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Fantasy Romance Science Fiction

Wow, this has to be the most exciting Thursday morning I have had since the college dorm days, I think to myself as I gaze through the window of my mother's sedan at the trees on the side of the highway as we pass by. It was quickly enough that they looked as though they were all identical; bearing the same intense hunter green foliage you only see this vibrantly in the last of summer days. I try to spot the differences with an intense, yet vacant glare and it was truly the hardest I have tried to ignore my ruminating thoughts since I can remember. Despite my best efforts, the teeter toter of thoughts, hopes and insecurities just kept leveling up and down in my mind. On the one end: loving excitement and the other: utterly ill with apprehension. I eventually succumbed to it and lied my head back, closed my eyes and took a slow deep breath. I said a prayer and finally tuned into the conversation my mother was having with the man in the car behind us, to herself, of course after merging off of the busy highway.

"Oh, okay. I guess I'm the asshole for not running the red light. How about you quit revving your engine up my ass, at 9am, drunk hillbilly!" she says derisively as we sit at the stop light.

I chuckle, it's not as much of the lightweight road rage as it is the narrative she creates for the other drivers that are perfect strangers. I never liked her doing it with my friends and their parents or certain family members, but for some reason I have always found Mom's traffic banter amusing. She definitely had a quirky sense about her with that fiery Italian American temper. Although, that has considerably subsided over the years, we still see the tantrums come and go on occasion, it's more sarcasm and pouting in her golden years, which she is fiercely unapologetic about. She seemed much happier than not at these times, which afforded us a more quality friendship than latter-day.

"You're so quiet, I bet you're nervous... understandably. But don't worry yourself. I know I was semi neurotic at the thought of my daughter flying out of the country to meet some man she met on the internet, but when he came here to meet us, I know in my heart that he is a good man and will take care of you and Sam. What is the name of the location you are staying in again? Like, I know its South Africa but where there?" she spews out in what sounds like a mile a minute run-on sentence, which my clouded brain fumbles to process.

"He lives in Durban, where I'll be staying the night when I arrive and then we will be going just a bit South of there to the Umlalazi Nature Reserve, on the coast of Indian Ocean." I answer, distant and softly.

"Oh, Anna that just sounds so wonderful and romantic! You're going to love it. Just don't drink the water!" she says with visible over excitement that feels too intense for me at the moment.

Traveling alone was the first source of my anxiety that I am forcing myself to believe is just a small hurdle I have to overcome and will then see that there was no need to tie my thoughts up with fear initially, while arriving safely and mentally intact. Mom knows I tend to be aloof in intense circumstances, so I know she isn't taking my silence personally and I feel relieved that she doesn't feel the urge to pry.

Mother finally finds the airport drop off without verbally abusing anyone else. As much as I was desperately craving the silence at the time, as soon as her navy-blue Toyota disappeared out of sight, I was riddled with the fright of an abandoned child. I really don't understand myself at times. I open the ticket information on my email and head to the check in and find my gate, still in a haze from the mental exhaustion that the anxiety insisted from my brain chemistry for weeks now. I'm relieved slightly when I remember that I packed the Ambien in my carry-on...

You got it right; I breezed through the first half of the flight with a double dose of nighty night medicine and was dazed enough at the layover in Switzerland to have a glass of merlot and listen to some Pink Floyd to pass the time there. I was so hungover from the racing thoughts and prescription sleep meds that it makes me sad to look back and see how I was so tolerant of being so fearful and uncertain throughout life. Does everyone else medicate themselves as a result of anxiousness and fear? I ask myself as I pray that the fog clears and I can begin to enjoy my thoughts again. It dawns on me that I need to think more positively before I drive myself mad. I recall something Jasper always says when I'm feeling down and/or anxious,

'No point in feeling down and out, it's never helped anyone or any situation. Think of the good, count your blessings and pray that it refreshes your worried heart and mind.'

I close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, then open them and scan the room. The busy Swiss airport starts to come more alive to me. I feel the sense of urgency in the room from the busy passengers, going from one gate to the next, in a quick pace. I see the bright teal blue carpet radiate from the floor. This eases me and I feel pleased. I notice a woman bearing striking resemblance to myself, medium build, long dark brunette hair, fair skin and red lipstick. I marvel at the thought of how many doppelgangers of myself could be out in the world. I wonder where she's from. I notice she looks happy, with her cup of coffee and engaged in conversation with a handsome and well looked after older man. I smile about this and redirect my attention to the delicate sound of Floyd playing through my earbuds as the song switches to Echoes; one of my top five preferred songs, I'd say. What I love most about this tune is the fact that every time I hear it, I come to another realization. Whether it is my own self, someone else or just the meaning behind the song in general. I close my eyes again, paying close attention to the lyrics and ignore the hustle and bustle for a while.

Overhead the albatross

Hangs motionless upon the air

And deep beneath the rolling waves

In labyrinths of coral caves

The echo of a distant time

Comes willowing across the sand

And everything is green and submarine

It's trivial how hard it is to claw your way out of the dark depths of your mind sometimes, but the relief you feel when you lift up your metaphorical 100-pound foot and take that first step out of your own head is priceless.

Feeling very grateful for the change in mindset, I board the plane to my final destination feeling a much better variety of anxious. In just seven hours, I get to spend the next week with my love and I begin to daydream of the new memories that will manifest from this long journey. Jasper has been over to see me in the states twice now and this happens to be my first venture over to him. I have only left the country a few times, many years ago and certainly not alone.

The arrival to J was perfect, beyond any expectation I could ever fathom. Just seeing his gorgeous smile at the gate melted a million fears. I was beyond ready to take this adventure; he was worth every mile and the next week was filled with pure love, passion, exploration, alluring sights and so much more that rattled all of my senses (in the best way possible). It's always magic with him, but this was a different kind due to the fact that I was completely out of my element. He has a way of always making me feel loved, even during the few challenges we have had as a long-distance couple. I never felt as though he was trying to groom me into being some beddable woman that could be put on a shelf and taken down on occasion when he wants to play. Oh boy does this type of man seem to be the majority anymore...

We awoke the last morning to the blaring sun peering through the blinds. I am faced away from him as I open my eyes and have to remember again where I am. It comes to me as I stretch my arms up with a grin, then roll over to face him, allowing my arm to gently fall onto his back. I giggle at the sight of his dirty blonde disheveled, yet sexy hair. He opens his light blue eyes with a slight squint as though they are smiling.

"Oh hey. Good morning..." he says softly with a quiet yawn that muddles his accent, just a bit.

"Good morning, babe. Do you hear the beach calling us?" I whisper, coyly.

"I certainly do, love. Let's make a coffee and head down."

Being an outstanding morning and afternoon and all, bouncing back and forth from the beach and town, then back to the condo a few times, as well- something in the air just felt strange. Not because I was catching the red eye and heading back home later that night, (that was simple enough knowing that he is coming in only one short month to stay). More so like we may have unlocked the eighth day of the week or something of the sort. Perhaps God gave us a rebate on leap year this time around the sun, I crack to myself in my thoughts. We decide to close the day by heading back to the shore to watch the sunset. We put on a mix of mellow music as we sit there, enjoying the mystical and beautifully colored view and still pondering on the peculiar feeling of the day.

"Maybe it's just a soulmate thing we are feeling? Like, it's just us?" he asks rhetorically with a tiny giggle and sincere smile.

We sit in sweet silence for some moments after, admiring the view of the beautiful Indian Ocean; it's breathtaking. Funny how I have never heard this discussed throughout my life in The States. The alien feeling deafens slightly at the sight of the blaring reddish- orange sun that is slowly traveling to set in and rest for the night. This sunset is like no other I have ever witnessed, having seen my fair share, this time felt previously unencountered. As hard as I try, something won't let my eyes peel away until it hides under the horizon like a shy child behind his protector. We are satisfied with the beautiful experience, attempt to ignore the odd feeling and stand up to stretch in preparation to head back to the condo to get situated for my departure.

As we gather our things in the dimly lit late evening hue, I begin to notice a light coming from somewhere far in the distance. I turn around to find the source and it looks as though the sun is peeking back over the horizon. Feeling puzzled, I think to myself that this must be some sort of anomaly on this side of the planet that I've never heard of. Why didn't J mention this before? How cool...

That feeling of confusion turns very rapidly into an overwhelming and a seemingly hallucinatory experience that my brain cannot process- at all, in this split second. The sun went from a weak slow peer from the ocean to hundred miles per hour, directly overhead.

"Jasper...." is all I could mutter but the sound of my voice wraps all of the way around us, in an almost soft undertone.

He grabs me around the shoulders with both arms in an attempt to shelter me, not really knowing from what, exactly. The sun grows wider by the second until it almost seems to completely eclipse the Earth. It wasn't blaring hot; not even as uncomfortable as a sun burn, but warm and I feel myself to begin to unwillingly relax. I look over to him...

"Are you okay?" and hear myself again in what seems to be a subtle surround sound.

He nods, vacantly.

We subconsciously redirect our attention back to the circling sky and notice that pieces of the sun begin to separate into some kind of star/triangle hybrid; a shape I've never seen, it was sharp yet soft in appearance. The pieces break off little by little, gracefully until they are but a mass of "day-time stars" is how I can best describe. I had tuned out the music playing through my phone, until now, due to the intense circumstances. Now that the sun's puzzle laid scattered across the sky, my other senses begin to reel. I feel light and very unfamiliar, although I know myself more than ever in the same instance. Everything that frustrated, hurt and guilted me in the past I completely and clearly understood and embraced. Everything. All at once. It was like some sort of spiritual algorithm was downloaded into me and with complete certainty, I knew we were okay. The only doubt that remained was what this was exactly and why it was in occurrence? I wonder and begin to feel saddened on why this is the only thing kept from us. My mind seems to quiet long enough to hear the music I had involuntarily ignored throughout. That song I never knew the whole meaning to, all at once, until now...

Strangers passing in the street

By chance, two separate glances meet

And I am you and what I see is me

And do I take you by the hand

And lead you through the land

And help me understand the best I can?

And no one calls us to move on

And no one forces down our eyes

No one speaks and no one tries

No one flies around the sun

"Ah, babe. I know where we are now..."

September 09, 2023 03:09

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1 comment

Emily Holding
21:08 Sep 14, 2023

Loved the Mom’s road rage, and will be stuck thinking about how many doppelgangers I might have now. Also, the 100-pound foot metaphor is spot on, as is the line about not being made into ‘some beddable woman that could be put on a shelf and taken down on occasion when he wants to play’ *chef’s kiss*.

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