2004: Nightmares

I wake up in a sweat. Where are you? Is it over? Did you win?

The clock reads, a grainy red, 3:47 am. Oh. It was another nightmare.

I roll over and get out of bed to make sure he didn’t break in. The wind blows against the panes. I shudder.

When I take a sip of water, it tastes like blood. It was a dream, right?

After I crawl back into bed, my mind won’t shut off. I relive the nightmare.

I punch him repeatedly with slayer strength, but he gets up and laughs in my face. “Is that all you got baby girl?”

It’s Dad.

We’re in his apartment. The surroundings seem strangely vivid.

I kick him this time. Hard. In the gut. Again, he laughs. But this time he comes at me.

I run downstairs to the kitchen. I know this place. I used to live here.

Grab a knife. His best butcher knife. He always keeps them sharp.

For a moment, I hesitate. You can’t hesitate. Remember what he taught you.

So, I spin around and plunge it through his chest.

No blood! Again, he gets up. He’s the terminator. You’re Sarah Connor. How does this end?

HELP!  I scream but no words escape my lips. My eyes lock on his. He won’t win. But then, he manages to grasp my neck.

He squeezes slowly enough to watch me squirm. He’s going to enjoy this. You can tell by his eyes.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Your story. You’re supposed to win.

You’re awake.

It’s over.

My heart beats hard. I sit up in bed at the memory of it. My throat still throbs. I rub it a bit.

Really, though, is it ever going to be over?

1989: Superhero Crush

I nestle into the prickly orangey-brown tweed couch to watch Superman. Too itchy.

 Dad’s snores drift from the bedroom, so I plop down on the floor, instead. Legs crossed into a pretzel. You can hear better this way.

 This next part, I know by heart. Lois sits on her balcony. Superman soars in. Love.

Mesmerized, my eyes follow the sweeping motion of Lois’s sheer white gown in the night breeze. She’s an angel. A smart one. Will you be a pretty reporter when you grow up?

 Except for the smoking part. Because that’s bad for you.

 Superman checks her lungs with his x-ray vision. Pheww she’s okay. He cares about her the way someone is supposed to care about you. When you grow up, you’re going to marry Superman.

 I blink and blush at the love scenes. Hurry. Uncomfortable.

After Superman flies off, I can tell Lois misses him. She’s stuck with Clark, now. No, Lois! Can’t you see that Clark’s the one who really loves you? They’re the same person!

 I love you, Clark, and I promise that I’ll be nice to you someday. If I ever find you.

 The bed creaks as Dad jolts awake. I wipe a single tear that has fallen onto my cheek before he can see it. Close call.

 When the theme song plays at the end, Dad picks me up and holds me high over his head. He flies me around our hotel room. I sweep my arms out wide. Just like Lois Lane.