From the book
Mommy! Mommy! Mommy is asleep on the floor. She has been asleep for a long time. I brush her hair because she likes that. She doesn't wake up. I shake her. Mommy! My tummy hurts. It is hungry. He isn't here. I am thirsty. In the kitchen I pull a chair to the sink, and I have a drink. The water splashes over my blue sweater. Mommy is still asleep. Mommy wake up! She lies still. She is cold. I fetch my blankie, and I cover Mommy, and I lie down on the sticky green rug beside her. Mommy is still asleep. I have two toy cars. They race by the floor where Mommy is sleeping. I think Mommy is sick. I search for something to eat. In the freezer I find peas. They are cold. I eat them slowly. They make my tummy hurt. I sleep beside Mommy. The peas are gone. In the freezer is something. It smells funny. I lick it and my tongue is stuck to it. I eat it slowly. It tastes nasty. I drink some water. I play with my cars, and I sleep beside Mommy. Mommy is so cold, and she won't wake up. The door crashes open. I cover Mommy with my blankie. He's here. Fuck. What the fuck happened here? Oh, the crazy fucked-up bitch. Shit. Fuck. Get out of my way, you little shit. He kicks me, and I hit my head on the floor. My head hurts. He calls somebody and he goes. He locks the door. I lay down beside Mommy. My head hurts. The lady policeman is here. No. No. No. Don't touch me. Don't touch me. Don't touch me. I stay by Mommy. No. Stay away from me. The lady policeman has my blankie, and she grabs me. I scream. Mommy! Mommy! I want my mommy. The words are gone. I can't say the words. Mommy can't hear me. I have no words.
"Christian! Christian!" Her voice is urgent, pulling him from the depths of his nightmare, the depths of his despair. "I'm here. I'm here."
He wakes and she's leaning over him, grasping his shoulders, shaking him, her face etched with anguish, blue eyes wide and brimming with tears.
"Ana." His voice is a breathless whisper, the taste of fear tarnishing his mouth. "You're here."
"Of course I'm here."
"I had a dream . . ."
"I know. I'm here, I'm here."
"Ana." He breathes her name, and it's a talisman against the black choking panic coursing through his body.
"Hush, I'm here." She curls around him, her limbs cocooning him, her warmth leeching into his body, forcing back the shadows, forcing back the fear. She is sunshine, she is light . . . she is his.
"Please let's not fight." His voice is hoarse as he wraps his arms around her.
"The vows. No obeying. I can do that. We'll find a way." The words rush out of his mouth in a tumble of emotion and confusion and anxiety.
"Yes. We will. We'll always find a way," she whispers, and her lips are on his, silencing him, bringing him back to the now.
I stare up through gaps in the sea-grass parasol at the bluest of skies, summer blue, Mediterranean blue, with a contented sigh. Christian is beside me, stretched out on a sun lounge. My husband--my hot, beautiful husband, shirtless and in cut-off jeans--is reading a book predicting the collapse of the Western banking system. By all accounts, it's a page-turner. I haven't seen him sit this still, ever. He looks more like a student than the hotshot CEO of one of the top privately owned companies in the United States.
On the final leg of our honeymoon, we laze in the afternoon sun on the beach of the aptly...