On Monday night, I was unable to sit still. Dauvit would be returning the next evening.
My body shook as panic ravaged my earlier calm. I regretted asking him about the other world in my last letter. The tone in his letter seemed less than pleased by the question. He could still change his mind about wanting to see me.
I paced in the middle of the kitchen, wrestling with my own mind about whether or not I should beat myself up again. It was then that I realized that I really had two people living inside of my head. One hoped for love, creative writing, beautiful scenery, and exploration. The other part begged to die if it did not receive those things when it needed to.
I could not deny that I was crazy anymore. I panted while staring out at the window in an attempt to distract myself, but it was in vain.
I went to my bed and bashed my fists into my thighs and upper arms. They were still sore from the previous beatings, but I deserved the pain. I screamed into my pillow and pulled my hair while doing so. I would have rather died than experience such pain and panic. I thought of the kitchen knife set that could help me end it all.
I panted, shaking my head. “No. It is enough that I beat myself tonight.”
A sudden loud knock at the door made me jump. Catching my breath, I went to the door and opened it a crack. Outside stood the golden haired Bekka with her sunny personality. Company was the last thing that I wanted. I must have looked a sight, but I let her in with a soft smile. Her look of concern pulled at my heart strings.
“I am sorry to visit you without notice, but you seemed so disconnected today,” she said, marching straight into my home with her fancy ankle boots.
“I am worried that Dauvit will change his mind about seeing me.”
“Why?” Bekka cried.
“He did not reply to my last letter bidding him safe sailing home. I feel as though something that I said offended him!”
“Oh my, you are so worried, but listen to me. He would not tell his sister in law all about you, write you regularly from his summer house, and make you think that he was interested in you all this time if he was not. It would not make sense.”
“I know, you’re right. He’s assured me so well up until this point.”
I could not fight back the tears any longer. I turned away, feeling the fool for being weak, despite my experience. If only she knew what I had just done to myself.
“Oh, Zara.” Bekka rubbed my back gently. “I do not want you to ruin your mental state tonight. You have a big day tomorrow. You are finally going to see him. You see? There is nothing to be sad over.”
“I wish I could know that for sure,” I said, choking back a sob.
“Trust him. I think you should go to sleep early. Then, when you wake up, the day will be fresh and wonderful. You are going to see him tomorrow night. All right?”
“Yes, yes. I will go to sleep. Or, I could send him a telegram! Just to be sure.”
Bekka’s jaw dropped open. “You will do nothing of the sort! Whatever you do, do not send him a frantic telegraph.”
I took a deep breath. I must have sounded insane. My reputation of being level headed and intelligent was going slowly out the window.
“Please, do not tell the doctor about how I acted tonight. I am so embarrassed.”
“Of course I would never say a word,” Bekka said seriously. “We are friends.”
I wiped my eyes. My worry remained, but I felt a little better after my new friend’s reassurance.
“Thank you for your encouragement.”
“It was my pleasure,” Bekka said softly. “Now, got to sleep. See you in the morning.”
We embraced. The scent of rose water and her gentle touch soothed some of my anxiety.
“You are a good friend, Bekka.”
She smiled, blinking back an eyeful of tears. “Good night, dear Zara.”
The next day, Bekka kept me busy by making me laugh and telling me about a beau that she had spent a couple of afternoons with recently. On my walk home that evening, my insides stopped fussing. After weeks of nervousness and anticipation, tonight was the night Dauvit would return to me. I would hold him, kiss him, and tell him how much I missed him. We would be able to have some amazing conversations. I hoped that he would take it well that I would be leaving for home the following morning.
I busied myself to clean up my house, bathed, moisturized, and perfumed. I slipped into my newest night gown, letting my blonde hair down past my shoulders. It fell in loose waves due to the humidity of the day. I tried to write while I waited for Dauvit’s knock, but I was unable to focus.
Echoing footsteps livened up the quiet night outside. I went to the window with a pounding heart. I sat down on my chair so as not to look like an anxious puppy dog as he strode up to my home. Five minutes passed, and I had not yet heard a knock. I put my coat on and went outside to see what was happening.
Two men were busying themselves with repairing the carriage wheel. So surprised was I that such a thing had happened on such a night, I ended up staring at the broken wheel in a daze.
“Hello,” said Dauvit.
I made out his handsome profile in the darkness.
“Hello!” I said happily. “Forgive me, I was surprised to see the carriage wheel broken.”
I went to him and he placed an arm around me, but his focus was on the carriage. “Just give me a few more moments to help the driver here, and I will be inside.”
Feeling foolish for bothering Dauvit when he was busy, I stepped back to my house with heightened worry. When he stepped inside as the carriage drove away with its fixed wheel, we hugged.
“You had a wonderful visit, then?” I asked.
He nodded, seemingly distracted.
“Would you like to sit and talk for a little bit?” he asked.
“Yes, of course, allow me to make some tea,” I said with a smile.
The simple scene was what I had dreamed about for those two difficult weeks. He watched me move about as we made small talk. He was tired from the trip, but I hardly noticed.
Mesmerized by his magnetic energy, I moved closer to him, barely aware that I was doing so, as I told him about my day.
“My parents asked me to come visit them for one week. I am leaving tomorrow morning, just as you have returned,” I said sadly. “I wish we had more time before I leave.”
“Oh, that is quite all right. You need to see your family. I will happily accompany you on your trip to the train station.”
“I would love that,” I smiled.
A romantic picture of him seeing me off as the train took me away for a while formed in my momentarily content mind. I smiled as he stared deep into my eyes. How I had missed his amber gaze.
I made tea while he picked up the elegant white fascinator from the table. It was the surprise item that my mother had sent to me.
“You are wearing this on your return trip home?” he asked, playfully setting the dainty head piece on his head. “This is fitting for you, since you are so fascinating.”
We both laughed.
“That is also a very lovely night gown you are wearing,” he said, setting down the fascinator and allowing his gaze to travel down my body. He brought his hands to my waist and pulled me in toward him.
“Forget about the tea for now,” he said with a devilish glint in those eyes.
As steam danced from two poured cups of tea on my table, I led him into my room. My dream became real.
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