About

beloved bone of my bones-rapturing love

Myrline Pierre Fils

Text copyright by Myrline Pierre Fils All rights reserved. First Edition The characters, events, and places portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author. ISBN-13: 978-1544623054 Library of Congress Control Number: 2017908873 CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, North Charleston, SC
For my mother, Jeannine, for always believing in me and encouraging me to be myself.
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1. ENCHANTED ENCOUNTER

THE SUMMER AFTER I graduated high school seemed to drag on forever. Perhaps it was because I was too stoked about leaving my father’s house. I’d been accepted to San Mollan University, a prestigious private school located in San Lafae, California. It wasn’t easy getting my dad, Joe Henry, to let me go to college out of state. He would always say, “You live in Boston, Anna-Marie. This is where all the best colleges are. There is no need to go anywhere else.” What Joe didn’t seem to understand was that I’d had it with this town. “Don’t get me wrong—it’s nothing against Boston, Dad,” I replied. But after living under my father’s thumb for four years, I was ready to be free. I had an aching desire to be somewhere else, anywhere else. There was a longing in my heart to see the world. Most importantly, getting away from the iron grip of my dad had become my number one priority. I was going to be three thousand miles away from his rules and craziness. I loved my dad but, after so many years of feeling like his prisoner, I couldn’t wait to be on my own. Joe was a very good father and a good provider, though his parenting style left me feeling oppressed. My half sisters and I could count on him for anything. However, he was obstinately stubborn in his
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views. He ran his household as a dictator and our household as his reign. Joe was also very religious. He often reminded us how he had come to Christ very late in life and that he didn’t want his children to make the same mistakes he had made. Joe was very inquisitive. “Who are you going out with? Will there be boys at this party? Are you all done with your homework?” Even though he already knew the answers to his questions he still had to put us through the ringer. He wouldn’t have even considered letting us go otherwise. That was also a part of the test. He always had so many questions and expected us to answer them in a timely manner, no matter how embarrassing the question was. He assumed any answer that didn’t come as fast as he wanted was a lie. Going away to college had always been a lifelong dream of mine. Finally, my plans had started to gain momentum. I had been dreaming of becoming a pharmacist ever since I was a child. I think it all started when I met my neighborhood pharmacist. My mother needed cough medicine to treat my sniffles. She had several to choose from but had no idea which one to give me. The pharmacist offered his help and answered all of her questions. His kindness, knowledge, and expertise blew my eight-year-old year mind. “Mom, tell me about the guy you were talking to at the pharmacy earlier,” I asked later after we got home. “The pharmacist,” she replied with a chuckle, seeming amused. My mother, Joanna Tims, had the most beautiful smile and musical laugh I had ever seen and heard. Though it seemed out of place, I still enjoyed it. “Yes.” I paused. “How do you become a pharmacist?” Her face turned serious before answering. “Is that what you want to be when you grow up?” She stared at me with a side eye for a moment. My eyes remained fixated on her, impatiently awaiting her answer. “Well, baby, you have to be a very good student, which I know you already are, and study very hard.” She touched my nose with her index finger. I wiggled my nose
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unintentionally and she smiled. “If you apply yourself, nothing’s impossible sweet love,” she added, then kissed my cheeks. She seemed pleased. I couldn’t understand why at the time. Getting a full scholarship pretty much sealed the deal, not only for me, but also for my father. Even though he hated the idea of me leaving, he wasn’t foolish enough to turn down a full ride. Finally, my plans for college felt like they were etched in stone. There was nothing my dad could do to mess it up for me. I spent my whole life trying to please my father. As a daughter, I wanted nothing more than to make him proud of me, and all I asked for in return was unconditional love. But Joe was the type of person who gave out praise only when he was at the controls. I didn’t want to be acknowledged only for doing things his way all of the time. I wanted to be able to step out of his shadow and have the assurance that he would love and cheer me on no matter what. I was elated over the fact that for the first time in what seemed like forever, I was going to be living life on my own terms, thousands of miles away. I felt as if I was letting him down by not doing what he wanted. Then I reminded myself that I was going to be in charge of running my own life sooner or later. Now seemed as a good a time as any. I knew leaving home would be a great experience though sometimes the thought of being on my own was terrifying. It was my first time leaving the comfort of home, the familiar, the predictable, and the dependable. I loved being part of this community. The people at church had very high regards for my half sisters and me, partly because of my dad. He used to boast how people at church always complimented him on bringing up great kids. Our names were never associated with any of the other hell-raisers in the church, according to him. The only good thing that came out of Joe’s tyranny was that I could spot the troublemakers a mile away. Part of me was looking forward to leaving it all behind. However, another part of me knew
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that I was going to miss it a lot. As days went by, I noticed that focusing on planning my trip to California gave me a chance to take my mind off of what I was going to be missing and helped me gain a new perspective on everything I was going to gain by taking that big step. I wanted to rent a car and drive to San Lafae. That had always been a dream of mine. I’d often pictured myself driving on the highway, the wind blowing through my hair in a topless convertible. I think it was a scene from a movie or a TV show that sort of stuck with me. Joe flat out refused. He gave me two choices: “Either you fly there or stay here.” Worried I might lose it all together, I quickly complied. He was my father after all, and I really loved him. I knew that everything he had done had been out of love. Joe drove me to Boston Logan International Airport, a forty-minute ride, which he took full advantage of by imparting last-minute advice and wisdom. “Remember, Anna-Marie, birds of a feather.” He turned his head to glare at me to make sure he had my undivided attention. “If you hang with a bunch of doctors, people will automatically assume you’re a doctor even though you’re not.” He shook his head and raised his eyebrows. “The opposite is also true. If you have a bunch of thieves for friends, people will also assume you’re also a thief. So be very careful when choosing your friends.” He turned his head from the road to glare at me. Then he mentioned something about how actions have consequences, one of his favorite sayings. I knew he would talk about that. Joe wasn’t saying anything I hadn’t heard before so I mostly nodded until he was done talking. Then, the next phrase he uttered took me completely by surprise. “Anna-Marie, I never thought you’d be going to school so far away from home.” Joe folded his lips, looking pensive. “An opportunity presented itself, Dad. I didn’t want to pass it up,” I responded, staring at the red car in the lane next to mine at the red light, not really understanding his comment.
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“Are you sure this is what you really want?” He took his eyes from the road to stare at me for a while. “Of course, Dad. It’s a free ride for one of the best schools in the country. How could I say no to that?” I turned toward him, meeting his gaze. I couldn’t believe he was testing me at this late hour in the game. I won, dad. Get over it. You’ve oppressed me all of my life. Now I’m free, I thought to myself with a smirk dancing on the edge of my lips. “I worry that I didn’t do such a good job preparing you for all of this freedom. I sheltered you too much.” He pressed his eyebrows together. The highway seemed free and clear. I was delighted. “I think you did okay, Dad. You did the best you could,” I fibbed. He was too heavy-handed as a father. Still, I didn’t want him to feel sad. I never liked being responsible for him feeling down. It always made me feel so guilty. No, AnnaMarie. Not this time. You need to let it go. You need to give yourself a chance, I kept telling myself. I was finally leaving him. That was the only thing that seemed to matter to me at that moment. I laid my hand on his shoulder and rubbed it. “I realize now I should have given you more freedom just to see how you’d deal with it. I’ve been watching you too closely all these years.” Joe rubbed his hand across his forehead. I turned to stare at him thinking, You’ve been downright overbearing, Dad. “I’ll be okay, Dad. Try not to worry so much,” I chuckled. “It’s not your fault you love with a closed fist.” I held my breath waiting for his rebuke, then exhaled at his response. “Wow, I never meant to love you like that. I was too unyielding. I’m sorry. I just wanted to keep you safe.” Joe sounded morose. “I’m not complaining. It’s made me stronger. You did the best you could. It wasn’t fun but it served its purpose.” My voice cracked as I realized I wasn’t saying the right words. Joe squinted as if he’d been stabbed. I scrambled to find the right words to comfort him. “I love you, Dad.” I leaned my head against his shoulder. Okay, I’m going to shut up now. I
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felt so guilty. At last, we arrived at the airport. I was running late, which was a good thing. My dad seemed like he had a lot more on his mind he wanted to share. He handed me a paper shopping bag. I immediately grimaced as I took it from him. I didn’t even bother to look inside. I had no time to waste. I already had a carry-on bag on wheels to drag behind me. And I hated carrying too much stuff in my hands. In addition, I had two suitcases to check in. “Curbside check-in, great!” I said out loud as a short line began forming outside. I was relieved I didn’t have to drag all those suitcases inside. “What time is your flight?” Joe asked. “It’s at 12:30 p.m.; I only have thirty minutes to make it. Thanks for the ride, Dad.” I gave him a hug. “Have a nice flight. Call me the minute you get there. Be good. I love you,” he said, with a pained look on his face. “Will do. Love you too,” I replied, rushing to get away before he started opening the floodgates again. Joe handed me a small bill for the baggage handler just before I turned to walk away. I took off running, hoping the check-in line wouldn’t be too long. It wasn’t. The baggage handler met me halfway to help me with my bags. I tipped him the five dollars my dad had given me. Then I rushed inside the airport. It wasn’t as busy as I originally thought. There were only a few people walking around at a leisurely pace. Still, I wasn’t going to take any chances. I began riffling through my purse trying to dig out my ID and ticket so I’d have everything ready by the time I got to the ticket counter. Realizing I had my head bent down for a while, I looked up and noticed that something was different in the terminal. I just stood there, staggered. It looked strangely brighter and sunnier. My arm went up automatically blocking the glare. It felt as if I was in a totally different place, like I had been transported. Even the air felt different. Confusion washed over me, for I was
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having a great deal of difficulty deciphering what was happening. I stood still in the middle of the airport terminal for what seemed like a very long time. Being late for my flight didn’t appear to faze me anymore. After looking around for a while and not being able to account for the changes in the atmosphere, I gave up. I could feel a commotion coming behind me. Since I was standing right in the middle of the way, I figured I’d better get moving. Simultaneously, coming right at me was the brightest light I had ever seen in my life. It looked as if the sun was walking toward me or I was being propelled by it. My eyes started blinking warily, attempting to adjust and to make sense of what they were seeing. As I got closer, I realized that the brightness was not alone. There was a figure engulfed in it. Convinced that I’d absolutely lost my mind, I stopped walking. The hubbub kept getting closer and closer. I felt lost. What’s going on here? Am I going mad? I expected the transition into my new independent life to be much smoother than that, I murmured to myself. Here I was seeing things moments after I left my father. The figure got clearer as it got closer. Then I became inundated by understanding and confusion at the same time. Understanding because I could clearly see and interpret the apparition. Even though the light was still blindingly bright, my eyes had no difficulty adjusting this time. Confusion because I had no explanation for the light around him. Walking toward me was this celestial being that looked like a man. The distance between us didn’t appear to be that big, but it might as well have been a million miles away. My knees weakened and my body froze. I was still unable to describe him for a while. He appeared to be clothed by the sunlight. As he got closer to me, it became easier. His hair was dark brown and he had high cheek bones and the most beautiful hazel eyes. His shaggy luscious curls touched his shoulders. He seemed to be looking straight at me and, to my surprise, I didn’t behave the way I expected myself to.
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Usually, when I see a guy looking at me, that is my cue to lose interest and look the other way. Besides, getting involved with anyone that didn’t have anything to do with school was never part of my immediate plans. But this time was different. Looking away never even crossed my mind. Though I was conflicted, I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. Still, I had to make time for a reality check and choice moment rant. It was something I did that helped me cope when I left the open-minded, nurturing, safe environment of my mother’s house to go live with my father. When I discovered how narrow-minded and domineering he was, I had to come up with a way to keep myself out of the line of fire and also keep him from completely changing who I was. I taught myself to take everything coming out of my dad’s mouth with a grain of salt. I made sure to analyze every word even though I would choose to go along with him in the end. The reality check was to make sure what my father perceived to be real was actually real. And the choice moment was the decision I had to make after I had arrived at a conclusion: I refused to let him turn me into a robot. After ruling out all the possible reasons that could be causing that type of hallucination and coming up empty, I had to admit that what I was seeing made no sense at all. I chose to go with it. I had never experienced anything like that before. My curiosity got the better of me. At first, I thought he must be looking at someone else behind me. Magical encounters like that didn’t usually happen to me. Immediately, I felt overwhelmed by white noises and low self-esteem. Then, my resolve to talk to him got stronger. I was going to risk what little confidence I had, no matter what ensued. I was standing right in the middle of the terminal, with people walking fast by me, all of them taking a second glance at this cuckoo woman who, with her mouth wide open in somewhat of a smile and big, sparkling eyes, was absentmindedly staring at this man across from her. It’s safe
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to say that I felt like an idiot, but I didn’t really care. Nothing could have made me divert my attention from this daydream. The echoes of the footsteps were getting louder and louder behind me. Still, I stood with my eyes fixated on him. His smiled only seemed to have confirmed my fear: he was definitely not looking at me. Nevertheless, I persevered. Then I saw him raise his left hand up franticly and waving at me. With no response from me, he ducked with his left hand waving above his head and his index finger pointing upward. I was mesmerized by him. I instinctively ducked as if we were playing a game or something. I didn’t know how I managed to do that: I was looking at him and upward at the same time. Out of the corner of my right eye, I saw something heavy and broad fly speedily over my head and simply thought, That one would have hurt. My focus returned to him immediately. “Thank you,” I mouthed. By then, the crowd had caught up to me. The two people carrying the hefty cardboard box that looked like it contained something like a sofa or gym equipment inside of it shouted at me to get out of the way at the last minute. I was so turned around as I hurried to get myself out of harm’s way. They came within inches of running me down. As I scrambled to get out of the way, I noticed that the handle of my shopping bag had broken off and everything that was inside of it had spilled out everywhere: postcards, hundreds of postcards. I was standing in front of a sea of postcards. I could see that Joe had taken the time to address, stamp, and date all of them. He wanted to make sure I had no excuse not to write him. Yet another way he was trying to control me. I panicked. They were being trampled by the crowd. I rushed to pick them up before getting crushed to death and hoped that I got them all. I’m going to have a hard time explaining the shoe prints to my dad, I said to myself. Then I made another discovery, a folded piece of paper, which I quickly folded back and threw inside the bag after reading the caption: Joe’s List of Rules.
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When I looked up, I was a few feet away from my gate. The crowd had dragged me forward at least a hundred feet. I was exasperated. As I started to run back to where I was, where he was, the boarding of my flight was announced over the intercom. I had no choice but to run back so I wouldn’t miss my flight. I was exhausted by the time I boarded the plane. Still, I could not fall asleep. The vision of this beautiful creature haunted me. Of course I was incredulous at what I’d seen. There is no way that was real. Still, I couldn’t help hoping and wishing that he was obsessing over me just like I was obsessing over him. The six-hour plane ride flew by as I spent the entire time fantasizing about all the different scenarios that would have us ending up together and happy in love. Sitting in the back of the taxi as it entered the street that led to the school, I began to relax and appreciate all the beauty that this wonderful city had to offer. The streets were lined with huge silver maple trees, surrounded by the most beautiful green grass, rosebushes, carnations, and hydrangeas. My head swiveled back and forth trying to absorb the scenery. “Boy, is it busy here today? I guess today is check-in time for everybody, huh?” the taxi driver bellowed. “I guess so,” I responded, scanning around and digging into my purse for my itinerary. “Do you know where you’re going exactly?” he asked. “Legend Hall is the building I’m going to. Pull over right here so I can ask for directions.” I paid and got out of the taxi. The driver helped me unload my bags. I just left everything on the sidewalk until I was sure where I was headed. It was very crowded with both kids and parents. “Hey, you seem lost,” a friendly female voice said. My head whirled to make sure she was actually talking to me. I greeted her with a bright smile. “My name is Lisa,” she said cheerfully, extending her hand toward me. I shook it graciously.
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“I’m Anna-Marie.” My smile broadened. “Wow, you have the most beautiful caramel skin I’ve ever seen, so smooth. You make me jealous!” Her whole face lit up as she continued to appraise me. I stood there with an awkward grin on my face. I wasn’t used to other women acknowledging I was beautiful except for my mother and my best friend, Tania. Usually, their faces would light up for a quick second when they saw me then just as quickly the light would be replaced by something else I never bothered to figure out. “Your hair is so silky smooth. We have to talk hair products later,” Lisa said with airiness. She seemed like she wanted to reach up and touch my hair but stopped herself. “You need some help?” she said as she wiggled her fingers. Then she tucked a strand of her beautiful strawberry blond hair, which was flowing in the wind, behind her ear. Lisa looked exactly how I’d always pictured California girls looked: thin, beautiful, with long blond hair. She was a little paler than I expected. I was surprised that her skin wasn’t at all affected by this blazing sun that I started looking forward to seeing daily. The weather in California was a stark contrast from the weather in Boston. “Um, uh, yeah,” I stammered, stupefied by her admiration. “Where is Legend Hall?” I muttered. “Well you’re very close. This is it.” She pointed toward the building we were standing in front of. I went back to where I had left my suitcases. I stared at them with chagrin trying to figure out a way to pull them all behind me in one trip. Then I heard Lisa’s voice coming behind me. “Do you need help with those?” I nodded, beseeching. Lisa’s friendliness took me by surprise, though. “If you don’t mind? They are very heavy,” I responded as I ran my fingers through my hair. “You can help me with this one.” I handed her the lightest one. Lisa seemed very lively, energetic, and knowledgeable about the campus. She walked me to my room and helped me haul my suitcases in. She looked distracted as she took in the room. She
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chuckled, pursing her lips. I couldn’t believe my luck. Her major was also pharm MD. She invited me to join her study group, which was composed of her and three other students, Mark, Shawn, and Brian. She told me where and when they would meet and made me promise to be there. “Wow! How did you manage to get a single room?” she asked, sizing up the room. She opened the door on the far left side of the room, peeking inside. “Even your bathroom is bigger!” She went inside and opened the door on the other side of the bathroom. A scream startled me, and I almost tripped over one of my bags as I spun toward the bathroom to see Lisa hastily exit upon seeing my neighbor. “I’m sorry.” She quickly closed the door. Her hand flew to her mouth to cover her shocked smile. She raised her eyebrows sheepishly. Lisa ran out of the bathroom and closed the door behind her. “Friendly neighbor,” she laughed. She sat on the chair at the desk. “There is a get-together later. You should come!” she uttered in the same breath as she giggled. “I’m not sure I’m in the mood. I feel a little jet lagged. I’m so tired, I could sleep upright. We’ll play it by ear. Where is your room?” I hedged, thoughtfully. The smile on her face disappeared. “Downstairs, room 211, but mine’s a double.” She scowled. As she was about to leave, we decided to exchange phone numbers. We waved goodbye and I closed the door as she walked away. I was so proud of myself. I’d only been here thirty minutes and already made one friend and possibly three more. It was not easy for me to make friends back home, especially with people my own age. Since my father was so strict, I was not allowed to go anywhere but to school, church, and, once I was of age, to my part-time job. He made sure he had my work schedule every week so I couldn’t lie about being at work when I wasn’t. And I could not be friends with girls who had boyfriends. Somehow, my
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dad would always find out what was going on with my friends even before I did. Tania was my best friend. I’d known her since middle school. We were inseparable. Our bond was strong. Though Joe tried to break us up when he found out that Tania had a boyfriend, he could never keep us apart. Eventually, he gave up. We were supposed to be here together. She was going to be my roommate. We planned on doing everything together, but then she got pregnant during our senior year. I was devastated, more for me than for her. It was selfish, I know. But just the thought of having to be here alone made me anxious. The room was very small and bare. I couldn’t imagine having to share it with someone else. It comprised a twin bed with a thin mattress on it, a small desk, a chair, and a four-drawer chest. I stood in the middle of the room, trying to take it all in: with my arms opened, I could almost touch the opposite walls. I took two steps toward the south-facing window and swung it open. The cool afternoon breeze touching my face was a welcome surprise. The climbing vines and flowers surrounding the gazebo in the courtyard below almost compensated for the size of the room. The fluttering butterflies made it seem like I was on another planet. It was a good thing I brought linens and my quilt that my mom had given me before she left for her mission to Haiti; otherwise I’d have nothing to sleep on. I could see that not having a car was going to be problematic. There was nothing close by. I’ll have to talk my dad into getting me a car. Or at least contribute to my measly car fund, I thought to myself. I made the bed and quickly unpacked my suitcases. I lay down thinking that I was going to rest for a minute. When I woke up it was the next day. I didn’t think I was that tired. Still, I didn’t feel rested enough. I just could not get away from the reverie I had at the airport. It was impossible to shut my mind down completely. I had a lot of
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vivid dreams and nightmares about him. I desperately needed to give my brain something else to keep it busy. It’s not like I am ever going to see him again. I wonder if I would even recognize him if I saw him again. I took a deep breath in, realizing I needed to stop focusing on him and start getting ready for school. I have a full load: sixteen credits all together. I hope I got everything I’m going to need. It felt like I had flight of ideas. It was impossible to shut my mind off. Nothing I tried seemed to work. The first day of school, a couple days later, went without a hitch. I had a few classes with Lisa, and I was running late. I aimed for the empty seat next to hers. As I was walking toward the chair, out of the corner of my eye, I saw two boys sitting behind her moving their heads swiftly toward each other. The tallest one was lean, muscular, and good-looking. His short blond hair was perfectly windswept. He looked like he should be on the cover of a fashion magazine instead of my English class. He spoke first in the other one’s ear. I thought I saw him mouth dibs. Then they both began to argue. “You had dibs last time,” responded the shorter one. He had a symmetrical oval face, black wavy hair and caramelized skin, a shade lighter than mine. I sat down next to Lisa while inconspicuously listening to their conversation. “It’s not my fault you’re slow,” replied the tall one. Since I was the only one who had just entered the classroom before they started debating, I assumed it was about me. Sadly, the news I had for them was not good. Someone else already had dibs even though he didn’t know it yet. Once I had gotten comfortable in my seat, Lisa introduced me to the boys. The tall blonde’s name was Brian and Mark was the other one. Another boy slightly shorter than Brian entered the room with the teacher hot on his heels. “That’s Shawn,” Lisa pointed toward him. “He’s part of our study group too.” Then she introduced me to him on his way to his seat. He was very handsome. His eyes were big with a hint of almond shape to them.
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His jet black hair was long and silky straight in the middle and shaved on either side. It looked like the perfect Mohawk. His skin was beautiful and satiny, about two shades darker than mine. I caught myself staring at him in a way that didn’t please Brian and Mark. I glanced at them before turning my head to face the teacher. They both had a sour look on their faces. I was more than happy to join Lisa’s study group even though she seemed a bit bossy. “Anna-Marie, don’t be late to our study session today,” she called out sternly over her shoulder for the umpteenth time as she bolted out of class. She wanted to go to the dining hall before her next class. She only had moments to spare. “Okay, I’ll be there on time,” I shouted, way too late. She was already too far to hear me. I’d been daydreaming a lot more about my encounter of the third kind. I thought I’d be over it by now. But there I was, two weeks later, and my feelings for him appeared to be growing stronger. It was difficult to understand why out of all my suitors, he was the only one who stuck with me. More surprisingly, the thought of having a boyfriend never entered my mind before this encounter. It made no sense at all. In a very short time, I had done a complete one-eighty from my original plan to only focus on school. My dad had done a great job planting the seeds of putting school before everything else in my head. But now I was beginning to think that maybe I could have it all, and all together as well. I was so caught up in thinking about him and how happy I’d be to give up my original plan for him that I lost track of time. I looked up at the wall clock. 7:20. Oh man! I am going to be late meeting Lisa at the library. Even though I was only twenty minutes late, I knew I was going to catch hell from her. I was riffling through my purse distractedly to find my phone to call her. I bumped into a couple of people. “Hey, watch where you walk!” shouted one of them, leaving me totally startled and flustered. For some unknown reason, I was quite jumpy. Finally, my hand found the phone. I was
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walking and dialing simultaneously but more carefully this time. I looked up every now and again in order to avoid bumping into anyone else. Before punching the last number and pushing the green button to complete the call, I looked up one last time. I saw something that couldn’t be right. I saw someone who had a hooded shirt pulled over his baseball cap. He also had dark shades on. I remembered thinking that was odd, like an afterthought. Then I bent my head in order to complete the call. I had my finger on the green button and decided, consciously or subconsciously, to raise my head up. Though most of his face was hidden, I realized that I’d seen him before.
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2. DREAM COME TRUE

NO WAY! THAT can’t be him! I muttered to myself frantically. Now panicked, I began desperately looking for a place to hide. There was a pillar that was part of the architecture of the building adjacent to the library a few feet away from me. It was tall and wide enough to hide me. In one long stride, I was there leaning against it. My breathing accelerated. My heart was pounding. My stomach started rolling and tightening uncontrollably. With my eyes closed, I slid down, wrapped my arms around my knees, leaned my head down, and waited. Breathe, breathe, I whispered to myself. If it was really him, I didn’t want him to find me falling apart like this. Though I doubted it was him, my imagination and excitement ran rampant. I started flagellating myself for being so gullible. Just as I was about to promise myself to never think about him again, I felt another presence on the ground next to me. “Are you hiding from me?” a soft and smooth voice suddenly asked. I could hear him grin from ear to ear. I gasped. I didn’t answer. In case it was just another illusion. I turned my head slowly toward the voice and peeked through my eyelashes. Lo and behold there was someone actually sitting there next to me. I appraised him for a
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moment. He appeared to be the same person from my airport encounter. He took his dark glasses off, revealing the most beautiful hazel eyes I’d ever seen. Then his lips parted, revealing a set of glimmering white teeth. My lips began to tremble, struggling to find the right answer to his question. Wait, did he actually ask me a question? I was too captivated to remember what it was. “Hi,” I said, trying to swallow the lump in my throat and feigning calmness. “My name is John McCreeny. I saw you at Logan Airport,” he said, grinning. His eyes smoldered. “That was you?” I said, pretending to be surprised. I knew exactly who he was and I’d been praying day and night for our paths to cross once again. And finally there he was, in the flesh! I had so many emotions going through me. Still, I had to pretend to be cool. “I thought I had imagined you or something. After I saw you, I went looking for you. I couldn’t find you anywhere,” John sighed, his eyes probing. “I saw you too. How did you find me? Do you go to school here?” I mumbled, as I tried to unscramble my clouded mind. I couldn’t believe he was here, so close within my grasp, his beautiful hazel eyes scintillating, his smile beckoning. “No. I don’t go here. I found this.” He handed me a rectangular piece of thick glossy paper. A postcard! He made a special trip just for me. I was on cloud nine. “Oh, this is one of my dad’s postcards. You didn’t have to go to all that trouble.” I was really surprised. I thought I had collected them all. “It’s no trouble at all. I didn’t expect to find you so easily. You are Anna-Marie?” John said, with an admiring smile on his face. “Yes,” He extended his hand to me. I eagerly shook it. I didn’t want to let go of it. Finally, physical contact. Yeah! It felt painfully good. Too bad I couldn’t hold his hand for a moment longer. “Uh, I saw a café on campus. Are you in the mood for
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coffee? Or . . . did you have something else planned?” John’s tone was beseeching. “Um, no, I don’t have anything else planned,” I said too quickly. His grin widened. Then I remembered Lisa. I jumped up to my feet. “I just need to make a phone call.” I called Lisa and told her that I wasn’t going to make the study session. She wanted details but I told her that I would stop by her room later. John got up from the ground and stood next to me. He was much taller than me. Even with heels on, I found myself having to look up at him. I saw a slight attempt from him to reach for my hand but he stopped himself. I was glad he did. I was too shaken up for that. I wouldn’t have been able to hide how thrilled I was by his presence. I was beside myself. I was still reeling from the fact that he was here with me, in the flesh! Just when I was beginning to think he was only a figment of my imagination. “This is a beautiful campus,” John commented as he looked up at the majestic trees. “It is, isn’t it?” Our heads turned to stare at each other at the same time with huge grins on our faces. I had so many thoughts going through my head concurrently. I was lightheaded, my stomach in knots, and I could not stop blushing. We got to the café, which was a short distance away from we were. I was too nervous to eat, so I ordered a coffee. He must have been hungry because he ordered a sandwich, fruit, and a drink. “Are you sure that’s all you want?” he asked me, while standing in line. We found a table in the far corner of the room away from curious eyes. A few people did double takes when we stood in line to put in our order. John seemed uneasy, “Do you mind if I keep my hat and hood on?” he asked before we sat down. Somehow my mind got his sweet-sounding voice on repeat. I was still hearing it long after he was done speaking. I shook my head, realizing he was standing up waiting for my answer. I managed to stammer out an apology. He pointed at my coffee, then I
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remembered his first question. “Yeah, I’m sure. Coffee is all I need. I’m good.” I took a deep breath in and exhaled to quell the butterflies in my stomach. “Do you live nearby?” “No, actually. I live in Los Angeles.” “Wow. You’ve come all this way just for me. I don’t know what to say.” “You don’t have to say anything. I wanted to meet you, to make sure you were real. I have not been able to stop thinking about you.” John took a bite from his sandwich. “That’s interesting. I feel the same way about you too.” My hand was tightly wrapped around my coffee cup. It seemed bizarre how he was so honest and forthcoming. I felt obligated to be just as candid. “Let me ask you something,” he said in a serious voice. My heart throbbed. “When I saw you at the airport, you seemed frozen and preoccupied. Even with the impending crowd, you seemed oblivious. What were you thinking about. . . what happened?” He was staring at me, waiting for an answer. His eyes captivated me. I looked away for a moment to clear my head. I couldn’t believe he was asking me about that. I felt so embarrassed. I didn’t know whether to tell him the truth or lie. He might think I am crazy, I told myself. “I was distracted by the light you had around you,” I blurted out, immediately regretting telling the truth, and turned my head to stare out the window. “Really, I had a light around me? That’s interesting,” he said giggling, shaking his head. “It sounds crazy I know. I have been trying to make sense of it myself,” I replied shyly. “What have you come up with?” John asked. He seemed amused. He was enjoying himself too much at my expense. I didn’t like that. “Well I think that maybe it was the sun glinting off of you or the universe trying to get my attention” spilled out of my mouth unfiltered. He surely thought I had lost my mind.
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I laid my head down on the table. “What? You haven’t been paying attention to your admirers? Why would the universe go through all that trouble?” “No, not really.” I lifted up my head slowly from the table. “Tell me about yourself,” I invited him, attempting to change the subject. “What would you like to know?” “Everything,” I answered with too much enthusiasm. My cheeks glowed bright red with embarrassment. His voice was melodic. I had to really pay attention not to miss anything. I was enthralled! He was twenty-three years old, though he seemed a bit more mature than that, and an only child. His parents had been married for thirty-five years. John seemed very proud and impressed by that. His father was a pastor. I noticed some sadness in his eyes when he spoke about them. I wish I knew why. The most important thing to him was music. He also liked to travel, although he got lonely sometimes being away from friends and family. We were too busy talking, and he ignored his food altogether. I encouraged him to eat and began telling him about myself. I told him about my half sisters, my mom, and her missionary work. John seemed intrigued by that, but pointed out the sadness he noticed in my eyes when I spoke about her. This bothered me at first, mostly because I have always tried putting on a strong façade to shelter myself from judging eyes. Then I became delighted that he was paying as much attention to me as I was to him. I concluded by saying a few things about my step mom and dad. He wanted to know why I had all those postcards and I told him that my dad had given them to me. That was his way of controlling me from afar. We both chuckled. I then told him about how strict and religious my dad was, something that John found gratifying for some reason. More and more people were doing double takes every time they walked by our table. That seemed to make him
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very nervous. When John was done eating, he put his shades back on and got up abruptly. “Are you ready to leave?” he asked, while I was still sitting at the table. He reached his hand out to help me up. What a gentleman, I thought. He did not let go of my hand till we got outside. I didn’t want the moment to end. “What now?” I asked him, feeling sad that he had to leave so soon. “I don’t know. I wish I had a place to stay nearby,” he said as he admired the trees again. “Do you want to stay with me? I have a single room. It’s not much, but I think there’s enough room to squeeze one more.” My lips twitched as the words flowed out. I could not believe that those words were actually coming out of my mouth. My heart was beating so hard and fast I was having trouble breathing. But I was not ready to let him go yet. I didn’t think I’d ever be ready for that. John seemed relieved. “Are you sure? You won’t get in trouble?” John’s face was framed by a huge smile. “I’m sure. It’s my room, I can have a guest over if I want,” I said as I struggled to breathe. We walked over to his car to get his bag. He was driving a BMW Alpina B7. Suddenly, a thought occurred to me. He lives in L.A. If we were to start anything here, it would be a long-distance thing. I don’t think I could handle a long-distance relationship. Immediately, I realize I was jumping the gun. So I stopped. It was way too early to think of this as a relationship. I chided myself. Finally, we made it to my room. Thank goodness I cleaned up before I left for class that morning. Usually, I just jump out of bed already late for class with barely enough time to brush my teeth and run out the door. But this morning I awoke with time to spare. “You must be exhausted. Did you drive here?” “No, I flew. Still, I am tired,” he answered morosely. “Like I said, it’s not much but you’re welcome to stay as long as you wish.” I pointed him to the bathroom after a
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quick glance. It was clean. He needed to take a shower. I didn’t have to share a room but I shared the bathroom. He seemed okay with the arrangements. Then it dawned on me that I had a test at 7:00 a.m. the next day. I had missed my study session with Lisa and I needed to do something if I was going to pass the test. “You look worried. You’re not having second thoughts, are you?” John asked when he got out of the shower, his eyebrows touching. He was drying his long wavy hair with a towel. The way the loop of curls fell out of the towel to his shoulders in slow motion looked like a scene from a movie. He looked breathtaking in his teal blue silk pajamas. I looked down at the floor for a moment to collect my thoughts. “No, no, you see.” I ran my fingers through my hair and rested my hand atop my head clumping my hair, oddly. “I have this chemistry test at seven in the morning. I just need to study. I was thinking about going to the library. You can stay here and rest in the meantime. I was planning on going to the library anyway. Do you mind staying here by yourself?” I said in a rush. I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea. “It’s okay. You’ll be perfectly safe here. No one will bother you. I wouldn’t leave if I didn’t absolutely have to. I’ll stay if you want me to.” I added. He seemed dubious. “You can stay here and study,” John said hesitantly. “I’ll even help you. What subject is it?” “Chemistry. But you’re tired. Besides, I mostly have to read. There are a few chapters I haven’t read yet,” I explained. He wanted to study with me and I was impressed. “I’m not too tired to help you study. And I used to love chemistry,” John said eagerly. I could not believe he was serious. “Are you sure?” I said, my voice an octave lower. “Yeah, come on, get your books,” John ordered. I reluctantly complied. We both sat on the bed with our
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backs against the wall. I told him about the chapters we’d covered in class so far. He skimmed through my notes and the chapters. He made me explain everything to him in detail. If I missed anything, he would explain it to me, and had me go over it again and again until I knew it well. John was not kidding about being good at chemistry. He knew so much more than I did. It was so easy spending time with him. It felt as if I had known him for years instead of mere hours. I was definitely glad I asked him to stay. It was four in the morning when we were done studying. I felt I was ready for the test. Luckily, I only had one class on Fridays, and I couldn’t wait to get it done and over with. I set the alarm clock on my phone and went to the bathroom to change into my pajamas. I was exhausted and I was sure he was too. I got an old comforter that I had brought with me from home, threw it on the floor and crawled under. With a disapproving tone John asked, “What are you doing?” “Making my bed,” I answered, perplexed. Like he couldn’t see what I was doing. “Why? There is plenty of room up here on the bed,” he said, patting on the bed. “I have to get up early and I don’t want to wake you,” I replied with a half truth. “Come on, get up here. You won’t wake me. And even if you do, it’ll be okay.” I was not ready to be that close to him yet. We’d only just met. I minutely stared out the window into the dark night, trying to decide. “It’s okay. I won’t bite,” John teased. I grimaced and my heart began thundering against my rib cage. He reached out to grab my hand as he sat up so I could get by. I was planning on sleeping head to feet. But I was afraid I might accidentally kick him in the face. I was glad I didn’t insist on sleeping on the floor. It was a chilly night worsened by the howling wind. John’s body heat was very comforting. I tried very hard to be inconspicuous about breathing in his scent,
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a heavenly mixture of his own body chemistry and his cologne. It was pure intoxication. It made me heady. The alarm went off too soon. It was 6:50 a.m. John had his arm tightly wound around me and mine around him. I hated leaving the coziness of his warmth. I carefully moved his arm. I only had enough time to brush my teeth, throw something on, and rush off to class. It took me an hour to finish with the exam. Afterwards, I went to the cafeteria to get breakfast and went back to my room. He was still sleeping. I tiptoed inside, placed the food down on the desk, put my pajamas on and climbed in the bed next to him. Then he woke up. “Are you hungry? I brought food.” “Yeah, I could eat.” he answered, still groggy. My heart leaped. He looked so handsome even when he awoke from a dead sleep. We ate and went back to bed. When I woke up, John had fresh clothes on and was sitting at the desk reading one of my textbooks. For a moment, I thought I was dreaming. He looked like a dream. His long, dark brown hair was still wet and big ringlet waves were beginning to form. His stunning smile made my heart flutter. This is so surreal. I pulled the blanket over my face. I needed to make sure I wasn’t building air castles in my mind. John sat on the bed next to me and pulled the blanket down from my face slowly. He seemed perplexed. Again, his angelic face took my breath away. I wanted to reach out and touch him but I resisted the urge just in case it really was a dream. “What time is it?” I asked, as I forced myself to stare out the window. It was still light out. “About 5:00 p.m.,” John answered after checking his watch. “I can’t believe I slept most of the day away. Are you going somewhere?” “We both did. I guess I was more tired than I thought.” His smile took my breath away, as my eyes closed for a moment. “Yeah, I’m taking you out to dinner and a movie. Are you interested?”
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“Of course I’m interested!” I was so excited. No one had ever taken me out on a date before. Correction. I had never wanted to go out on a date with anyone before. I started panicking. I didn’t have anything nice to wear, and then I remembered I went shopping with Lisa last weekend. She talked me into buying a black cocktail dress. She said I looked great in it and I had to get it. I resented her a little bit for making me waste my money because I didn’t think I’d ever wear it. Now I was very grateful. I shuddered at the thought of what I would have had to wear otherwise: jeans and a T-shirt. It didn’t take me long to get ready. My hair usually hung straight anyway—I didn’t have to fuss with it. As a rule of my own making, I never wore makeup. I never saw the need for it. But tonight I went all out. Even I could not recognize the beautiful woman in the mirror staring back at me. I tried very hard to resist the urge to wash it all off of my face. It felt weird. “I’m ready,” I announced as I walked out of the bathroom. John smiled at me stunningly. “Wow! You look beautiful.” John’s smile widened. Great, I murmured to myself. I was happy that he liked what he saw but at the same time hoping he didn’t expect me to look like this all of the time. I grabbed my purse and keys, then out the door we went. A cold breeze sent a chill up and down my spine. I ran back inside to grab my jacket. Once at the restaurant, we were greeted and seated right away. It wasn’t that busy, which was great. The waiter looked at John in amazement like he had found a precious gem before he introduced himself. Whatever he was thinking, he kept it to himself. He handed us each a menu and took our drink orders. We both wanted Sprite and a glass of red wine for John. Then the waiter left. “What are you thinking about getting?” he asked. “The shrimp linguine looks good.” I was so nervous. I picked the first item printed in bold on the menu that popped out at me. “What about you?” “I think I’m in the mood for a steak. It’s been a while.”
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“That sounds good.” The waiter returned with a smile from ear to ear, eyes full of excitement. He put our drinks down on the table, along with a large bowl of green salad and a bread basket. He took our orders and left. This waiter must love his job very much, I thought to myself. John seemed slightly on edge every time the waiter approached our table. “Tell me more about your father. What would he say if he saw us right now?” John suddenly asked. I trembled at the thought. “He’d probably kill us both.” My heart skipped a beat. “My dad is great. I love him. But he can be very obstinate in his stubbornness. It’s always his way or the highway.” My eyes couldn’t help scanning the restaurant. I wouldn’t put it past him to come all this way to spy on me. John’s chuckle brought my attention back to him. “My dad is a trip,” I quickly added. “So if I were to ask you to name a few famous pop artists right now, could you?” His tone was taunting. “Well, maybe. I’m not totally oblivious,” I scowled at him. “My best friend Tania used to keep me in the loop, but that all changed during our senior year.” I said, “Um, uh, I think I could name a few.” I responded as I peered into his eyes and wondered why he wasn’t being forthright if he had something to say to me. “Okay . . .” He paused as if he was expecting me to start naming names or something. Sadly, John made me so nervous I couldn’t think of anyone. A few days ago he was but an illusion; now here he was sitting across the table from me. I looked away for a moment. I was thankful the tables on either side of us were empty. This conversation needed to go no further. I knew he had a reason for grilling me this way but alas I was impervious. The endearing way he stared at me only made things worse. I missed all his cues. Now that I was sitting here across from him, staring into his eyes, something felt familiar about him. But I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was as frustrating as having a word on the tip of my tongue and
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not being able to figure it out. John took a deep breath and moved to his next line of questioning. I was befuddled, caught by the aura of his gleaming smile. “What about your mother?” He looked somewhat amused, although I couldn’t figure out why. Whatever private joke he was enjoying, I chose to ignore it for the moment. “My mom is the polar opposite of my dad. I lived with her until I was fourteen. Then my dad started freaking out about me needing more supervision and rules.” I rolled my eyes remembering how absurd that was. “So when my mom asked me if I wanted to go live with my dad for a while, I jumped at the chance. I am an only child on my mom’s side. I thought that it might be fun to have siblings. But I was wrong.” Not those siblings. I stopped myself from saying it out loud. “I didn’t stop to think about my mom’s feelings. I guess she didn’t mind it since she loves to travel and being a missionary. I was one less thing for her to worry about.” “So you don’t have a close relationship with your half sisters?” “Not as close as I would like. You see, my mom and my stepmom don’t get along. Whatever there was between them got transferred onto us. My stepmother doesn’t care much for me either.” My mouth felt dry, so I took a sip from my soda. Just when John was about to ask another question, the waiter was there with our food, once again with the same expression in his eyes. John was trying very hard not to meet his gaze. As he placed the food on our table, he said, “Bon appétit. Is there anything else I can do for you?” We both answered no. Then he walked away. John seemed relieved. The food looked and smelled great. I didn’t know how hungry I was until I saw it. I grabbed my fork and started eating. “The shrimp linguine is real good. Does yours taste good as well?” John nodded. His mouth was full. I was waiting for
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him to finish chewing to ask him a question. He beat me to the punch. “If your dad is so strict, how did you manage to convince him to let you attend school out here?” “I got a full scholarship. Though he looked for something negative, he couldn’t find anything at all. Otherwise, I’d be stuck in Boston and still under his thumb.” “I’m glad you’re here,” he said, looking at me through his long eyelashes. “You and me both,” I smiled, my eyes alluring. “Anna-Marie, you’re eighteen? When is your birthday?” “Yeah, I’m eighteen. My birthday is August first. When is your birthday?” “July thirtieth.” “No way!” My eyes popped out. A cold chill went through my spine. I shivered. John got up, got my jacket from the back of my chair, and draped it over my shoulders. I thanked him with a bright, cheerful smile. “We were almost born in the same month! Small world, huh?” John sat back down. He was five years my senior; how appropriate. We gazed at each other, mirroring each other’s gleeful grin for a while. “Do you miss not having any siblings?” I asked. The restaurant started filling up. A couple paused briefly by our table on the way to theirs. Their eyes popped out for a moment. John’s fists balled up on the table, his eyebrows pushed tightly together as he attempted to glare inconspicuously at them. I thought nothing of it as I waited for him to respond to my question. “No, not really. Though I was an only child, my parents always made sure there were plenty of kids around to play with. I guess that’s another thing we have in common, at least on your mother’s side.” He took a slow and deep breath. His face and his hands relaxed. “Did your parents spoil you rotten?” He shrugged indifferently. “When I was younger perhaps.” He didn’t seem to want to elaborate further. So I
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moved on. “What possessed you to come all this way?” I wasn’t complaining, but what he did took some guts. I twirled some linguine around my fork and put it in my mouth. “I wanted to make sure you were real, like I said,” he blurted out; then he gasped as if he wasn’t supposed to be this honest—or maybe it was something else. “At first, I thought you were staring at someone else. Once I was sure and was about to make my move, you were gone. It seemed like one minute you were there and the next you were gone.” He blushed. Then he looked away for a split second only to recapture my gaze again. I made him blush. A little smile of excitement began to form inside of me. It was incredible. I had no previous experience to refer to but I had no idea what that meant. Did he like me as much as I liked him? I was thrilled at the possibility! “It’s funny you thought that. I thought the same thing about you too. I give you points for bravery, though.” I smiled. “I would be daft not to try to find you, especially with all the bread crumbs you left.” John chuckled. He speared his last piece of steak with his fork and put it in his mouth, chewing with care. “It wasn’t intentional but I’m pleased you followed them and that you’re here.” I stuck the last shrimp in my mouth. “Remind me to thank your dad. Nothing this fantastic has ever happened to me before.” His tone was serious as he ogled me. John finished his wine. “Yeah, I doubt that this was what he had in mind when he came up with his plan.” I giggled, taking one last sip from my soda. We were both ready to leave. John signaled the waiter for the check, paid, and we left. On the way out, John put his arm around my shoulders. I wanted badly to put mine around his waist and decided it was too soon. We both looked at each other simultaneously and smiled. “Do you have any movies in mind you would like to watch?” John
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asked. “Not particularly. Something with lots of action if possible. And you?” “No, not really. I guess we’ll decide when we get there.” John drew me closer to him. The movie theater was in the same area as the restaurant, so we were there in no time. There were no action movies playing soon, so we decided to go with whatever was about to start. It was a romantic comedy that was supposed to be really good. We had five minutes before the movie started. I took full advantage of that by going to the bathroom and to revel in the fact that I was there with the angel I thought was a fabrication of my creativity. I was still not used to him being with me. I had to keep reminding myself I wasn’t dreaming. I closed my eyes for a moment, trying to wrap my head around it all. John was outside the bathroom, waiting for me, when I came out. He wound his arm around my neck and this time I could not resist. I wrapped my arm around his waist. He smiled in encouragement and kissed me on the side of my head. My heart stopped for a moment and then accelerated. We sat all the way in the back of the theater. John’s arm was still around me and he laid his head on my shoulder. Every now and then he would kiss my neck. An electric charge would go through me every time, especially since that was my sensitive spot. “I’m ticklish,” I warned him. John took that as a challenge to break down my defenses. He did the same thing over and over again. I tried very hard feigning disinterest. Then he did it again, but this time he softly dug his teeth into my neck, followed by the sweep of his soft lips and tongue. I shivered. I turned my head to glare at him. At the same time, he leaned forward to look at me. Our lips collided. I froze. I didn’t know what to do. Just when I decided to move away, he had his lips firmly wrapped around mine. His tongue brushing against my lips ever so slightly sent shivers up and down my spine. He alternated
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the movements from his soft, sensual lips to his sensuous tongue. I didn’t know I had stopped breathing until I began gasping for air. Then his lips touched my neck as he turned to face the screen. Sheepishly, I put my head on his shoulder, my breathing still irregular. His smile sparkled with pride. “You shouldn’t kiss me like that when we’re out in public,” I whispered, my voice trembling. Beatifically he breathed, “I will try but I’m not making any promises.” We did not pay much attention to the movie. John was too busy distracting me with his kisses. He took great pleasure in making my heart splutter. I had to admit that I was enjoying myself watching him, feeling him, and breathing him in. I had to prompt myself to breathe over and over again. It was easy to forget. I was engrossed by him and what he was doing to me. I never wanted him to stop. It required little effort from me. I just leaned back and let him nosh away on my lips. “Let me know when you’re ready for me to reciprocate,” I moaned. I was surprised he could understand me, since his lips were wound tightly around mine. “No need for reciprocity. I’m having a great time enjoying your sexy lips. I could do this forever. I’m just glad you’re letting me.” Letting him? I had no choice! I was transported. That was my first kiss. Ever. I was flooded with so many thoughts. I had no idea that this one small act could stir up this war of emotions that was brewing inside of me. I was having a hard enough time remembering to breathe, much less anything else. And he seemed to derive as much pleasure from it as I did. I never wanted it to end. Finally, the movie was over. We were the last ones to leave the movie theater. With each moment that passed, we seemed to be getting closer. And it was glorious. I thought that things were progressing nicely. I mean, kissing after knowing each other for a day didn’t constitute moving too fast. That was fine in my book. John was the perfect gentleman. We slept in the same bed the night before and
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he did not attempt to get fresh with me, not even once. John stared at me appreciatively, every time as if he was seeing me for the first time. I really liked that about him
34

3. SENSOR

IT WAS ABOUT 9:00 p.m. when we made it back to the dorm. We were both exhausted. We changed into our sleeping clothes and got in bed. We began kissing again. I don’t remember who initiated it, but he was kissing me much like he did earlier. Then it was my turn to kiss him like that and his turn to be passive. I tried to do it exactly how he did it to me. I had my lips softly wrapped around his while my tongue brushed lightly back and forth over the lines of his mouth. I knew I was doing it right because his eyes were closed and his face looked as if he were on cloud nine. Just when I was about to sink in deeper, the mood changed. Suddenly, I felt as if I had lost my free will. Like all my bones and muscles had turned to mush. Though I tried, I could not move. It was as if I was being compelled. And I started seeing images, blurry images with familiar undertones. The faces seemed sad and appeared to be writhing in pain. They appeared to be mostly females apart from a few that were just dark silhouettes. The most bewildering was the fact that John was there and he appeared to be the one responsible for all of it. I heard a bloodcurdling cry and found myself on the other side of the room, sitting on the floor with my back
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against the wall rocking back and forth, murmuring, “I can’t believe she was right!” over and over again. I could feel my arm being rubbed but I was too far out of it to be concerned. I felt the floor shaking underneath me. It was John, both his hands were on my shoulders shaking me. I looked up. His eyes were filled with horror. “Anna-Marie, what’s wrong? Oh my God. You’re freaking me out. What are you talking about? Who was right? What is it?” He was still shaking me. I was in a daze, staring at the wall on the opposite side of the room. I looked up right at him. “Stop shaking me! You’re making me sick!” My voice was laced with irritation. “Oops, I’m sorry. I’m going crazy over here. Can you please tell me what’s going on?” John sat on the floor next to me. He had an intense look on his face. “I’m okay. Just give me a minute.” I had no idea how to explain it to him. I was having a hard time comprehending it myself. “Did you feel anything out of the ordinary or strange while I was kissing you?” I asked John, still dazed. “Hmm . . . Yeah. Now that you mention it, yes!” John replied. I prompted him with a look. “It was the most amazing feeling. It felt as if I was floating on a cloud. I felt totally at peace, like I was up in the air, like I wasn’t in my body anymore. Then abruptly, I was in free fall. When I opened my eyes, you were no longer lying next to me. Who were you referring to?” John asked anxiously. “The psychic,” I answered. He seemed bewildered. “My best friend from childhood, Tania, and I were down town Boston one day. We saw this psychic tent. We thought it might be fun to go in for a reading. Mind you, neither one of us believed in that kind of stuff. But we thought, what could it hurt, right?” John nodded along, although he looked puzzled. I took a deep breath, wondering if I should continue telling him this story. I felt the urge to go on, which took me by surprise as I had never been so open to anybody else before. I looked at him and words started flowing out of my mouth again.
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“The moment we entered the tent, I knew it was wrong. As I was about to turn around to leave, a hand grabbed my arm. ‘You’re a sight for sore eyes.’ she said. All I could say was ‘Huh?’ ‘You’re very special, you know. My name is Madame D. Come here. Let me read your palm,’ she said while pulling me toward her table. I was too freaked out to do or say anything so I played along.” My voice was just a whisper now. I turned my head slowly to meet his gaze. He was staring at me with one eyebrow raised, anxious for me to get to the punch line. I rubbed his arm as I stared at him imploringly to be patient, and then continued. “Madame D asked, ‘Did you know that you are a Sensor?’ she said with a surprised look on her face. ‘It’s been a while since I ran into one of you.’ “‘A Sensor?’ I asked incredulously. “‘Sensors can detect the true essence of people around them. Especially people they are close with,’ Madame D. explained.” John’s expression intensified as I continued. “I’d always had a sixth sense about people.” I looked down at the floor breaking away from John’s stare. It was easier to tell the story if I wasn’t worried about what he was thinking. “It all started when I was thirteen. Well, that’s when I actually became aware of it. I thought I was madly in love with this kid in my English class. His name was Michael Chaste. I thought he felt the same way about me too. I think we were going steady or something. Though we never did anything but look at each other with dreamy eyes and get excited to be in each other’s company,” I chuckled unamused. “One day, my mother, Joanna, came home with a new haircut. My mother’s hair’s jet black, silky and straight, just like mine. It was a delight for me when people commented on how alike we looked because she’s very beautiful. That haircut was en vogue at the time.” I ran my fingers through my hair as the scene began playing in my head as if it happened yesterday. “I began thinking about getting it as well, though we
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never talked about it. It was a middle-parted bob cropped short in the back. It looked great on her. Since I always wanted to look exactly the same as her, I wanted that haircut in the worst possible way.” I paused briefly. John inhaled and exhaled slowly. His impatience was making me nervous. I rushed to get to the point of the story as I went on. “Joanna was very easygoing. She always indulged me, except she absolutely refused to let me get the same haircut. I begged and pleaded. Still she said no. As a last resort, I did it myself. Somebody with only scissors for hands would have done a better job. It was choppy and uneven. My mother was angry and disappointed and grounded me for a week. Still, she would not take me to the hair salon to get it fixed. She said I had to let it grow out on its own. I was mortified. I cried and whined, but she did not budge.” I stopped and lifted my head to stare at John. He looked intense. But I couldn’t stop talking. I had to finish telling him the story. “I had cut my hair so short that I couldn’t even put it in a ponytail. I had no other choice but to let it roam free. Of course the kids at school had a field day. They pointed, snickered, and laughed at me. I was so embarrassed I wanted to die. Then, one day, while they were taunting me, I saw Michael. I breathed a sigh of relief. He was standing ten feet away from me. I smiled at him and he scowled. He took a couple of steps backwards and turned and ran in the opposite direction. I was devastated and heartbroken. He stopped talking to me altogether. And I pretended he never existed.” “Since then, I became a little bit less trusting. I studied people’s eyes with scrutiny. That was a very defining moment for me. It was probably one of the reasons I wasn’t as boy crazy as my best friend, Tania. So I could definitely relate to what Madame D. was saying. But a Sensor, that was just crazy nonsense, I thought. Tania thought it was just fun . . .” John cut me off with a groan.
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“Anna-Marie, will you please get to the point of the story!” “I’m getting to it!” I grunted. “So pay very close attention to this part especially.” I glared at him minutely and then my eyes turned apologetic before returning to the story. “Madame D. told me, ‘The most interesting thing about Sensors is that when they meet their soul mates, they will be so in tune with them, their mates won’t be able to hide anything. And as a Sensor, I had to be honest and give him the choice to opt out. Just because you think someone is your soul mate doesn’t mean he wants to be. But if it’s the right one, he’ll be able to take in your essence the same way too. And the two of you will be merged and bonded together for life.’ “‘What if you see something unforgivable, like they’ve committed a murder or something? What do you do then?’ Tania asked. “‘You’ll get a physical sign warning you to tread carefully. At that point, it’ll be up to the Sensor to decide whether or not to continue with the relationship.’ Madame D. answered. “She babbled on and on. It all sounded like gibberish to me. I forgot about it all the minute I stepped outside her tent. Tania could not stop laughing and pointing at me. She brought it up again on a couple of different occasions after that. Then we both dismissed it altogether.” After my excruciating explanation, I waited patiently with my gaze intensely on him. He seemed to be taking it better than I had expected. He didn’t even ask about what I’d seen. He seemed to know what I was referring to. That scared me the most. “You saw things about me that freaked you out,” John said, with a disparaging look in his eyes. I nodded. “I’m sorry,” he said with a wry smile. “I’ve been a bad boy. I know. Sometimes I behave very immaturely and take things too far. I’ve traveled around the world and been a bit too indulgent.” John extended his hand out to touch my
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arm. Reflexively, I flinched away. He moved closer to me and placed his head on my shoulder, “I haven’t been giving as much as I’ve been taking. I’m abashed,” he mumbled. “The only glimmer of hope I’ve had in a long time was when I saw you.” “I saw so much pain and misery,” I said, looking down. “I know, I know,” John responded with his eyes closed and pinching the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger. He motioned himself in front of me, but I tried not to meet his stare. I was ambivalent, as I did not want him to notice. The truth was I still liked him. I just needed time to figure it out. “Please don’t give up on me,” John pleaded. He lifted my chin up with his hand and leaned his head against mine. “I won’t. I couldn’t even if I wanted to.” I met his gaze. “I simply don’t want to see those images again. It was too horrible.” “I know and I’m sorry,” John groaned as he hugged me, rubbing my back. “Let’s go back to bed.” He kissed me. I recoiled. “Don’t worry,” he uttered. “I think it only happens when you kiss me.” Then he kissed me again and wound his arm tighter around me. “Try to get some rest. We’ll talk more about it in the morning.” I hardly got any sleep that night. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw the faces, the distorted, tortured faces. They were even in my dreams when I finally did fall asleep. What was most disconcerting was that I never believed in the Sensor nonsense and it turned out to be real. I wish I had paid more attention to the psychic. I knew I should have walked away. That would have been the smart thing to do. But to me, that just wasn’t an option. Walking away never crossed my mind. But after being rational all my life, I wanted to change things up a little. Besides, I hadn’t been reasonable since the day I laid eyes on John. And I wasn’t going to start any time soon. I wanted him in my life no matter the cost. Being without him was not an option. I quivered at my resolve.
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Though John appeared to be taking everything in stride, I was still anxious. How do you ask someone you’ve only known for a moment to coalesce with you for life? It sounded preposterous when I thought about it. So I tried very hard to avoid that thought. I never asked the questions I should have asked. Maybe it was because I already had my answers and I didn’t care to know more. Or maybe what I was getting in exchange was worth far more than whatever was to come. I never consciously made that decision. Why have a gift and not put it to good use? That was what I felt I was doing. It was like knowing that there was a storm coming and yet I chose to live in a house with no roof. Sure, John had baggage. But who doesn’t? How was I supposed to protect myself when everything I had was already on the table? I woke up much too soon. I showered, got dressed, and went down to the dining hall to get breakfast. When I returned, John was dressed and sitting on the bed. He looked anxious. “Hey, are you okay?” I asked as I placed the tray of food on the desk, stood in front of him and wrapped my arms tightly around him. I kissed his damp hair and ran my fingers though his curls. “You seem worried. Are you okay?” I asked him again. “Have you come to a decision yet?” John questioned me, in a gloomy tone. “About what?” I answered, confused. I thought he understood that I had already made my decision; now it was his turn to decide. I sat in the chair and pulled it close to him. “Me? Us?” He leaned his forehead against mine. “You do understand what it would be like to be with me, right?” I muttered. “I mean this craziness about my being a Sensor. You know that nothing you do will be hidden from me. I’m not quite sure how it works but after what I’ve seen so far, it’s very evident that your life will be like an open book to me.” I lifted up my head to stare at him. “Do you need that kind of complication in your life
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right now? No matter what, you’ll always feel this pull toward me, and vice versa. Don’t you want to take some time to think it over? I think it would be wise.” I forced myself to pull away from him, leaning back in the chair. “What about you? Do you need more time?” John hesitantly asked, his hazel eyes staring past me. “It depends.” My tone was unintentionally stern. “I saw what I saw for a reason. It would be foolish of me to ignore it completely. I’m sure you know what you did to those women.” I took a slow, deep breath. “I need you to do something for me.” “What? I’ll do anything,” he blurted out. “I need you to promise me that you’ll never do to me what you did to them that made them look that way,” I said with precision, “More importantly, promise me you’ll never do it again no matter what happens between us.” My tone was full of reproach. It was disappointing to find out John, my angel, had a mean streak. “What I feel for you is far different from what I felt for them. Therefore, I can easily swear to you that I will never hurt you like that, never, ever.” His face lit up with hope. “And you don’t mind sharing your whole self with me?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. John began slowly, “I never thought I’d say this and mean it. But I’m ready to be with you. You’ve seen the worst part of me. Yet you still want to be with me.” He stood up, grabbed my waist, and raised me off my feet. “Do you know how happy you’ve made me?” he said cheerfully and began kissing me passionately. It was unbelievable that he accepted the whole notion of my gift without protesting, though he had no choice. How else could he have explained what I’d seen? “Are you hungry?” I asked breathlessly. He loosened his grip around my waist. “Yeah, let’s eat.” He was animated. I had brought scrambled eggs, bagels, cream cheese, yogurt, coffee, and orange juice. We both started picking at the food. I decided
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to have a bagel and cream cheese, as I had had eggs the day before and I was not in the mood for them again. I took a bite from my bagel and I covered my mouth while talking to John. He also had his mouth full. “I never asked you before, how do you like your eggs?” I asked. “Sunny side up,” John replied. I frowned unwillingly as I bit into my bagel once again. “What? You don’t like yours that way?” John chuckled. I leaned over the desk and pushed the window slightly open, but the wind opened it all the way out. The fresh air, though somewhat icy, felt good on my face. “Nope. I like my food thoroughly cooked. But next time I’ll get it right,” I added. “Don’t worry about it. I like them scrambled also or in omelets,” John replied. Then it dawned on me that I didn’t know when he might be leaving. My heart seized like it was being squeezed. “When are you thinking about leaving?” “Tired of me already?” His gleaming smile made me shimmy. “Hardly. Never. I simply know that you can’t stay with me indefinitely,” I quickly retorted. “Later today or tomorrow morning. How much free time do you have tomorrow?” “Well, tomorrow is what, Monday, let’s see . . .” I said thoughtfully. “I have an early class at 7:00 a.m. Then two hours of free time before my next one. Why?” “I thought we could do something before I leave. But it seems like you’re going to be busy.” “Oh God,” I slammed my palm against my forehead. “I forgot that this was going to be a long-distance thing,” I whined as I put my head on his shoulder. “What are we going to do?” “Maybe . . . I . . . should . . . get a place here,” John said slowly. My eyes widened, full of hope. “You would do that! What about your job? Oh wait, you
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never told me what you do for a living. Are you still in school?” Suddenly, he seemed ill at ease. “If it’s a government secret, you don’t have to tell me,” I said with a rush. “If you hadn’t been living under a rock, so to speak, you’d have probably known or guessed it by now,” John said with an angelic smile. He got up from the bed and walked on the opposite corner of the room, toward his duffle bag, unzipped it, and fished something out. I was watching him suspiciously. Then he handed it to me. It was a CD. I scowled at him, feeling like I was missing something obvious. He tapped on the front of the CD with his index finger. Then it clicked. That was his picture I was looking at on the CD! “I am sort of a pop superstar, an international superstar,” he said, wiggling two fingers from each hand, mimicking air quotes. My mouth popped open in shock and horror. “Oh no!” I said instead of saying Wow! as I intended. I tried to find the right expression to feign before I looked at him. I failed. I could only think about my dad stumbling on a magazine with my picture in John’s arms on the cover. Then, all the pieces of the puzzle slowly began to fit perfectly together: the traveling, the women, being lonely. I had to admit that freaked me out more than anything else I’d learned about him so far. Mostly because of my father and his favorite saying every time he saw a magazine cover at the newsstand or heard a gossip on the television: “You can’t trust people in Hollywood. They’re more famous for being involved in scandals and divorces than the work they do!” I was ashamed to admit it. That had rubbed off on me a little. Suddenly, I was full of doubt about John and his lifestyle. It seemed it was going to be harder for him to change his ways than he made it seem. Abruptly, a series of nervous giggles exploded out of my mouth. “What the heck, Anna-Marie. What’s wrong?” John
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asked, his voice full of intolerance. I scanned the room looking for something and I spotted it underneath the desk. It was the shopping bag full of postcards that my dad had given me. Inside, there was also his list of rules that I had to abide by while living in the dorm. I pulled it out, handed it to John, and pointed to number one and two. He glowered at me with his eyebrows touching. Immediately, the lines on his face smoothed out. “What is this?” he asked, smiling and shaking his head in disbelief. “That’s my dad’s list of rules!” I responded. “Number one, ‘No boys in your dorm room.’ Number two, ‘No musician of any kind, especially if they’re famous.’” Startlingly, he burst out laughing. “You’re not doing too good here: two for two so far. How about number three? That seems like a fun one to break!” I snatched the list out of his hand. He was having too much fun at my expense. And I couldn’t remember what number three was. I looked at the list minutely. All the blood in my body rushed to my cheeks. Number three: “No fornicating.” And a corresponding Bible verse next to it. John clutched it out of my hand and continued reading silently and guffawing. “I thought my dad was bad,” John muttered to himself. We were both done eating. I drank some water in a wasted attempt to wash away the shame. Then I threw myself on the bed, face down. He was too busy having fun to notice. After a long while, he climbed on the bed, next to me. “I’m sorry,” he groaned in his joyful voice. “Your dad is something, isn’t he?” My cheeks were still burning, so I ignored him. “Come on, Anna-Marie. I wasn’t laughing at you per se. I could hardly believe how alike your dad and mine are. He tries to control me the same way too. Please don’t be miffed with me.” John grabbed my waist, rolled me onto my side, and pulled me closer to him. He seized my face with both
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hands in order to meet my stare. “Now, tell me why you were freaking out earlier when I told you what I did for a living. Besides being afraid that your dad might find out, what else are you worried about?” “I’m worried about losing my anonymity, my privacy, and my freedom.” I breathed. “Most importantly, I do not want to be famous by association. I simply want to be with you for you and not for your fame or whatever else that entails. Is that okay? I don’t mean to offend you,” I muttered. “That’s more than okay. It’s actually refreshing that you only want me for me.” John kissed my forehead. “So you will keep everything private and out of the limelight?” Suddenly, the window slammed shut. We were both startled. John got up to lock it, then returned to lie next to me. “I certainly promise to do my best. But sometimes things can leak out, especially if too many people know about it.” He chuckled, lost in his thoughts for a moment. “So how about we don’t tell anyone? Let’s keep it to ourselves and totally private. What do you say?” I twirled my finger around a stray strand of his hair. “Well, maybe one person, my best friend Oscar. I can’t keep any secrets from him. Besides, I need to be able to talk to someone about you.” “Maybe you’re right. We can each tell one person then,” I assented. “So we’re good?” John’s lips touched mine. I began slowly and thoughtfully, “I don’t know if you’ve already figured that out about me, but I don’t intend on sharing you with anyone else. I know you must get a lot of offers in your line of work. If that’s going to be a problem, you have to tell me now. You do it once and I’m gone.” “Anna-Marie, baby, that will never be an issue for us. I was looking for something. And now that I’ve found it in you, I’m happy. I only want you. I won’t do anything to mess this up. I’ve only known you for a short time, but this feels
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right. It feels good. I want to guard it with my life.” John’s arms tightened around me. “Okay then,” I breathed as my lips touched his. I felt exhilarated. “What do you say about completing this sensing conundrum?” My heart thumped. I began to feel this was moving too fast and that I needed to have more information about this new extra sense that I had just become aware of. But my feelings for John were unwavering. He seemed to fit me perfectly. In addition, he was so willing. I couldn’t dare postpone this. If things don’t work out, how hard will it be to undo this, really? I asked myself. “I’m ready,” John answered, his voice expectant. I took a deep breath to clear out the fog in my head. We both turned onto our sides to face each other. I commenced kissing him the same way he usually started kissing me. My lips captivated his, while my tongue brushed against them alternatively. He enjoyed it passively for a long moment. Then he was fighting for control. Soon we both were actively involved. As our lips began to dance rhythmically, so did our breathing. My heart was pounding in my chest. My face was flaming hot and my head drowning. Without warning, the sensing kicked in, full throttle. The same feeling I had experienced before was more intense this time. Suddenly, his body became like a magnetic field. In no time, I was glued to John. It felt as if he was absorbing me instead of the other way around. It was perplexing. Then I was assaulted by an onslaught of the same images again. They were in and out of focus, as if I was looking at them through a microscope and I was having trouble adjusting the lens. One of the blurry figures seemed so familiar. The pain, the darkness, and the misery stretched out like a heat-seeking missile. Despite my best effort to deflect it, it hit me head on. Then a wild roar like the peal of thunder followed. The next thing I remembered, I had burst through the door and was flying down the stairs. I couldn’t breathe. My
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head felt as if it was about to explode. I realized I was looking for fresh air. I leaped over the last few steps through the front door to go outside. I just dropped to the ground, pulled my knees up into my chest. I was writhing on the grass struggling to breathe, my lungs desperate for fresh air. I began sneezing, bellowing out uncontrollably. In between the roar of the sneezes, I could hear murmurs around me. I lifted my head up slightly and peered through my eyelashes. A crowd had begun to form around me. I could hear people gasping in disbelief. “I’ve never heard anyone sneeze so loudly,” a female voice said. “I wonder if I should call 911,” another one responded. Panicked, I stood up lightly, roughly composed myself and mouthed, “I’m okay,” I said to the crowd and started running as fast as I could. I figured the further away from John I got, the better I would feel, and the sneezes would subside. That must be the physical reaction Madame D. had warned me about, I thought to myself. Surprisingly, it worked. My head was pulsating. My mouth was so dry it felt like I’d been chewing on cotton. I had no idea where I was and I wasn’t fazed. I desperately needed a place to rest for a while. I lolled out on a bench that was in a shaded area. I must have fallen asleep or passed out because when I opened my eyes, it was dark. My head still hurt, but not as intensely as before. My mouth was still cottony. There was a nip in the air and I was only wearing a T-shirt. I pulled my knees up and wrapped my arms around them to stop myself from shivering. As I became fully conscious, I began worrying about John. I was afraid to return to the dorm. We hadn’t exchanged phone numbers yet. How am I going to contact him? I wondered. Then I thought I should call my phone. Hopefully, he was still in the room and not out looking for me. Now all I needed was a phone. No sooner than I was done with my thought, I was approached by a very sympathetic elderly woman. I must have looked worse for wear because she
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approached me with one arm extended out removing grass from my hair before she even spoke to me. I thanked her for her kindness and asked her if she had a phone I could use. She was eager to help and handed me her phone. I dialed my number and hoped John would pick up. He answered on the third ring, “Hello?” he said apprehensively. “Hey, John it’s me, Anna-Marie.” My voice was rough and thick from thirst. “Oh, thank God! Anna-Marie, are you all right? Tell me where you are! I’ll come get you. I’ve been driving around like crazy looking for you. I asked around campus, I found a couple of people who saw which direction you had gone, and I’ve been driving up and down that area since. Tell me where you are. I’ll come get you.” I was still confused. I handed the phone back to the lady and asked her to give him directions. After talking to John, she insisted on waiting with me. It only took John a few minutes to drive up there. I immediately began praying silently that the same thing would not happen again. I didn’t think my head could take it. John got out of the car, thanked the woman, and gave her a big hug for helping me. He also hugged and ushered me into the car. “I’m sorry, John. I know I scared you.” The words sounded like moans, and my nose was stuffy and started to drip a little. “Anna-Marie, baby, I should be the one apologizing to you. I can’t believe this,” John uttered anxiously. “I know. It’s totally crazy stupid for something like this to be happening right now!” “So this is your body’s natural way of warning you about me?” he said ruefully, his hand tightened around the steering wheel. “I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am, Anna-Marie. You know that I’ve already decided to change my ways. I want us to work.” He turned to stare at me when I didn’t respond. I was too busy keeping the sneezes at bay.
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“Anna-Marie, you’re not going back on your word? You still want me, right?” John asked, his voice pleading. I nodded yes. I couldn’t speak. The sneezes could not be contained. My efforts failed quickly. I leaned my face in the crook of my arm as I asked him for my phone and his number so I could store it, but he told me he had already taken care of it. I urgently asked him to stop the car. I pushed the door open and flew out. Then the explosion of sneezes returned fiercely. I continued to run, in order to put as much distance between us as possible. I turned around to wave at him when I was sure that I was far enough from him. His face looked grave with worry. I wanted to comfort him, but I couldn’t. Back in the dorm, the TV lounge was empty. I threw myself on the sofa and closed my eyes. After a while, I started feeling better. My nose had stopped running, and the thumping in my head had slowed down a little. I was exhausted, so I decided to go to my room and get some rest. I opened the door and slowly climbed in bed, falling fast asleep. Suddenly, I opened my eyes, gasping for air. I was covered in mucus. My nose was dripping, and I couldn’t understand what was going on. John was gone. How can I still feel this badly? I whispered to myself. Then I remembered . . . the sheets! John had slept here in the bed with me. He touched the sheets and I am sure that they have been soaked with his scent. I pushed the window open, stripped the bed, grabbed money and detergent, and proceeded down the two flights of stairs to the laundry room. I was relieved to see there was one washer available. I put the money in the slot first as usual, then tossed everything in the washer, poured in the detergent, and slammed the door closed. I decided to go outside to get some fresh air, and while I was on my way out, the phone rang. It was John. I was aggravated and weary, certainly not in the mood for conversation. But the last thing I needed was for him to decide to come back to check on me. So I
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rushed to answer the phone before it went to voice mail. “Hello,” I moaned, breathing through my mouth. “Hey, Anna-Marie, it’s John. Just checking to see how you’re doing. You don’t sound too good.” His voice was full of empathy. “No, I’m still miserable. Are you okay?” I asked, looking for an empty bench to sit on. “I guess I am, just worried about you,” he replied in a soft, concerned tone. “Sorry things ended so abruptly. Where are you now?” I began to look left and right, hoping he had left. “I’m at the airport.” Phew, I was relieved! “Anna-Marie, no need to apologize. It’s not your fault. I feel bad that you have to go through all of this by yourself. I just wish I could be there with you.” He took a slow deep breath in and out. “Since I can’t be with you, I figured I might as well go home. They’re boarding now. Is it okay to call you when I get home? It might be late, though.” “Yeah, it’s okay. I want to know that you made it home safely. Have a safe flight. Talk to you soon. Bye.” “Bye,” he said before hanging up. I was so annoyed at this Sensor thing that was ruining my life. I lay down on the bench, staring at the night sky and looking for the Big Dipper for a while—no such luck. Only a few stars were out. The cold air made it slightly easier to breathe. I checked the time on my cell phone; it was 8:30 p.m. I figured it had been long enough; I went inside to put the laundry into the dryer. Just then two girls came through the door giggling, each carrying a basket of dirty laundry. It was getting too cold out, so I stayed inside to wait. I sat down on the only chair in the laundry room. The two girls were too involved in their conversation to notice me. I settled into the seat and closed my eyes. I must have fallen asleep, because when my eyes opened again, I was alone. At last, the laundry was done. I was feeling much better, though my head was still sore. I went back to my
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room and made the bed, then I took a shower and brushed my teeth. Finally, I went to bed, hoping and praying not to awake until my alarm went off at 6:50 a.m. I had English at 7:00 a.m. Not two minutes after my head hit the pillow, everything that had transpired over the weekend began rolling around in my head. John showing up was a great and wonderful surprise. I couldn’t remember how many times I’d prayed for him to come find me, and lo and behold he did. I took that as a sign we were supposed to be together. He was even more attractive in person. After the short period of time I’d spent with him, I knew I was very much in love with him, and I was willing to do anything to keep him in my life. I wanted more than anything to be with him, no matter how miserable it made me or what might come in the future. I knew meeting him would change me forever. A smile began forming on the edge of my lips. I wanted to do things with him that my father would never approve of. It was more of a need that turned into a compulsion quicker than I would have liked.
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