? Or go to Europe? Or skydive? Or get a tattoo? You are so screwed.” She drummed her red shoes on the curb in delight. My face turned more sour at each suggestion.

I shook it off. “It won’t be you.”

Her humor dampened slightly. “No. She won’t be me, just like me. She’s going to push all your buttons Pete, just like I pushed Mom’s.”


She laughed again. “Because she’s a kid! That’s what they do! Don’t worry you get a year of infancy and one or two of the straight-forward screaming before she’ll get really smart. Then...” she shrugged and repeated. “You’re screwed.”

I hung my headm imagining Sarah with Beth’s wit. “I’m screwed.”

She patted my shoulder. “Awww, poor Peter’s going to be a Daddy.”

I couldn’t help but smile at that. It had been slow coming, but I was getting used to the idea of me holding a baby, me responsible for a child. Now I was in happy daydream stages, thinking about finger puppet shows, playing in the snow, walking at the lake. I’d been warned, by Beth’s parents actually, that this would pass back into fear. Fear of colic and sleepless nights, of Beth frayed to the end of her wits and me unable to take enough from her. Fear of seeing Beth in pain. I knew they were right, but I was still enjoying the daydreams.

“How?” I asked. “How did we get you, or you us, or... how does this work?”

“Don’t over-think it, Pete. This isn’t a math problem. You don’t take seven years, carry the sister and have a baby. Mom and Dad never taught us to believe in reincarnation, so why would you?”

“Why wouldn’t I?” I asked.

She smiled. “Why wouldn’t you. Well, if you do, this is simple. I had to come back sometime, why not here and now?”

“Why not years ago?”

She sighed. “I told you not to over-think it. There aren’t any answers for me to give. Maybe this is just a dream. Maybe your daughter will be nothing like me. Hell, maybe you’ll have a son. Or maybe, this is your chance to forgive yourself, to protect me like you always wanted to but couldn’t. That was supposed to be my job, you know?”

“What?” I didn’t understand what she was getting at.

“I was supposed to take care of you. That’s why first children are usually the responsible, leader-type.” She snorted. “Think Mom had one before me and didn’t tell either of us?”

I shook my head, chuckling myself. It was a ludicrous suggestion, but I knew what she meant. She was the one leading me into temptation, as it were, rather than trying to keep me out of it. “But you did take care of me,” I told her. “You made sure I met people, that I lived, that I knew life was more than school. You showed me that it’s okay to be myself, however much other people might not like it.”

“Then why aren’t you, Peter?” she asked, meeting my eyes and holding them, her cigarette burning away to the filter. “You aren’t a desk jockey.”

I blinked, not understanding again.

“I remember watching you in the school play. You loved it, Pete. Why aren’t you still doing that, even on the side?”

“Where did you go that night?” It was random and unrelated, but I had to know. It had come out somewhere between remembering the school play and thinking about the improv troupe. All of them had day jobs.

She shook her head. “Did you notice the long sleeves they buried me in?”

I cringed. “You were getting a tattoo?”

“Yes!” she said with a huge smile. “It was my name with two anarchy symbols. Mom must have flipped when she saw it.” Her smile vanished. “Actually, I don’t think she noticed until the funeral home showed her. Then she picked a different dress.”

I nodded slowly.

“Seems pretty stupid now.” Sarah snuffed the cigarette and pulled off the cardigan she was wearing to show it to me.

“Dated,” I said, earning me another punch in the arm and a toss of the hair. That didn’t bother me the way it had.

“You’ve relaxed, Pete. I’m glad. Enjoy life. Enjoy being a Dad, okay?”

I rose and hugged her. She felt real in the dream. “I will, and I won’t let you get any tattoos.”

She laughed and kissed my cheek. “We’ll see about that!”

The buzzing of the alarm brought me back to reality. The dream disappeared with the last of the darkness. All I remembered was dreaming about Sarah.

Beth was holding her back as she walked across the room for a change of clothes. She stopped, looking at me. “Bad dream?” she asked, sitting down to pull on her pants.

“I don’t remember,” I admitted. “Something with Sarah though.”

She ran a hand through my hair. “I’m glad it wasn’t bad, then.” Leaning over to kiss me, I ran my hand over the bump that was becoming more prominent by the week.

“I think it’s a girl,” I said.

She smiled. “A girl today? And what are we calling her?”