I find myself sitting on my beige couch with a little girl bouncing on my knee. Her black curly hair flows just below her shoulders as she claps her little hands with joy. I look around to see the pictures of my family all around me as the television is showing a child’s cartoon show. I look to the face of this little girl and see that she has the same blue eyes as my wife. I look at the glass coffee table to try and find something else that makes sense for this happening right now. I hear my wife’s graceful steps approaching me from the kitchen, so I shake my head to see if it changes my scenery. The little girl on my knee says as she’s bouncing with excitement, “Daddy, did you hear that? He said anything is possible if you try!”
I reply, “Yea sweetie… that’s great” as I continue searching for clarity.
My wife enters the room with a fresh cup of coffee steaming in her mug and gives me a soft kiss on my cheek. Confusion creases my complexion as I look at her and then look around my home with these off-white walls holding me in. I look at my chair and still see that my cat Shylah has claimed dominance over my belongings by bathing without a care of who’s watching. Honestly I think she enjoys it when people watch her bathe. She’s a freak, but I love her. Sabrina stares at me and asks, “What’s wrong babe?”
I reply, “Uh… nothing… it’s just nice to be home. Still trying to get used to it.”
She smiles and says, “Yeah it’s taken you a little bit to adjust from the chaos of war to the simple boring life we live. But Cassandra and I are happy that you’re with us now.”
Cassandra says with her voice bouncing with her body, “Yeah daddy! We love you.”
I turn her around from my knee to examine her little button nose with those plump cheeks. I say, “And I couldn’t love anyone else more than you two my little angel.”
Kisses are smothered on my little girl’s neck after that comment; her giggling kisses my soul in return. The touch of her beautiful young hair on my face makes tears want to well within my eyes. We hug each other and then I stare at my wife who has the same twinkle in her eyes that caused us to have our first child. Sabrina says after I give her a smirk, “Cassandra, why don’t you go and play with your toys so that daddy and I can talk about some stuff?”
Cassandra replies, “What are you going to talk about mommy?”
“Just some grown up stuff. We’ll join you in your room after we’re done. Okay?”
Cassandra hops down and says, “Okay!” as her footsteps radiate on the hardwood floor to her carpeted room.
Sabrina glides over to me and sets her mug on the table before she wraps my arm around her back with her legs straddling me. She leans into my face as she says, “My man” and lets me taste the most delicious item on the planet. Well, besides the place where life comes from on her.
My trimmed fingernails stroke gently on her back until I can feel her senses tingling with excitement. I grab the back of her hair and pull it until I can slowly caress her neck with my tongue. As she sinks deeper onto me, I feel that my desires for her are growing steadily in my loins. She whips her head back down and bites my lip like the animal that she is. We continue tasting on each other until I feel her eager fingers reaching for my concealed weapon. She opens the slit in her pajamas and anticipates the feeling of life that we wish to share. Then, as unexpected as ever, we hear Cassandra’s feet stomping steadily in our direction.
Sabrina shows her grace by quickly subduing our passions and making it look like we were just sitting on the couch watching television. A grin of annoyed delight rests on my face as I stare into the distance. Cassandra jumps onto Sabrina’s lap and says, “Mommy guess what!” I’m so happy she didn’t jump onto my lap.
Sabrina replies, “What is it sweetie?”
“Thomas says that we should go to the park and play!”
“Oh he did? Why does he want to do that?”
“Because… ummm…. because it’s a nice day!”
Sabrina looks at me and back at Cassandra as she says, “We’ll go to the park after we eat some breakfast. So get dressed and I’ll start to cook.”
“Okay!” Her stomping feet lead her back to her room so that she can put on some clothes.
Sabrina says, “You know you should make sure she gets dressed properly. She always puts everything on backwards.”
I look at Sabrina and say, “I will when I calm down. But… who’s Thomas?”
Her head drops with a grin on her face as she says, “It’s her imaginary friend. It’s fine at this age, but if she’s still talking about Thomas at eight, then I’m gonna start getting worried.”
We chuckle for a little bit as I say, “I know that’s right, she’s not old enough for a boyfriend.”
“Oh is that right? And when will she be ready for a boyfriend Mr. Dictator?”
“When I’m dead.” We laugh some more before I say, “But seriously, Thomas knows how to be quite the cock-block, so I don’t like him already.”
More laughter is shared between us before she kisses my lips as she gets up. She says, “Don’t worry, she does like to take naps at two o’clock and Thomas is sleeping whenever she’s sleeping.”
“Praise the lord.”
Laughter carries her to the kitchen as I sit there with a smile on my face. I can only think that this is heaven because I can’t recall anything until now. At least I know that I’ll always be with my family in some way. But then, hell emerges again as I feel a serious sting in my chest and my eyes awake to me inside of a helicopter. I scream, “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck” as I punch the first person that I see.
The rest of the soldiers smile as one of them says, “He’s alive!”
My frantic eyes search the room and then look at my chest that has a needle sticking out of it. I ask, “What the fuck is in my chest?”
A soldier says, “The medic that you punched out gave you an adrenaline shot. It brought you back sir.”
I sigh as my head falls back down and then pull out the shot quickly. My head shakes as I look out into the vast desert that almost stole me from my family. The soldiers take turns patting me and bouncing in their bodies with a grin pointed in my direction. I remain silent until we land back at base and then I’m taken into the hospital. The doctor puts me under so that he can surgically remove the bullets in my body and stitch up the wound on the back of my head. I’m just looking forward to the pleasant dreams that will accompany me without feeling the pain of this reality. These beds still don’t know what comfort means either; I freaking hate hospitals.