(Previous post:Secrets and Surprises)
A strange silence had descended over the house when Silvester and Summer were gone to Phoiebe Santoro’s party. It bugged Nala. She had finished baking the cookies she set to bake, went outside and changed the candles in all her outdoor lamps. The rain had stopped but the night was still chilly forcing her to wear a jacket. She checked her watch, it wasn’t even nine yet on a Sunday evening. Most of Sunset Valley residents were probably getting ready for bed, it was the end of the weekend but Nala herself was never one to go to bed early.
She headed straight to her bedroom and took her guitar case. There was always that one thing that always picked her up, she could be down, bored, sick or all of the above and then she would thrum those strings and she would be transcend into some other place were nothing mattered, losing the love of her life, fighting with her younger daughter, her older daughter becoming a cop, her son in law being a criminal, her grandson starting school, her stomach pains, her being old… It would all be forgotten.
She drove down to this dance club on the other side of town, it was open till morning which worked for her. She knew it wasn’t really a night for dancing but she was surprised to find the place almost empty, save for a young blond man. She was anxious to take the stage, she knew she would be allowed to since everyone recognized her, but she thought it wouldn’t hurt to acquaint herself with her audience first so she went to meet the blond man.
“Weird how this place is empty.” She said as she walked up to him. “Huh?” He answered startled turning to Nala. He had a lost look on his face, as if he had no idea where he was. He adjusted his glasses quickly and Nala noticed small paint stains on the tip of his fingers. An artist? Or doing home remodeling? “Yeah, the place has been dead since I got here.” He said looking around. “It’s Sunday after all.” He added with a shrug. “So why are you here, for the dancing?” Nala asked with a smile. “Nah, just wanted a drink, it should help me sleep.” The young man replied scratching his shaggy blond beard. “Insomnia?” Nala asked. “No, I don’t usually have problems sleeping, it’s just… A lot of things on my mind lately…” “Painting doesn’t help?” Nala asked him. He gaped at her. “Paint stains on your finger.” Nala told him amused. “Right.” He laughed. “For a while I thought you recognized me, or something…” Then he shrugged again. “Not on that level yet…”
This remark saddened Nala. “Well tell me your name, I’ll check out your work sometime.” “Harry Prentiss.” He said giving her his hand. “I’m Nala.” “I know.” He said and laughed. “Well I know you too Harry.” Nala said also smiling. “I didn’t recognize you with the beard, and the glasses, you are all grown up now, but I remember you as a kid.” Little Harry was the son of Dina’s former friend, and onetime protegee, Ebony, but it had been years since she had seen him last.
“So Harry, tell me? What’s on your mind, and can a song fix it?” His eyes were a lovely shade of green Nala noticed, Dina had green eyes, and Nala could not help noticing them on other people. Harry’s lit up as he spoke his next words. “It’s nothing serious really, I might have mislead you on that regard.” He laughed again. “It’s just… Life changes you know, my son is starting school soon, my daughter is almost walking… It’s all so crazy you know…” “Maybe better then you know.” Nala replied. “So, a song?”
Nala lost herself in the music, like she did many times before, and as she hoped to do many times after. She didn’t care it was only Harry and the bartenders that listened to her, they didn’t matter anyway, the only thing that mattered was her and her guitar, the lovely sound the strings made as they moved under her fingers.
The next morning she woke up feeling great, it was another warm summer day full of promise. She got up, crossed the day on the calendar, never bothered to stare at her expression and went upstairs humming a melody. Summer also seemed to be in a good mood, better then the previous day at least and she didn’t seem to have any intentions for continuing the fight they had the previous day. They did laundry together before Summer went to work and she told her all the newest gossip from last night’s party.
“Well me and Silvester were the first too arrive, you know how people are in this town, you say eight they wouldn’t get there until eight thirty at least… Well anyways, here I am about to ring the door and you know how Phoibe’s house looks like? It’s all glass, everywhere and what to I see, someone is there already, and you know who it is? Jesse Hoves! Suspicious right? Well as it turns out, guess what? They are dating! Jesse and Phoibe! Of course she pretended as if it was no big deal, she yapped on about her science stuff but I asked him and he confirmed…. He is back to work by the way… Well it’s not that strange is it? I mean he is old, much older then her but he is handsome still…”
She took a deep breath. “They seem happy you know. I guess that is what matters.” Nala said nothing, it was hard to get a chance to when Summer caught momentum like this but it was nice, just talking to her daughter about mundane, small town stuff, and not fight over stupidities like they usually did.
“And what did Silvester do there, my poor baby?” Nala asked when Summer was done. “He was with mum, they had a pillow fight, it’s a funny thing, seeing mum so goofy.” Nala smiled trying to picture her ex in a pillow fight. “I wish I could have seen that.” She said sincerely.
After Summer had gone to work Nala went to bed, she came home late last night and was exhausted. Silvester was in the living room with a book and she knew he would be fine. Besides, she planed to lay down, just a bit….
She fall a sleep instantly and woke up drenched in sweat, she had no idea how much time had passed, only that it was hot, and she was in pain. She didn’t plan to sleep, she just wanted to close her eyes a bit, at least she had the loveliest dream.
She dreamed of the beach again, it was evening and the stars shone, in the distance you could hear the sea as it touched the ground pulling down the millions of little grains of sand down with it. She felt the sand under her bare feet too and she was happy, happier then she had ever been. She reached for her guitar that lay a few feet away, in her head there was a song wanting to be written. It would be the most beautiful love song ever written and she would dedicate it to her… She deserved this song, and she deserved a hundred more. She was the most beautiful woman in the world, with hair made of gold and emeralds in her eyes, and yes she would write all this in the song, it was sappy and lame but true, oh so true…
But she didn’t reach the guitar, a soft hand touched her wrist instead and she turned to face her love, the woman who sat in the sand right next to her. Dina had her hair down, and it fell beneath her shoulders, still wet from their earlier swim. There was also a flower there, one that Nala had put it there after the swim. Dina wasn’t wearing her usual dark clothes, she had a short summer dress on, open so she could see the top of her swimsuits, they had some more things, clothes, somewhere… Nala didn’t bother to look, all she could look at were her girlfriend’s eyes. “Get up.” Dina said. Her voice had that tinge of command it always had, and will have even more in the years to come but it was also soft, and full of love. “I was about to get my guitar and serenade you, with the loveliest love song in the world.” Nala replied smiling at her. “And which might that be?” Dina asked amused, a smile appearing on her soft lips too.”I don’t know yet.” Nala admitted. “It had not yet been written, but it would come alive tonight, and it will be yours, all yours, as I am.” Dina smiled again. “Come on, get up, you drama queen.” Nala sighed. “Fine, fine, you’re the boss.”
She got up, and shook of the sand from her ass, it was a futile gesture since sand was sticking everywhere she quickly realized and gave up turning to Dina. As she did the other woman took hold of both Nala’s hands and let Nala take them into her own. Dina then gazed into her eyes a trace of smile on her lips. “I can’t write you the most beautiful song in the world Nala. I never will. That is not my thing, but one day I hope to own the world, but what is the whole world if I don’t have you? One day I hope to be a star, but I will not shine if I don’t have you. So Nala Sanza, promise me, you’ll love me forever, promise me we will shine together, from this day, to eternity. Promise me Nala. Promise you’ll marry me.” “I promise.” Nala answered in a whisper and leaned to kiss her wife to be. It was a long and passionate kiss as all theirs were and when they came apart Dina hit her in the arm. “You weren’t supposed to kiss me yet. You haven’t seen the ring!” And she turned to look for their belonging and Nala laughed, and soon Dina was laughing too and their laughter echoed over the empty beach.
And then the dream dissolved, and Nala was back in her bed, decades older, alone, and in terrible pain.She tried to get up but as she sat on the bed a ripping sensation in her stomach made her double over. She felt sick and dizzy and she tried to get up. If only she could walk to the living room and check on her grandson, then it would be okay. She was just a little weak, it was that dream, that damn memory that never left her alone. For a minute she felt she would be okay. She was up on her feet. But then she crashed. It was a loud crash that left her on the floor, and she couldn’t get up.
She panicked for a moment, feeling everything go black. This is it. She realized. The pain was gone, only she couldn’t move. She was ready to let go but then she heard the sound of little feet moving towards her, he must have heard the crash, he would be the one to find her… No.No, not him…No, please…
“Nana!” Silvester screamed as he leaned over her dying body. No. No baby, it’s ok, don’t cry… Nala wanted to say but her voice was gone, and so was she, floating away towards the Grim Reaper who stood and waited while the scared sobs of one small boy filled the room.