Samantha fidgeted and twitched in her sleep. If Tag hadn’t known her better, he would have said that its habitual, but he knew her. In and out. Something was very wrong whenever she did this, because Samantha was much like a polar bear whenever she slept. In hibernation, with not a care in the world.
He watched her. She scrunched her eyebrows together, and then suddenly, with no prior warning, shot up in bed. Her eyes wide open, almost delirious. Tag supported himself against the bed and brushed her wild hair with his fingers, hoping the action would bring her some comfort. Maybe she had dreamt of that fire all those years ago, where her parents died and she escaped unscathed. She dreamt of it often. Whenever it happened, he would hold her while she whimpered herself back into sleep. Initially, he used to whisper soothing words to her but with time his embrace sufficed for everything. However, today, he felt the need to talk to her.
“What happened, Sam?” His voice a hoarse whisper in the dark, brought Samantha back to reality.
She looked at him with wide eyes, fear evident in them.
When she spoke, her voice cracked. Tag reached out for the bottle of water on their bedside table and handed it to her. She willingly took it.
After gulping down half the bottle, where the other half spilled onto her because of the urgency with which she drank, he asked her once again, “What happened, Sam?”
“I fell.” She said.
When Tag continued to look puzzled, she elaborated.
“I felt as though I were falling into a bottomless pit. The wind whipped around my hair and time slowed down as I recounted each and every one of my memories. The good and the bad. I thought I would die.” Her eyes teared up and when he reached out to her and she backed away.
“Sam, what’s wrong? Come to me. It will all be okay. Let me just take you in my arms.”
“Why?” she asked.
“What do you mean Sam?” Tag had worry etched all over his face now. He had never seen her so distant, so withdrawn. He couldn’t connect with her. She was there, yet so far away. What’s wrong? He thought.
Samantha looked him up and down, “Who are you?”
Tag’s face contorted with anger. “What the fuck Samantha! Is this your idea of a fucking joke!? Who am I!? I am your husband! What in the name of Jesus is wrong with you?”
She hugged her knees to her chest. Further withdrawn. Further away. She was slipping. Tag ran his hands through his hair. Ten minutes had passed. Ten minutes of pin drop silence.
His wife had lost it. Was she going crazy? There was no further exchange of words. He picked up his pillow and sheets, and walked out of the room. He would speak to her when she knows ‘who he was.’
But when Tag got into bed, all he could think about was, ‘Has she really forgotten?’ She had always been somewhat damaged. Somewhat broken. Had she finally succumbed to her demons?
He spent the rest of the night twisting on the couch. Partially due to discomfort and partially because concerns over Samantha raced through his mind.
As soon as the sun came up, Tag went to the kitchen. He planned to leave early so he didn’t have to face his wife, but when he entered the kitchen, he saw her sitting on the counter, a ghostly presence. She sat there, her back to him, humming tuneless songs and swinging her feet like a child.
Tag sighed as he reached the fridge for milk, but Samantha had other plans. She held his arm in a deathly tight grip, looked into his eyes with utmost sincerity and said, “Listen I really don’t know who you are, apart from what you told me. I don’t, and I am sorry about that. But I do know something with utmost certainty, whoever you are, you are going to die today.”
And with that she left his arm, bounced off the counter and exited through the door.
Goosebumps coated his skin. He was scared of his wife and now he was also scared to go outside. Of the two options he chose to consult Sam.
He purposefully walked towards her. She was now lounging on their sofa, watching television with a bag of crisps, so unlike her. He sat away from her, and trying to make sense of all the bull that was happening in the house. Forcing his voice to be calm, he asked her, “How do you know that I am going to die?”
Reluctantly taking her attention off the TV Samantha said, “Remember when you left the room in a huff when I told you that I had no clue who you were?”
“Well, I got pretty peeved at you. That’s when I had a vision.”
“What vision?” he asked, leaning in.
“Well, it was just you lying dead on a pavement, and honestly, I think you kind of deserve it for blowing up on me.”
She chuckled and munched on a mouthful of crisps.
Tag sighed in relief. God, she had scared him out of his wits. She was joking. She wouldn’t be laughing if she had a vision about his demise. He knew her better; she was just pissed at him. He got up and kissed her forehead and after a fleeting connection with his wife, left to get ready for work.
The day passed as it always did. Once Tag fell into his routine at office, he forgot all that had taken place back home. He had convinced Sam, to drop office for the day and stay at home. They would go for a check-up after. He was sure the doctor would have a perfectly reasonable explanation for the gap in her memory. They could work on it. She would remember everything in no time.
At five, Tag started packing up to leave. He called up Samantha to pick him up from work, and then remembering that she had forgotten everything, texted her his location. It wasn’t very far away from home; she would be able to figure. He walked out of the building and down the staircase. He liked taking the staircase. It gave him some form of movement, and he liked movement.
After reaching the ground floor, his eyes searched the street for his wife. Sam was a punctual gal. As soon as his eyes locked with her, his flat set of lips turned upwards to reveal a brilliant smile. He raised his hands in acknowledgement and excitement. Somewhat like a child whose his parents had come to pick him up from school.
He started towards her in long strides, eager to get an answer for her problem, and positive that he would get a solution. And if not, he would get a chance to woo her all over again. He would be lucky to get two chances to fall in love with the same person.
Samantha, meanwhile, sat in the driver’s seat, with a casual arm hanging out of the window looking at her ‘supposed’ husband coming at her with a foolish smile plastered to his face.
As if she needed fixing; as if she were broken. Had she really married such a man? A man who thought she was damaged goods? His pity disgusted her, the way he looked at her; with innocent eyes, ever so ready to fix everything.
She saw a car speeding in the lane. Tag was on the road. It was a split-second decision; and she made the wrong one. She turned her head to face the street ahead, before she could see it taking place. The death of her husband.
She heard a sickening crunch. Probably bones. His bones. Would he survive?
She wasn’t sure she wanted him to. She hadn’t liked him so far. She used to love him?
No, not possible. He was probably just a fraud that had preyed on her.
Samantha wanted to turn and get a last look at him. Something told her that she shouldn’t, but there was a growing urge inside her every passing second.
She whipped her head to see, not sure what she wanted.
A body on the road. Tag.
A hit and run.
Seeing his corpse, brought everything back to her. How they had fallen in love, gotten married, recently talked about having kids. The inside jokes they shared, his kindness, his laughter, his tolerant nature, their happiness.
Unable to cope with what she had seen and remembered. She did what at that time seemed most sensible to her.
Another car was coming down that street. She jumped in front of it.