They cuddled in their normal formation of ‘big spoon, little spoon’ as he jokingly called it. Him, in a fetal position, toned thighs gathered in unison near his stomach… With enough space left for her to sandwich her hands into his obliques. She loved those obliques. She, who stood a whole head and shoulders worth of height under him, snuggled toward his spine. A lavender and sea salt candle infused the room with a floral, musky smell. After a weekend of celebrating their wedding anniversary and two days until the bore of employment returned, they craved rest.
She always fell asleep before him. While many of her female friends failed to understand how she received any comfort that way (and jested much to his playful annoyance that she wore the pants in the relationship), she loved the quirky, unconventional displays of affection that they shared. He loved how beautiful and peaceful that she was when her body stopped fighting her nocturnal nature and allowed itself to submit to sleep. Every morning, to her surprise, they woke up in the opposite position. Her, believing that it somehow ‘just happened’ and him, smirking mischievously as he purposefully waits for her to sleep before turning around.
Tonight was different. There is a difference between a couple that experiences real love and a couple who are familiar with each other solely due to comfortability or convenience. True, organic love has an element of synchronization. From chemistry, to personality traits to intricate hypersensitivities. It was Summer. Everybody perspires, yet his scent was different. Not odorous or offensive. Just different. He had the same routine in terms of work, minimal social outings, same diet. The same action of relieving of his bladder at 3:03 am. Nightly.But somehow, his natural smell was different. Still a pleasure to her nose nonetheless. He had been lighting more candles in the house. He had also been reading before bed. Nothing alarming. All actions that many would overlook or fail to notice. But when two people are connected, nothing goes unnoticed.
She watched him sleep. Adored the curve in his spine that gave him the slightest hunched back. He was by definition, an alpha male yet was the most affectionate and anti- misogynistic man she had ever met. Even without aesthetics, their minds melded- from humor to pet peeves to morals. They were a perfect match. She crept out of the bed, tiptoed down the hallway to fix herself a cup of Jasmine Tea. She bought the cup back to the room and rested it on her side of the bed side table. After taking a few mouthfuls of the fragrant, sweet liquid, she snuggled behind him and fell asleep.
The sound of breaking glass and a violent splash caused her to jump. Suddenly, hot, gripping hands constricted around her throat, as she struggled for breath. She opened her eyes and found him, on top of her with his eyes closed and a painful grimace on his face.
“I knew… it…. it was you!” He slurred. She faintly heard him through the mugginess of sleep and shock. She began to thrash her arms wildly against his torso, mustering whatever strength her body could give.
“Hon…. Honey. Wh…. What.. are… you… doing?” She yelled hoarsely, with limited breath. She was becoming increasingly light headed. Almost at an instant, he opened his bloodshot, feral and tearful eyes at the sound of her voice. She scrambled out of bed, fear in her eyes, fighting for air and holding her neck. He leapt over the bed and held her tightly within his arms- “I’m sorry” tumbling from his mouth several times. She stood defensively. This is beyond out of character.
“Why the hell did you put your hands on me?!” She cried, in disbelief.
He had a dazed expression on his face, his body rife with sweat.
“I…. I don’t… know.” He mumbled, almost inaudibly.
“No- that is not good enough. What the f-?”
He put a hand over her mouth softly and nestled his face into her hair. She was no longer scared of him. He was not the stranger he was 3 minutes ago.
“I don’t know what came over me. I’ve been having these dreams.”
“What dreams? When? Why didn’t you tell me.?”
“Of the day that my Uncle died.”
That sent an automatic chill down her spine. His Uncle’s death was almost 15 years ago. He was in a youth behavioral programme at the time. There was no possible way for him to have been there.
“But you weren’t…”
“It….” His voice broke. She let him speak and turned around to console him.- leading him to sit on the bed, while she stood facing him.
“It has been happening over the last month. I keep seeing what happened that day. Like I was there.”
“How do you know it’s not just a bad dream hun?”
“My Uncle’s talking to me in it. He says to ‘pay attention’. It’s not just a dream. “
His head was heavy on her bosom. She could feel silent tears on his face.
“But I don’t understand. It was unsolved. And how does this explain you attacking me?”
“I was still dreaming, I’m so sorry. I saw his girlfriend’s face and I saw her ‘nod’ at somebody…”
“The other times I would wake up. But his time… I….”
His voice broke again.
“What happened this time honey?”
“I saw them murder my Uncle.”