The following is the second section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous section here.
He loved how Cassandra would always awake with a smile. There were days (usually when he needed inspiration for an upcoming big event that was weighing him down) that he would wake up early just to catch it. There were even times (of course, he wouldn’t tell her) that he wouldn’t dare even let himself sleep. He would be like a child waiting for Christmas morning to break. Fidgeting and trying to find comfort while resting on the same arm for almost six hours, never daring to move to the other arm. Her smile was worth the discomfort for him.
“His sunrise.” Yes, that’s what he called it. It began a thousand silent poems that sang in his head (The ones too beautiful for simple words or paper) as he watched her sleep. She always slept on the side of the bed near the window. It was the window the sun would break through, as if nature wanted to be sure to take part in this little daily event. But they, in the long run, could only be supporting players to her performance.
The smile would always start slow. The left side of the face… yes, it would start there… a fidget… a slight movement… rise… rise… then the right… a little… her teeth would make a brief appearance… then one hand would (usually the right) reach to touch her pillow (he never knew why she would have that impulse)… and then… eyes… smile… cue the sunlight…
You couldn’t help but kiss that smile. Cassandra was awake.
What the good reverend didn’t know is that Cassandra was always haunted by nightmares. If he knew he probably would’ve asked her to discuss it (as his thousand hours of practical social work skills kicked in). But that was a road she didn’t want to go down… no need… no need…
She already knew where the nightmares came from. She didn’t need an analysis to tell her that. The images flew in a torrid wave of flesh and tight unreleasing grips and pain. All her memories had become one man to her. He had four arms that held her down and eight legs that would bump and grind forcing her into uncomfortable positions. “The Beast” (yes, that is what she called it in her mind) had no face, but every night it would consume her. She was consumed by the touch, the humiliating and painful embrace, and just his presence. She felt his weight all pressing down, down, down on her.
At six a.m. she could feel the Beast finishing. When he started to finish was when she began to relax… and then…. It was always the beautiful same, she would remind herself of who she was now. It was then she would reach for her pillow (she never had soft pillows in Amsterdam; she couldn’t allow herself comfort when she was in that place)…. Is it?… Yes, it’s a soft pillow. She is still saved. She knew her reality and who she was again in this existence.
She was Cassandra, the wife of the good reverend and a mother of two playful children… And THAT is what made her smile. Continue reading