What are memories?
What are nightmares?
What are dreams?
What are facts?
Was a delusion? Was this a dream?
I saw a flash of numbers, writing out the year 1946. It was Easter Sunday, or, Easter Sunday night.
I lay flat on my back, on satin sheets with a floral pattern; all of my hair dangling off the foot of the bed.
As I hazily sat up, I found that nothing was on my skin but a silk throw. I kept it about me, glancing and gathering mental images of the calm, quiet room I was in. There was no sound but the pleasant hum of the radio, playing what I didn't know was going to be my favorite
song, 'I'll Buy That Dream'.
The room had beautiful wallpaper, of birds and roses and lilies, one large bed that I was on, a radio, and a window allowing a small amount of city light to creak in. I stared cloudy like through the translucent curtains— it apeared like a very, very large city.
While I was caught in the glamour of the lights, I didn't notice when a tall, handsome, healthy Vin sat beside me and kissed my cheek, ever so tenderly.
I jumped, startled and gasping— until my mind registered that it was my lovely Vin; only then I tried to hide my body.
"Oh, Vin, I don't have any clothes on." I panicked. He only grinned and said, "I know, neither do I."
In confusion, I glanced over his body.... Gasping to see that he did not have one piece of fabric on his skin. Not only that— the poor man was covered, head to toe with deep, rough scars; although they were beautiful to me. It showed what he made it through.
Though I closed my eyes, feling wrong to see him in nothing but his own flesh.
"Oh, Vin!" I exclaimed. "Why on earth do we not have any clothes on?!" I jumped up — still with the blanket wrapped around me —, turning my back to him; though I could sense his recently smiling face crease into a frown.
"Well... Riri," I could hear insecurity in his voice. "Darling, it's—it's our wedding night. You—you said you wanted me to..." His sentence cut off, and he gazed at the floor with a let down kind of air.
I whipped my head around towards him, only looking at his face. It was our what?
"What...? Vin, what was that?" I felt my skin turn pale all over.
He stared at his body with a disgusted gaze, then crossed his arms over his waist and looked back at me. "You said you wanted to show me how much you loved me."
I cocked my head. I did want to show him how much I loved him, but that could never happen. "No... What did you say, before that?"
"Oh... It's our wedding night— it's our honeymoon...."
I sank onto the small daybed that sat behind me— a train of visions comes racing towards my head to crash against it.
It was April 21, 1946. The six year long war was over. Aunt Maggie and Uncle Pete moved— but still mailed money to me for the monthly bills. The only survivors from the fire at Serenity Hill were living in what was now my apartment building.
Those were the well known facts...
And these were the sketchy, yet sure predictions of mine—
Dr. Mikhail and Mary Kate —the French patient who was the mother of two sons— were married; M.K. was pregnant. Bettsy and Mr. Jones were in love with each other, and he was helping her raise her two young sisters.
This was a dream....
Vin and I were married that noon, and this night was in fact our wedding night. We had just shone one another love in the most passionate way, and Vin yearned for me to show him more. I was his bride, and he was my tall, handsome, joyful groom...
While I was interlocked with this realization, Vin stood and thoughtfully paced over to me. I gave him a loving look, trying to just enjoy the fantasy while it lasted. He took my hands, and gently pulled me up onto my feet— once I was standing with him, he placed both of my hands on his hips; I smiled deeply. His skin felt warm and welcoming to my fingertips, and so I sunk them in deeper. He gave a subtle, smothered giggle.
"I'm sorry, dear..." He tucked a few, loose strands of my hair behind my ear. "You've been cursed with me. You deserve a better, far more attractive man than I." He once again glanced down at the floor, sorrowfully.
I pushed my hands around to his back, not letting go, not even to move. I held them right where his waistband would've been, if he'd have had on clothing; by that way I pulled him closer to me, so that his body pressed firmly against mine.
"Vin... Don't say that. You are attractive, but you are so much more than attractive.... You are far more than I deserve..."
I leaned in and began to kiss his neck; he tasted like sea salt and collegne. He closed his navy blue eyes and reached one of his hands and ran it through my hair, muttering a satisfied sound like, "hmm...".
My hands explored his back, sinking in every muscle, shoulder blade and bone that built up his spine. Then I went back to his hips. Then I let the blanket that was still wrapped around me fall.
This was a fantasy. This was a dream, and I prayed that nobody would wake me up before I could take it for all it had.
"Dear girl... How do you make nothing but a pile of scars feel so special?" He acquired, leaving me to pull away and stare into his eyes for a moment.
"Huh?" He smiled, crooked and childish in that treasured way that he always did.
"Your scars are more beautiful than diamonds, Vin." I said.
He looked at my as if I had just healed his illness, and then kissed me. I kept grabbing at him— his hips, his back, his shoulders, the backs of his thighs... I just didn't want to let him go. I loved him and fir then, he was mine to take advantage of and soak up.
The dream intoxicated me so; in it I had a high better than anything as our bodies met and our moans fell in harmony...
"Riri..." His voice suddenly became concerned. "Riri.... Riri! Iris!"
My eyes peeled open to see Vin standing over me, frowning and reaching his hand down to me. It was then I realized I was on the floor.
I let him help me up, almost disappointed to see that we were both fully clothed, and not alone. I was then ashamed of myself to wish so.
"Riri, are you all right?" He asked me. "You fainted. I fear you hit your head, as well... You're bleeding."
He reached around amd tapped at a cut on the back of my head, amd surely enough, there was blood. It didnt ache, so I tried to brush it off; though I wouldn't be able to brush off the dream that I had had so easily.
I smiled as I rested my eyes on Vin— over the years, as he had been free, he was finally getting the love, compassion and nourishment that he always had deserved.
''I'm alright, Vin. I think I must have fainted, though."
He stared at me, concerned. Dr. Mikhail then came fourth and looked into my eyes for dilated pupils.
"Well, Riri, you seem fine." He finally stated. "But let's get some ice on that cut, okay?"
After so much of them checking on me endlessly, I at last convinced my little family of eight that I really was fine....
Then, they shooed me to bed.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Darkness. Thrashing. Sweat. Skin...
Hot lips pressing opposite lips; hands gliding and grasping from the sheet to a body.
Ah, my dreams meant everything to me— for Vin and I met each other, and connected as one.
"Awake..." He panted.
"Never!" I shouted in return, although, I did awake.
In reality, I had gone to sleep in my bed, and Vin was now shaking my shoulder with his steady hand, trying to get me up.
His face creased in concern, and I tried to wipe the heat off of mine.
"Riri, are you sure that you're all right?" He asked as I switched on the lamp.
I smiled. "Yes, Vin. I promise I am just fine."
He sheepishly smiled back at me, and we sat in silence for a moment. It was rather nice; being able and allowed to just gaze into his beautiful, dark eyes as I was— until I heard his hungry stomach gurgle and I began to chuckle. He giggled and looked away in embarrassment.
I laid my hand over his and said, "Is that why you're in here? You've starved yourself all day, and now you need something to eat?"
He shrugged and looked at me, shamefully. "I don't know how to work the stove.... I'm sorry."
I laughed, then leaning foward and cupping his cheek in my palm.
"Don't be." I commanded. "Come on, I'll make you something to eat."
And yes— he had been free since April of 1942, and it was now July of 1945, and I never did teach him how to cook. But I much adored the idea and reality that I got to cook for him; all I ever longed for was to take care of the man I loved.
He had gained his much needed weight— twenty pounds, and now weighed in pounds one hundred and nineteen. Though he needed so much more, he would never gain a lot more due to how he had been starved ever since his early childhood. His growth was stunt, and he would always be sadly thin.
"How about this?" I pulled a pound of thawed hamburger meat out of the refrigerator.
"That's sounds wonderful..." The certain tone of his voice and shine of the sparkle in his eye were as they had always been before he cried, although he smiled. I looked at him for a bit before I turned around to make his dinner.
As I began to make his dinner, he stood behind me and over viewed how I cooked it.
"Riri, it's terribly late..." His voice shook enough to have my worry. "I'm very sorry I woke you."
I tried to have him feel better about himself by saying, "Oh, Vin, don't be sorry. I'm glad you did, dear. I'm hungry now as well."
I could feel his smile rise as he hugged me from behind, and my heart warmed more than the summer moon that ruled above us. I gently patted his shoulder.
"You do so much for me..." He squeezed me very tightly, and I could feel my heart being bombarded with nothing but pure love from his. "Why, I don't know why you love me so much. I am nothing special."
"You are everything special to me." I blurted out, without even thinking about the impact that might've created. I was now filled with fear, wondering how he would even respond.
There was silence, and he even let go of me and sat down a kitchen chair; I winced as I heard it creak across the floor.
After a moment, I turned around slowly. I looked at him to see the sweet boy crying his eyes out, soundlessly.
Just right then I knew exactly what he was feeling— he was very seldom shown love in his life, and because of the horrors and terror he had gone through, he believed that he was not worthy of love; whether he was feeling it, or being shown it.
I paced towards him and combed my fingers through his soft, brown hair. He sprang up, clinging to me and kissing me innocently on the cheek.
"I wanted nothing more than to die before you came into my life!" He sobbed. "But you, you sweet, precious girl, you've made my life worth living! You've kept me from dying so many times.... And some times, you don't even know about..."
I began to tear up a bit when he said the last sentence, but he went on to treasure my heart and crush it at the same time—
"You treat me like gold. But I'm nothing but coal... I've only been treated like gold by two people in my entire life— you, and my little sister Annabella... I loved her more than anybody, but now I love you more than her!"
I don't know why, but in myself, I felt confidence, honor, sadness, agony and disgust at myself all at the same time.
"And it frightens me so..." He cried. "I am terrified to be hurt again! I can't be hurt again!"
Now, as I held him close and rubbed his lower back, tears streamed down my face. After all these years, countless sessions with Dr. Mikhail, Vin still had troubles.
So did I, but poor Vin also had unbearable pain. I only had unbearable pain when I saw Vin, the thing I loved more than anything, drowning in it.
"Darling, I'm never going to hurt you. I'll never hurt you. I can't... I can't think about hurting without hurting myself!" I sobbed burrying my face into his shirt.
I melted down, damned my secrets about the way that I loved Vin in to hell, and I said, "I love you, Vin! I love you so much! I love you so much more than I should! I just want you to be happy, all right? Can... Can you be happy? For me? Please?" I pulled away and looked at him.
His eyes were red and a little puffy, his face frowning. But he nodded, and forced through a smile, for me.
I smiled in return as I wiped my face. "Good. Now—Now let's stop all of the crying, and, let's eat, okay?"
He nodded as he was about to sit down, then kissed me as tenderly as he could on my cheek.
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