The old woman’s words

June 27, 2015 at 12:00 AM

The estimated reading time for this post is 24 minutes, 47 seconds

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1.

‘Nobody likes you. Nobody ever has and nobody ever will.’

‘Not true…’

‘Yes it is. Why would you think otherwise? What’s there to like about you?’

‘What do you know about me? Can’t you just leave me alone?’

‘People just pretend to like you, but everyone hates you.’

I’m sitting in the back of the bus, there are no passengers but me and her. Her words are poison. I see her every day. And every day she tries to break me down with her words.

‘You don’t know me,’ I tell her.

‘Oh but I do. I know everything about you. Even the small things. For instance I know that you take off your shoes every time after you enter your house. Oh yes…’

I look at the old woman. I feel very disturbed by what she just said to me. Is she following me? She doesn’t take her eyes off me.

‘Keep following me around and I’ll call the police.’

She doesn’t respond and keeps staring at me. A grin appears on her face.

‘Just leave me alone.’ I say as I get out of my seat to get off the bus. It’s not my stop yet, but I don’t want to stay on the bus with this woman. Her presence feels very familiar, but creeps me out regardless. I walk towards the door as the bus starts to slow down.

‘This isn’t your stop yet. Where are you going? It’s not like you have any friends or family to go to. Nobody wants to see you.’

I don’t reply to her. I just want to get off the bus as soon as possible. The bus stops and the doors open. I don’t greet the driver and get out. I start walking and the bus drives on. The streets and pavements are empty. As the bus passes me, I look at the window and see the old woman still staring at me. I can see her lips moving and I can make out some of her words.

‘I’ll be watching you,’ is what she says.

I don’t understand why the woman is doing this to me. I don’t know her, but for some reason she knows me. I get lost in my thoughts as I walk home. It’s supposed to be a 20 minute walk, but in a blink of the eye I arrive. I snap out of my thoughts and realize that I’m in front of my house. I look around a few times to see if the woman is somewhere, hiding in the bushes or behind a car. But there’s nobody around.

The streets still are completely empty. I take off my shoes, open the door and go in, closing the door behind me. I lean against the door and close my eyes. I shouldn’t let her words get to me. But her everyday demeanor is messing with my mind. As I stand there, I don’t notice that someone has been ringing the doorbell for minutes now.

2.

That’s not a doorbell. The door of my room blazes open and a wall of light blasts through the opening, almost blinding me. There’s a person standing in the doorway.

‘Good morning dear, time to wake up! I’ll be waiting for you downstairs.’

‘Yeah, thanks. I’ll get up.’

‘Breakfast is ready,’ my wife says as she walks off.

Close the goddamn door then. I turn off the alarm clock and get up. I feel bad. Every morning I feel bad. These dreams are getting to me, they’re breaking my spirit. They started about 2 months ago and I haven’t been able to live normally since. At first they didn’t bother me, dreams happen. But every night the same kind of dreams? Every night, seeing the same old woman, hearing insults over and over… it gets to me. Then on top of that, I’ve been feeling that I’m not appreciated by anyone. Not even by my own wife. I haven’t had energy for a long time.

I go downstairs after having showered and getting dressed to find my wife sitting at the breakfast table. She looks at me as I sit down and start eating.

‘How you feeling today Jeff?’ Joanna asks as she looks up from the newspaper.

‘I’m fine,’ I respond to her.

‘Yeah? Did you sleep okay? You look pretty tired.’

‘I said I’m fine, really.’

She keeps looking at me. It bothers me.

‘What? Why are you looking at me like that?’

She takes off her reading glasses and puts them down on the table.

‘Alright dear, it’s just that I’ve heard you talk in your sleep for a while now. I worry about you. I mean, I don’t want to be annoying or anything but I find the things you say in your sleep… a bit disturbing.’

I look at her and ask: ‘What am I saying then?’

‘Well… I wrote down a few things,’ she says as she takes a piece of paper out of her pocket and unfolds it.

‘You might want to read them for yourself.’

‘I don’t want to read them for myself. Just tell me what I’m supposedly saying in my sleep.’

She puts on her reading glasses again and starts reading with a frown.

‘Okay. You are saying that you are totally fucking useless. You tell yourself that everybody hates you, that you’re better off not existing. You hate yourself. Then you also say that nobody will ever love you. Everybody is useless except…’

I cut her off during that last sentence and grab the note from her hand, I crumple it up and put it in my pocket. ‘You’re making this up! Why would you say these things to me?’

‘I’m not making this up, sweetie. I love you and I worry about you.’

‘Yeah right,’ I say as I get up from the table, ‘stuff like this really shows how much you love me. I’m off to work.’

I grab my coat and leave the house. It’s pouring outside. I walk towards the bus stop with my head down, my hands in my pocket, able to feel the crumpled note in my pocket. Did I really say all that?
I stand underneath the small shelter at the bus stop, looking at the drops of rain that fall on the pavement. My head aches. Normally I wouldn’t take the bus, but my brother borrowed our car to go on vacation. He left a few weeks ago. It hasn’t been that bad to go to work using public transportation though, it’s just that I don’t feel comfortable being in the same bus that appears in my dreams. I live in constant fear, irrational as it may be, that this old woman will appear in the seat behind me or next to me.

As the bus arrives, I look through the windows to see if she’s there. But to my great relief, she’s not. I get in and prepare myself for a mentally exhausting day.

3.

Cubicles. A lot of people fear ending up in one, the hopes and dreams that they had as a kid lost and soon forgotten for they will spend an eternity working in that cubicle. I for one don’t mind working in one. It gives me the rest that I need, it makes it possible for me not having to interact with colleagues.

As I sit in my workspace I stare at my screen. My mind drifts off to my dreams and the way I’ve been feeling the past weeks. I woke up one morning with an ache in my neck and a headache stronger than I had ever felt before. I had a nightmare that night. I can’t remember much from the dream, except that I was in a room and I couldn’t move. I wasn’t alone, there were people around me. But of course I can’t remember the details of the dream. It’s normal to forget what a dream is about.

Every night the same type of dreams however, 5 or 6 every night, will help to remember what they were about. And that for 8 weeks. More than 250 dreams where my self-esteem is broken into pieces have made me question my own qualities and the value of my existence. And after each restless night I have to start the same routine where my colleagues don’t appreciate my work, people on the street ignore my existence and then I come home to a wife who says to love me still, while deep down inside I know that she’s just pretending.

For hours I had been sitting at my desk, overthinking things. I went out during lunch time to take a walk, hoping that the fresh air would do me some good. But who the hell was I kidding. It was raining.

The same anxiety from this morning takes over while waiting for the bus to take me home. But once again, the woman isn’t there. I haven’t spoken to many people at work and I feel tired as usual. As I return home and enter the house, I greet my wife who is sitting at the dinner table.

‘Your brother called. He said he’ll bring back the car tonight after 9,’ she says.

‘Okay, thanks. By the way, I’m not very hungry. I just want to get some rest.’

‘Are you alright though? You know I didn’t want to bother you this morning with that note. I just want to take care of you.’

‘I’m alright,’ I lie to her. I go straight upstairs to our bedroom. I close the curtains quickly, making them shift back and forth for a little while. I lay down on the bed situated in front of the window. With a restless mind troubling me, it takes hours to fall asleep.

4.

‘I told you that everyone hated you. Did you see the way everybody was looking at you at work? How nobody wanted to talk to you? How everyone tried to avoid you?’

‘It’s not true.’

‘Do you believe that? You really are stupid. By the way… who were you looking for yesterday at your front door?’

‘What? I wasn’t looking for anyone.’

‘Oh but you were though, I saw you. I was there.’

I’m in the city park, although I don’t remember how I ended up here. The old woman is here as well. I’m not entirely sure where she came from. She just appeared. I look at her while she’s talking to me.

The woman has very few facial expression. I always assumed that she was old, judging by her grey hair, however she doesn’t have that many wrinkles. I think it’s her creaky voice that creates the impression of an old woman. Her eyes are empty, there’s no life in them at all. When she talks, only her mouth moves, it seems like the rest of her face is glued stuck.

‘Is there a reason why you are stalking me?’ I hesitantly ask her.

‘I have my reasons. I just have to do it,’ she replies.

I get off the bench I had been sitting on and walk away. I look over my shoulder to see if she is following me, but she isn’t. She just stands there with her head tilted.

‘Going somewhere?’ I hear her ask from behind me as I walk in the other direction. I stop and turn around to look at her, but… nothing. She’s gone.

I turn back to keep walking. My heart skips a beat when I turn and I look straight into the woman’s dark, cold, wide opened eyes. She grabs me firmly by both arms and starts talking.

‘I’ll find you again, you know. You’ll never get rid of me. I’ll break you in a million useless pieces and I’ll make sure that you’ll never be whole again.’

She lets go of my arms and throws me hard on the ground. I knock my head on the solid rock pathway and I slowly lose consciousness.

5.

I wake up on the floor of my room. Unclear as to how I managed to roll this far out of bed, I sit up. Another nightmare. I look at the alarm clock on my nightstand and see that it’s not even past 11 PM. As I glance past the clock on the nightstand, I notice that my wife isn’t in bed yet.

Sigh… I stand up and go to the bathroom to get some water. Even though it’s still early night, I don’t want to go to sleep again. As I splash some water in my face and look at my pale face in the mirror, I can hear some voices downstairs. My wife is still up and talking to someone. I listen to the voices, but I can only pick up some of the things they’re saying.

‘I’m worried about him still. I think he’s even hallucinating sometimes.’

‘It’s not your fault.’

‘But it is though, he’s my husband…’

‘I know he is. And he’s my brother… I also remember how he was before and… he changed.’

‘You think I should do something?’

‘You can’t control the man’s dreams…’

‘…but he changed so much. And I never expected him to turn out like this.’

‘We just have to accept him for who he is now. Unless you want to involve some doctors in this.’

‘Shouldn’t I intervene myself? It’s getting worse every day. And I told you about all those things I wrote down. All I wanted in life was a husband who would love me more than anything.’

I’m not sure what I just heard. The way my wife and brother are talking about me. Over the weeks I’ve been getting more and more convinced that the old woman from my dreams might be right.
I smack myself in the face. Stop it! It’s crazy to think that way, because damn… a dream is just a fucking dream. But everyone around me is either disappointed in me, or thinks I’m worthless. Everywhere, at work, at home. Even on the streets people look away as I pass.

Confused, I walk back to my room, closing the door behind me. There’s a small glimmer of light shining through the curtains which I hadn’t closed properly before. I know where the light is coming from. Our room is situated above the toolshed that I built years ago. I installed a backyard light system as well which turns on as soon as it gets dark outside. I suppose I should get some rest anyway. I walk towards my bed and the curtains and grab them.

Just before shutting them, I notice a bit of movement in the light outside. I take a closer look to see what’s moving in the distance. Is it the garden gate that’s open? No, it can’t be. It’s always locked.
It takes me short while to realize that I’m not staring in the distance… I notice that I’m looking right at a pale face, just centimeters away from me. I stumble backwards and lose my balance as I recognize the face of the woman standing in front of the window.

‘Did you hear the way they were talking about you? I told you that everybody hated you. Do you believe me now? Do you finally get it?’

Her voice sounds muffled through the window, but the fear she normally gives me only got worse.

‘You can’t be here. I’m not asleep, I’m awake… I’m awake…’ I say as I slap myself in the face, trying to convince myself of my own words.

‘Yes, indeed you are,’ she says to me, ‘and so am I.’

I get off the ground and sprint towards my door. I pull the door handle, but the door doesn’t open. I bash on the door, shouting to my wife and brother.

‘They can’t hear you,’ she says with a voice suddenly as clear as crystal.

I turn around and notice that the woman is now in my room. Her black clothing makes her posture very hard to see as the only light that’s shining into the room is the glimmer from the backyard lighting. Her face however, is clearly visible, almost illuminating. I see her gliding towards me, barely moving any limbs to get herself forward. She moves very slowly and keeps speaking to me with only her mouth moving.

‘They will not help you. You don’t live up to anyone’s expectations. You’re a burden to them and to everyone around you. You’d be better off killing yourself. Or I could do it for you.’

‘No! Get away from me!’ I shout to her as she is almost face to face with me.

Suddenly she jolts forward and grabs me by the neck, choke holding me. I try to release myself from her grip, but she’s unnaturally strong. I can’t breathe anymore…

‘Why?…’ I whimper out with my last breath.

‘I’m doing the world a favor. You’re totally fucking useless, remember?’

6.

‘Jeff?!’

‘Get him up from the ground! Put him on the bed!’

Their voices echo through my head as I slowly regain my vision.

‘Joanna? Clarence?’ I whisper.

‘Yes dear, it’s us. What happened to you? You were shouting so we ran upstairs and we found you laying on the floor…’

I look at the faces of my wife and brother.

‘Jeff? What happened?’ my wife asks again.

‘It was her… she tried to choke me. The woman from my dreams…’ I tell her.

Joanna looks at my brother. He nods to her.

‘We’re going to get you some help, get you to a doctor,’ she says.

‘I don’t need a doctor. I’m not crazy! I need a… a… a gun, a weapon or something, so I can get rid of the creep! It’s her who did this to me! We need the police or… you know. Someone.’

‘Jeff, we know what’s best for you. We’re going to get you fixed up okay? Get you safe again.’

‘But she’ll find me!’

‘No she won’t, I will make sure of that, I promise,’ my wife says. ‘Now, get up and get dressed so we can go to the doctor. The doctor can help.’

I hesitantly get up, get dressed and follow them downstairs.

‘You’ll be driving, Clarence?’

‘Yeah, I will.’

The three of us get in the car and drive off. I sit in the back of the car, my arms folded. I’m looking around nervously, trying to ignore the burning feeling of discomfort that’s rushing through my head. She’s going to get me before we arrive at the doctor. I know it.

‘Jeff, it’s going to be a long drive, so take some rest. That’ll keep your mind off things,’ my wife says, trying to get me back in my comfort zone.

‘I don’t feel like taking some rest,’ I reply to her while I unfold my arms. I stick my hands in my pocket and feel something. Oh right… that stupid note. I take it out of my pocket, unfold it and read through it. I didn’t even think about it reading it for myself before.

7.

————————————————————————————

Dream talk:
I’m fucking useless.
I’m totally fucking useless.
Why am I even alive?
I don’t care about them.
Everybody hates me.
Nobody will ever love me.
Everybody is useless except my wife.
I deserve it all.
It’s better this way.
People only pretend to like me, but they hate me.
I don’t blame them.
I’m better off dead.

————————————————————————————

Reading the note gives me some very disturbed feelings. The things I read in the artsy handwriting of my wife match up with the things the old creep tells me. I keep staring at the words… Something isn’t right.

‘What you got there, dear?’ my wife asks me.

‘It’s the note you wrote. You know? With the things I supposedly said in my sleep?’

‘Will you stop looking at that? It’s not helping,’ my brother says as he looks over his shoulder at me.

‘Keep your eyes on the road please…’ I tell him.

‘It’s just weird… this list of things. I mean, I’m starting to believe that I actually said them while I was asleep. Because…’ I pause to look up from the note to my wife who turned herself in her seat towards me.

‘…the woman in my dream tells me these things as well. And I was believing what she said. But something on the note doesn’t match with the rest.’

My wife keeps looking at the note, then turns her gaze towards me.

‘Like what?..’

‘You never noticed that this whole list consists of me hating everything and everyone, including… well… especially myself, yet I happen to speak positively about you?’

My wife looks at my brother. He keeps his eyes stuck on the road.

‘You just love me that much. I know you do, and I’m so happy that you do,’ she replies.

‘Maybe… I just think it’s weird.’

‘We’re here. This is the address, right?’ my brother says as the car stops. My wife nods. He gets out and opens the door for me. I get out, leaving the note on the backseat of the car. He slams the car door shut and lays his hand on my shoulder. Joanna wraps her arm around mine. We walk towards the freestanding building we parked in front of. The house in front of us is old, but in a good state. It’s not in the city, that’s for sure, but I don’t recognize the immediate surrounding area.

‘What’s this building?’ I ask.

‘It’s where we’ll fix everything,’ my wife replies.

We walk up the stairs and she knocks on the big door of the dark building. This can’t be a hospital. I want to ask again what kind of building it actually is, but as soon as I want to open my mouth to talk, the light turns on inside. A silhouette, visible through the glass window of the door moves towards the entrance.

‘Say Joanna, this doesn’t really look like a hospital or doctor’s office. Are you sure we’re at the right address?’ my brother asks as he looks at my wife.

She doesn’t respond to him and I can feel my wife’s grip around my arm tightening. I look at her. My brother is still looking at her as well, slightly confused by her sudden change in behavior. I try to move my arm a little bit so she would loosen her grip, but she doesn’t even look in my direction as I do so. She keeps looking at the silhouette that’s slowly getting closer and as the door opens I can make out a familiar face. One that I don’t like to see. One that makes me panic.

‘That’s her! We have to leave! Now! She’s the one that’s been doing all of this to me!’ I shout. My brother looks away from me, and turns his eyes towards the strange figure that appeared in the open doorway. I feel paralyzed and can’t move, my brother lets go of my shoulder, switching his gaze between the woman and Joanna.

‘Hello doctor,’ my wife says.

The woman speaks with her creaky voice while looking at me, tilting her head: ‘Good evening. Oh. I remember you. How are you feeling?’

I don’t dare to say anything to the woman who’s been haunting me. I turn to my wife and brother.

‘Please, get me away from her.’

‘Joanna, what’s going on?’ my brother asks. A few seconds of silence pass.

Without replying to him, Joanna reaches inside her jacket pocket and pulls out a gun. She puts the side of the gun in front of my face and shoots Clarence through the head without a second of hesitation. My eyes grow large as the noise of the gun rumbles through my ears, followed by a loud high pitched tone caused by the loud bang. My brother falls over sideways onto the hard stone tiles covering the steps of the stairs.

‘Jesus!’ I yell out.

I pull my arm out of her grip and back away from her towards my brother. I kneel next to Clarence and look at him. My hand shakes as I move it over my brother’s body.

‘Shush honey, everything will be okay soon. Don’t worry about a thing,’ my wife says as I sit there in the cold. I take Clarence’s hand and feel his pulse.

As I look up to Joanna, she continues talking to the old woman, her eyes still focused on me and my brother she just shot.

‘Things didn’t go the way I wanted them to. Can you help me out?’

‘You know there’s no refunds on my services, right?’ the old woman replies calmly and appears to be unmoved by what just passed on her doorstep.

‘I know, I’ll pay you. Just… help me out.’

‘Alright then. I’m not going to take care of that body though.’

‘Understood.’

‘Just give me one second,’ she says while turning around to shuffle back inside. I slowly get on my feet and want to run away, run to the car to drive away and find a way to call the police, but as soon as I stand up straight, Joanna points her gun at me.

‘Please don’t run,’ she says coldly, with a slight tremble in her voice.

‘Found it!’ the woman shouts from inside the building. She shuffles back to the door and holds up her arm. ‘It’s easier to get him inside this way.’

I look at the object she’s holding and as soon as I see the needle in her hand, she jumps forward and smashes the thing in my neck. I drop down on the stairs, next to my brother.

Darkness takes me…

8.

My head… I want to hold my head and try to pressure away the headache, but I can’t move my arms. What is this? I slowly open my eyes and try to make out objects in the room. I look to my left and I manage to identify some cutting tools. To the right of me is a chair. I know this room.

‘Don’t hate me for this, please.’

‘Who said that?’

The high pitched beep is still rushing through my ears as I try to recognize the voice. I lift my head to look around the room. My vision is getting clearer by the second. At the end of the table I’m strapped onto I see a familiar face.

‘Joanna? What’s going on?’

‘I never wished for this to happen… I just wanted you to love me more,’ she says while her eyes start tearing up. She still has the gun in her hand and she’s shuffling around on the spot uncomfortably.

‘What did you do to me?’

She walks to the side of the table. She grabs my hand and talks.

‘I wanted you to love me more. You never loved me enough. You had so much love to give to everything and everyone in life. But not to me…’

I look in her eyes which are tearing up.

‘Why did you make me do this?! Why did you hate me?!’ she suddenly yells at me with a touch of hysteria in her voice. She throws the gun on the floor and clenches her hands around the edge of the table.

‘What did you do to me? And what did I do?’

She looks away from me and smirks. ‘What did you do? Do you hear yourself?’

She drops down on her knees next to the table and holds my hand while cracking her neck: ‘I… never got the feeling that you truly appreciated me. I… did everything for you. But why would you hate me then?’

‘I never hated you…’ I tell her.

‘Yes you did! You did so often! Of course you will never admit it!’ she shouted.

I look at her, and she just stares right back at me. I don’t know what’s going on anymore. I don’t even recognize her like this. A silence rushes through the room for minutes. I don’t dare to breathe too loudly or say anything. Joanna tries to hold back more tears while she keeps looking at my hand which she still hasn’t let go of.

Suddenly the sound of a door opening tears up the silence and both of us turn our heads towards the door. We all know who’s entering the room. The same shady old character that’s been creeping me out for a long time. She stands still in the doorway.

‘Shall we?’ she says.

‘Yes. Yes, help me out,’ my wife says to her.

The old woman moves around the room slowly while she starts talking. My body goes completely numb from seeing the figure this close to me, especially now that I can’t defend myself or run.

‘An interesting one, this guy. I got years of experience with this kind of stuff. I even reconstructed my own body and face. But thousands of operations on my resume and I’ve never ever seen a case like this before. I mean… did I mess up? I might’ve.’

She rushes towards me after speaking and bends over me, taking my head in her hands, examining it.

‘Yes… I think I might’ve messed up this time. But, accidents happen. Mistakes happen. I’m human after all. Well, 40% human, 60% plastic and chemicals,’ she says with a grin while turning her head to look at my wife.

‘What did you do to me…’ I ask her.

My wife gets up and walks back to the end of the table. The old woman turns back to look at me, breathing heavily. She still doesn’t let go of my head.

‘You see that woman over there? She is the most messed up human I’ve seen in a long time. She tells me that you don’t love her enough. I tell her that she could be right. Or wrong. Whatever she wants to hear, that’s exactly what I will tell her. She comes to me and asks me if I could mess things up in your brain. She asks me to screw up the way you feel about things. Basically, she wanted me to make you love her more.’

‘Is this true?’ I look at my wife. She stands at the end of the table, and nods. She then rises her hand and slowly gives a thumbs up, combined with an awkward smile. The old woman forces my gaze back on her.

‘It didn’t turn out too well for you, I guess. Instead of making you love her more, I apparently accidentally ended up destroying your ability to recognize acceptance and love from others. You didn’t even know how to express your own feelings that remained anymore. All that was left was a destroyed self-esteem and even self-hatred. Oops.’

I keep listening to the woman, unable to reply to her. Her hands are still wrapped around my head, the only part of my body that’s not strapped down. She continues talking.

‘She was supposed to get a husband that had nothing but love to give to her. However, at what cost…’

I find the courage to ask her another thing…

‘Why were you haunting my dreams? You terrorized me for weeks, you wore me down until I had nothing left to live for. You followed me everywhere. You even tried to choke me to death tonight.’

She falls silent for a short while. I can hear Joanna sobbing softly in the background.

‘That’s interesting. That wasn’t my intention at all. I just receive the money and do my work. You didn’t tell me that I was involved in his dreams and hallucinations,’ she says while letting go of my head and turning towards my wife.

‘I didn’t know it was you,’ Joanna says.

She turns to face me again.

‘I suppose you don’t remember waking up during my little experiment?’

‘I don’t. But I dreamt about this room before. I couldn’t remember where I had seen it. But now I do remember. I also remember the first time I saw your face,’ I reply to her.

‘Yes… Interesting. It seems your destroyed self-esteem and inability to recognize acceptance took the form of the one person you saw, the moment they were being triggered.’

‘Which was you…’

‘Interesting,’ she says again.

Everything that has happened in the past weeks is rushing through my head. I lay silent, simply staring at the ceiling, trying to collect my thoughts and organize them. But it’s no good. My mind is completely numb.

‘Time for me to fix things,’ the old woman says.

‘Can you make sure he doesn’t remember anything from what happened?’

‘That won’t be easy, but I’ll see what I can do.’

‘Everything will be okay, sweetie,’ my wife assures me. I don’t respond to her.

‘I don’t expect you to forgive me. I only expect you to love me even more when this is all over.’

My wife is insane. Still I can’t blame her. I’m not even mad at her. I should be, but I’m not. After all, I do love her a lot. I close my eyes and realize that they did in fact achieve the goal of their previous experiment on me. I feel another sting in my neck and I let the darkness take me again.

9.

‘Jeff! Wake up!’

I open my eyes and notice that my face is stuck to the car window. My wife is looking at me from her seat while I rub the sleep out of my eyes. I sit up straight and greet her.

‘Hey sweetheart.’

‘Hi darling,’ my wife replies, ‘I didn’t want to wake you, but we just got home. You slept so long.’

‘Did I? What time is it?’ I ask her as I look around, trying to remember why we’re in the car.
Joanna looks at her wrist watch and tells me its 10 AM in the morning. She smiles at me and I smile back at her.

‘That was quite the night out for you. You got so drunk that I almost had to carry you back to the car. Good thing I was the designated driver,’ she says, laughing.

‘Oh damn, that’s embarrassing. I can’t remember anything from last night. You’re the best, though! I don’t think there’s any wife better than you.’

‘Oh sweetie, you’re just saying that. Come on, let’s go inside.’

I step out of the car. There’s a cold wind rushing around outside which gives me the chills. I close the car door but before I slam it shut I see something on the rear seat. It’s a small piece of crumpled paper. I take it and unfold it.

I read through it and I can’t help but nervously laugh at the little note.

‘Hey Joanna! Check this out! I found a weird note.’

She stands beside me and reads the text that’s written on it as well.

‘Isn’t this your handwriting, dear?’

She takes the piece of paper out of my hand and looks at it.

‘Indeed it is. It doesn’t matter though, just forget you even found it. You’ll do that for me, won’t you?’

‘Sure. Anything for you. Let me get our coats though, are they in the trunk?’ I reply and I walk towards the trunk of the car.

‘No! No no no! Leave our coats in the car. Don’t open the trunk, I will take care of it,’ Joanna urges me. She grabs my arm and playfully pulls me towards the house. She opens the door and I take off my shoes.

‘For the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I slept this well,’ I say to her before I close the door behind us.

Credit To – TvanK

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