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“…I will be to you as I am to myself…”
These words were the only fragment of memory I remember from the dream last night. I’m trying to figure it out, since it left me with a fuzzy feeling when I woke up. That line felt like I’ve heard it before, so I kept dwelling on it the entire time until evening when I was in the park gazing at the birds and suddenly I found everyone’s eyes on me. Eric was on his knees, holding a Bakery box.
"… as I laid eyes on you for the first time, I knew I couldn’t find a girl like you for a lifetime. And those amber eyes that took the air out of me were like burning suns jaded in Aphrodite’s flawless statue. The time I spent and the time I cherished with you are too intoxicating for me to let go. So here I am announcing myself to the world, Rebecca, I will be to you as I am to myself…"
Unbelievable! He opened the pastry box to reveal the ring on my favorite cake. All I could do was simply smile to him and forget everything but him. We went wild, roaming about screaming “I love you!" all the way to our street. Our parents were not very surprised and immediately agreed to the marriage.
Eric was crossing the road holding a bouquet. He checked his watch and with a grin, he waved his watch at me.
“I told ya I’ll be on time, didn’t I?”
As I took my eyes off of his grin, I saw the face of Death itself: a truck rushing at him and that split second seemed like an age passing by; my arm flung out by itself reaching him but was too late. My universe was breaking down on me and as the scarlet stained bouquet flew by I woke up screaming Eric’s name, while Eric was already over me trying to calm the crazy lady. I touched his face to make sure that the dreadful incident was just a dream. It was soft and real. I got up to kiss him and finally calmed myself.
He didn’t ask any questions and when I told him to be early in the evening without any fancy items like a bouquet, he looked surprised and said nothing. I wanted to check since it was so vivid that it kicked the air out of me. I had to make sure it was only a dream. Eric came home early as I told him to and started watching the Mets. It was 7:30 and the same truck went in front of our house as I looked out for it. I stood there struck, couldn’t move an inch. Did I just save Eric’s life? Was I still dreaming? No way! I must have been fooling myself.
Soon I realized how foolish I was. A fool can never be clever enough to fool himself. The second night, he was killed by a maniac while he was on his way to home at the same time, 7:30. Police called over to me and as soon as I saw the body I woke up. The cringing pain I felt upon watching him dying or his dead body was too much for a night. I told him to come late for home today and called 911 about a suspicious person at Merton Street and his description from the dream, the same location where I found Eric’s body. Half an hour later, Eric came home with an amused look.
“Hey babe, I found police on my way here. Heard they caught a lunatic with a gun. Ooh! The police's job’s really exciting. They grabbed him and dragged him to the car. He was shouting out some bullshit about a demon approaching. Guys are crazy these days.”
I couldn’t help but fake a smile and slap the fooling theory back at my face. He found it entertaining and here I am unable to join his amusement. Worrying, dreading every minute of the day for what might happen. Now that I have confirmed it, I need to be careful and cautious. If I look too worried or too panicky, he’ll ask questions. That’s when I’ll lose his confidence and he’ll ignore my warnings. Yeah, I had to be really careful. Steeling myself, I went to sleep hoping I won’t have to live another terrible dream.
Damn it! Now I’m not sure if I should sleep at all. I can’t look at his blank eyes again, neither in dreams nor in reality. Each time I witness his death, along with the heart wrenching pain in my chest, I feel a part of me fading away. I wish there was a way to stop these dreams. Now I’ve gotta figure out a way to save Eric out of his impending death from a rattlesnake. I guess straight away forcing him to ignore his precious garden would make him suspicious. I would have to take precaution for the snake bite.
I went to the mall to purchase gum boots with metal plating over the feet and stylized them with our names on it.
“Guess what I brought you? Here, it took me a lot of work to get it look that way. I made them so you would wear them whenever you garden. It is so dirty nowadays and thorny vines have also developed and now you have calloused soles. Just wear them, Okay?”
“Why’d you go to the trouble of buying expensive boots like that? Any flip-flop or sandal would have been fine. And look at the inscription, it looks very costly.”
“Oh! Come on. I have done what I thought was right. Okay? The inscription was done by a friend of mine from college. She didn’t charge me much. Now just wear it and see. Also, take this. February’s coming soon and Violet is supposed to be its birth flower.”
After a few minutes I saw the snake approaching and shouted at him. He took the shovel and slammed it at the snake but it went on to bite him on the feet. Sadly, its fangs struck the metal plating and another hit from the shovel downed it.
“Whoa, these boots really had some use after all,” he said laughing and making the same grin from the first dream. My heart suddenly shrank as I realized, if it wasn’t for the dream, I would have lost him. Nothing made sense. I couldn’t figure out the trap I was in. A part of me couldn’t just take any more of these dreams and the other strongly needed these dreams to save Eric.
It happened again and again without failing. In the daylight he’s talking to me, having fun together and bitching about work, but as the night descends, he dies, dies every fucking night in all the freaking ways possible. It feels like Final Destination over and over again. A few more days passed with my anxious dreams never leaving my side, warning me about all the possible deaths he could face and the terrifying moments near that cursed time (7:30). I’m losing my sanity and finally the 13th day arrives.
I saw him. He was staring at me with those emerald eyes speaking out his last words:
“How could you…?”
It was when I saw my hands bloodied, holding our kitchen knife that had its blade dug into him. I woke up. Mind blank. No thoughts. If it was the old me, she would have freaked out. But things change. The only thought that was thumping in my head was how to prevent it. Eric was already dressed up and ready to go. I was scared to look at him. I told him to come late, no matter what. He seemed dubious and looked at me for a while, but I stuck my smile and assured him nothing was wrong. I need to hold on, at least till he leaves home. All day, I was thinking of various reasons that could develop into such a colossal accident. Or was it really an accident? No, that wasn’t possible. It can’t be. The clock is ticking, it’s almost 5 o’clock. All I have to do is to avoid going to the kitchen. It’s a simple enough task.
A slow ringing was irritating me. The phone in the other room was ringing so hard that I couldn’t sleep. The fuzzy mind took me to the room and took the phone. It was Eric.
“Hey, I know you told me to come late, but I was worried and I can’t sit quiet with you there all alone. I’ll be there in minutes.”
“Eric, no. Please, listen to me-”
And he cut me off. As fog cleared from my mind, I realized I was in the kitchen and the setting sun was glaring at me through the reflection on the kitchen knife. Heh. Fate is so cruel. Is there no escape, then? What did I ever I do to deserve this? Is this gonna be my life? Life? Can I even call this a life?
I finally found the solution. I took the knife and positioned it so there will be no mistake. As the knife came down, I felt myself flying towards the stove. I turned to find Eric beside me. Huh. You wouldn’t even let me die peacefully. Then I felt it, the warm blood flowing on my hands. He smiled as if he was relieved.
“I always wondered if something was troubling you. Guess I was righhh-”
He coughed blood. “But how could you leave mm-” And he was gone. No. No. This is ridiculous. Until now I was able to save him, this is not possible. Then a dark cloud descended and everything was black.
I was covered in sweat. I was breathing heavily. What happened? Where am I? This room? Something’s wrong. How? This is Ma’s home. Ma came in looking worried.
“What’s wrong Becky? You look like hell.”
“Why am I here? Shouldn’t I be with Eric-” No Eric. He was on our kitchen floor covered in blood. He was dead. Before my train of thoughts could reach the next stop, Ma’s face silenced my thoughts. She had this annoyed look that she used to give when something disturbing was said. She held a stern frown and said:
“Young lady, I know you love him. But you are not moving in with him without my permission.”
What? What the hell? I looked at the calendar. It was on a date, months before my recent memories. So was it all a dream? Whoa. It was so lucid and real. Crap, I was worried for nothing. I was happy that none of it was real. Really, when I see Eric next time, I’m gonna give him a blue eye. How dare he give me such a horrid nightmare? I went around to meet up my friends and was searching for that punk all day. He was nowhere to be found. Maybe I’ll let him off for today. I went to my favorite spot in the park and noticed the pigeons. It was a nice way of passing time and for some reason, I always get cheered up watching them. Although this evening in the park looks oddly familiar, feels like the events have already happened. Deja vu. No, enough of deja vu crap. Had enough of them in dreams.
My heart sank. Eric was kneeling down with a bakery box. He was saying something. But my mind was not in the capacity of taking it in. It was reeling back to all the events of my dream. As I came back to the park, he was still saying something, but all I could hear was “I will be to you as I am to myself.”
Written by Ashvyki