(Just a footnote from your friendly neighborhood masochist Princess: The beginning of this post features a decade-old memory as detailed here.)
He leaned his head against mine where I sat trying to read in fading light. Princess. Put your book away.
I want to finish it tonight.
Do that tomorrow. He takes the book, carefully marking my page, and places it on the side table. Then he pulls me to my feet. His pale blue eyes crinkle up into a soft smile. Tomorrow's a big day.
No more training wheels.
No more training wheels.
Henry's going to try riding without them. And yet instead of a bribe Jacob got down on his knees and asked Henry to consider something that might make him feel even more excited than if he got a new toy as a reward for trying something difficult.
Like what? Henry is rapt.
What if you had all kinds of good feelings burst forth from deep inside, the kind that remind you that you're doing your very best?
Those are good but I'm presently collecting Hot Wheels. Henry is as stubborn as his mother.
Jacob laughs out loud. Maybe we can arrange for both Hot Wheels and good feelings?
Deal, Henry is firm. They shake on it. It's official now, can't go back.
He's ready, I tell Jake, who seems concerned suddenly.
You're right. Why are you so calm and sure with them and so unsure about so many other things?
No one's bribing me with Hot Wheels. I laugh and he purposefully flips open my book and moves the bookmark to a random page.
I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU JUST DID THAT.
WELL I DID.
He pulls me in close and I get a kiss. His beard is rough. His hands, rougher as they slide up my ribcage under my shirt. I'm almost off the ground trying to reach his face and I lean into him hard-
I open my eyes. My memory thief is looking at me over his shoulder as he opens up his briefcase and then starts pulling drawers out, dumping them in whole. The briefcase is bottomless, and my memories disappear into the black hole.
Looks like I forgot a few. Sorry about that.
What about the letters you wanted me to read?
Those are instructions and reminders, not walks down memory lane. They can't hurt you.
Neither can he. You are, though.
No, I'm helping.
This isn't helping. Leave me be, Sam. Please.
He finishes the whole filing cabinet and instead of opening the next one he comes over to me. I make a note of which one is left. O though T. Got it. Bridget, we love you and we don't want to see you suffer.
I roll over, pull the quilts in tightly around my frame and close my eyes. If I can drop back into this dream, I'll be able to breathe next time I wake up. Or at least I hope I can.