Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CALENDAR (10/20/16)
TITLE: Like The Sun
By Zacharia Fox
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August 1982 spelled in red-white-and-blue letters, underneath a picture of the Liberty Bell. It was Saturday the seventh. No plans. Still, she couldn’t shake the feeling.
She through on a robe and staggered to the kitchen. Her dad was reading the paper with the front page folded down.
“Morning, Dad.” She kissed his forehead. “Eggs?”
When he looked at her, his eyes were glossy. “Sure, kid.”
“Something like that.”
As they ate, Marlis strained to remember what she’d forgotten. It was like an itch in the middle of the back- irritatingly just out of reach.
“Do you want to take a walk darling?”
“Sure. Let me get ready for the day.”
But when she went to the hallway bathroom, the door wouldn’t open. “Dad? The bathroom door’s stuck.
“I’ll take care it later. Use mine for now.”
“But yours doesn’t have a mirror.”
He smiled, but his eyes were still sad. “I love you just like you are.”
As they walked through the trails on the acreage, she imagined raising her family there. “Dad…”
“I know you’re not Beau’s biggest fan; him being from the north and all. But, we start our senior year of college next month and… we’re getting serious. I mean… well, what I mean to say is, I love him.”
He stopped walking and stared at her with an expression she couldn’t decipher. “Does he love you?”
“Oh, yes.” Her heart leapt.
A pair of tears dropped from her dad’s eyes. There was something about those eyes. She threw herself into his arms. “He’s like you, Dad. He’s not all after this world and money and things. His heart’s simple and true.”
She felt him shake a bit as he held her. And then that feeling was back, and she was trying to peer through the fog in her mind. There was something trapped behind some door; knocking, trying to get out… begging to be remembered.
There was something familiar, something that made her heart flutter and her knees go weak. His cologne? But it wasn’t his cologne. It was different. And his touch; gentle. Tender. His fingers pressing lightly into her skin.
But her Dad let go, wiping tears from his face and slumped onto a bench under an old willow tree.
Marlis pulled back a curtain of willow branches, each step toward the old bench like a step down memory lane. She sat next to him and watched his hand inch closer, until his fingers kissed hers, touch light as heaven’s breeze.
Her heart pounded like a gavel demanding things be set right, like her body already knew the secret she was searching for.
Then he pulled away, and where his hand had been there was a carving in the bench.
Beau & Marlis 1985
She looked up, staring into eyes deep and blue as the ocean. Her father’s eyes were gray. The blue-eyed man took her hand so his lips glissaded over her skin, hot breath dancing on her hand… and then the door opened.
“Beau?” Her eyes stung as she said his name.
“We’re married?” She put her hand over her mouth.
“What year is it?”
“I… had an accident?”
“Yeah. You have a type of amnesia. Your memory resets each day. Most days you think you’re in college.”
He took her hand again and she crumpled into his arms and sobbed.
An eternity of hugs and kisses and questions and answers ended too soon, and they walked back to the house under a sun as fading as Marlis’ memory.
Beau led her to the hallway bathroom and unlocked the door. She looked in the mirror and found a face that belonged to her mother- wrinkles off the corners of her lips, crow’s feet outside the eyes, graying hair- but it was her.
“Can I stay with you tonight?”
A tear ran unchecked down Beau’s face. “Tomorrow, you’ll think I’m your dad.”
She lay lonely in bed staring at the red-white-and-blue 1982, sheet catching a tear for each day she’d lived in August of Eighty-two.
Eventually, she got up and walked to Beau’s room. His door squeaked as she opened it. “Beau? Are you awake?”
He shot up.
Marlis climbed in bed and laid her head in his lap. “I know who you are tonight.”
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