Grandiose 10

Kauffman’session room smells like somebody smoked a hundred cigarretes. It makes me cough. Victoria opens the windows behind Kauffman’s desk and in a few minutes the room smells fresh again. Kauffman is late; he is never late. I find myself feeling worried.

Victoria didn’t handcuff me to the chair today, which has lifted my mood a bit. I feel free. My mind is empty; I have no thoughts to ponder upon. I don’t even think about Henry. I sit up straight with mother’s voice in my head telling me how good posture is important. She always instilled that upon me while growing up in London. How I missed her as I sat there looking out the window.

It was a rather warm January morning. A mockingbird chirped a song on a high branch of an oak tree right outside Kauffman’s session room. A brown rabbit searching for his morning grub lurked around the tree. I wondered if he had a family and how they waited patiently for him to come back. I hummed as the mockingbird sang it’s song and when it was done it flew away into the ocean blue sky. If only I could go outside and feel the sun on my skin. I desperately yearned to have the wind blow through my long red hair and flush my cheeks.

I suddenly hear Kauffman’s footsteps rushing towards the room. I know this by the clanking noise they make similar to a women’s pumps. They are annoying to hear but he doesn’t care what people think.

“I’m terribly sorry. I overslept.”Kauffman said breathlessly as he headed towards his desk. He did look tired; his eyes were puffy and dark. His clothes were wrinkled. Nevertheless, he managed to maintain his perfectly groomed dark brown hair, parted to the left. He always kept his hair well-groomed.

Victoria went over to him and started massaging his shoulders after he had sat down.

“There-there relax”She said to him.

“That does feel nice”Kauffman smiled with eyes closed. This angered me for some reason. Was I jealous? I quickly adverted my gaze to the window again, while Kauffman and Victoria went over notes.

I didn’t notice I had fallen into a trance; staring out the window. I was far away in my mind when I heard distant voices screaming my name. Gradually the voices grew louder; realizing it was Kauffman and Victoria announcing the start of the session. I shook myself back to the present.

“Now that we’re all back, let’s continue where we had left off the last time”Kauffman said to me.

“You were at your Uncle’s apartment” he continued.

“Yes” I replied.

“Let’s begin” Kauffman responded opening up his journal to a blank page as I began telling my story.

The next morning, Uncle Leo, had made us a big breakfast as well. That man really loved to cook. He made us French Toast, scrambled eggs, waffles and pancakes, freshly squeezed orange juice, oatmeal raisin muffins, fruit bowl with yogurt, coffee, strawberry milkshakes, bacon, sausages and grilled cheese sandwiches.

I took a bit of everything. It was so good. My jaw dropped when I saw how Victoria had stuffed her plate so high with food.

“Aren you really going to eat all of that” I asked her in total disbelief.

“Yes”she mouthed back with a mouth full of scrambled eggs and bacon. She did in fact eat it all and had herself a second helping. Uncle Leo was actually flattered by this. He urged me to eat more but I gracefully declined.

It was about 11 a.m. by the time we had left Uncle Leo’s apartment, bloated from the delicious breakfast we had just eaten. Before leaving, he had handed me a stack full of cash. At first I didn’t want to take it but I needed the money since I hadn’t found a job yet.

Outside the temperature was of Spring not of Winter at all that November morning while Victoria and I waited for our taxi. There wasn’t much people outside either. We didn’t have to wait long for the taxi; it arrived 10 minutes after we had called for it. There wasn’t much traffic so the trip home was a breeze.

Entering into our building’s main floor, we met with one of Victoria’s friends, named Alexis. She had been waiting for the elevator when we had entered. She had long blonde hair that reached her waist, wore a plum colored wool coat, black stockings and chocolate brown boots.

When she saw Victoria she smiled, “Victoria, how are you?!” she exclaimed as she rushed to give Victoria a hug.

“I’m fine, thanks. And you?”Victoria said to her. They talked for a few minutes until Alexis asked Victoria who I was.

“Where are my manners, Alexis, this is Elizabeth, my new roommate. She just moved here from England.”

“How do you do”Alexis smiled at me as she stretched out her hand for me to shake. At that moment, we heard the elevator doors open and I turned to face Henry. We smiled at each other. His ocean blue eyes glistening as the sun hit his face. I tried very hard not to blush.

“Fancy seeing you again”he said to me.

“Had an all-nighter, I see” he told me, pointing at my clothes. I tugged at my black sweater, slightly embarrased.

“Kind-of, we stayed over at my Uncle Leo’s apartment” I replied.

“What are you doing now? Want to grab coffee?” he asked.

“We just had a big breakfast at my Uncle’s, I don’t think I could fit anything anymore. Can I take a raincheck?” I laughed.

“Definitely, maybe later we can go out?” He smiled at me.

“Yes, maybe later”I smiled back.

“Here’s looking at you kid” He said to me as he hugged me goodbye. I watched him walk out the building and take a left down the street.

“Are you two a thing now?” Victoria said walking up behind me into the elevator.

“No, I just met him” I responded.

“It looks like he likes you” Victoria snorted.

“I don’t know…maybe” I replied.

“I can’t focus on that now, I have too many things to do” I continued.

“So serious” Victoria laughed. I didn’t bother to respond. Arriving at our apartment, I quickly headed towards my room remaining in there while I finished unpacking the rest of my luggage. It was well past four when I had finished unpacking and organizing my things.

Victoria didn’t know how to cook and I was too tired to do so-so we ended up ordering a pizza. We ate it while watching a movie in the living room with a bottle of red wine. We didn’t really talk much during the movie and after it was done, Victoria went to her room and stayed there the rest of the evening. I cleaned up and watched TV until midnight then went to bed.

I had hoped Henry would have come over but felt silly thinking about him. I didn’t know much about him and already had taken a shine to him.

“Did you ever go on a date with him? Kauffman asked suddenly, breaking my train of thought.

“Yes, but that’s later in the story” I said not looking at him.

“Have you remembered anything about the murder?” he asked me. This took me off guard and caused me to midly hyperventalate.

“No!”I yelled, starting to cry.

“I see…”he said, then called for Victoria to bring me my lunch. I wasn’t too sure about telling him the two visions I had been having where in one I hold a bloody bat and in the other a bloody knife while an unidentified man lays on the floor, dead. I couldn’t be sure that those visions or dreams were actual flashbacks.

I eat my lunch slowly, not wanting to talk with Kauffman anymore. He has been hostile to me for a few weeks now and I don’t like it at all. Victoria seems to be enjoying his sudden change in attitude towards me. I recoil in dismay. To my surprise, kauffman decides to end the session early and am left in the community room with a few other patients. I don’t talk to them. I sit on a brown sofa near a large glass window facing the grounds.

I stare out the window, thinking about how tired looking Kauffman had been. I was worried about him. He wasn’t himself these days. Now I find myself watching the other patients go about the community room but lose interest quickly.

“Junior,” a fifth year patient, waves to me from a chess table across the room.We called him “Junior” because he is a second generation patient. His father had been emitted here many years ago. He plays by himself. I smile at him. He sports a shaved head, an over-sized black t-shirt and blue asylum issued pajama pants. He wore no shoes.

In my periphery, I see Molly walking towards me.

“You can go back to your room until we come get you for dinner” she says to me. I slowly make my way to my room. As I make a right turn towards the hallway that leads to my room, I see him. Henry. He is by the exit doors that lead down to the basement. He smiles at me then disappears through the exit doors. I run after him. I make my way down to the basement screaming for Henry. He is nowhere to be found in the dimly lit maze.

I soon realize that I am lost and start to cry. Then I feel strong warm hands grab at my shoulders and turn me around to face Kauffman. He holds me tight to his chest and I let myself be soothed by his embrace. He is kind and gentle as he leads me to his office for a cup of hot Chamomile tea.

I tell him what happened and he just nods. He walks over to his disc player and soon it starts to play an old American Swing song. He comes over to where I am sitting and pulls me up by my hands to dance. He twirls me around and I laugh like a school girl. Then he pulls me close and kisses me on my forehead. He traces his fingers on my lips and I pull away.

I open my eyes and find myself in my room on the floor, shivering. It was just a dream.

Grandiose 9

Kauffman came into my room briefly this morning with Demetrius and a new orderly.  They dragged me to the seclusion room on the third floor. I screamed all the way there. It was not a great place to be, well for me that is. I hated being in the dark. I dreaded going there again.

The third floor had dimmer lights than the rest of the building; that’s where they kept the psychopaths-the morbidly deranged. I heard them scream in madness all those dark souls and for a moment I thought I would join them. I refused to succumb to their madness. Image

            “Hey little girl, come back and play!” a convicted serial killer laughed. Demetrius and the new orderly forced me to walk faster. We reach the steel door that requires 6 gold plated bolts to keep it secure.  It was a small dark room with black walls and one light bulb that flickered all the time. The walls were covered with disturbing art from the other patients who had been exiled there. There were even stories of patients dying there and ghosts haunting the room.  I beg Kauffman to reconsider but he ignores me. I cry hysterically.

Demetrius and the new orderly try to pull me in but I hang on to the door like a 5 year old.

            “No!” I scream. They are pulling me from my legs now and I’m holding on to the side of the door for my dear life. Kauffman begins to pry my fingers off the door and I am pulled into the room, defeated. I curl into a fetal position at the back left corner of the room and shiver.

            “This is not a punishment. I am really trying to help you” I hear Kauffman say but am too busy crying to even acknowledge him. Kauffman leaves a few blank white pages and a box of crayons on an old wood student desk in the middle of the room. He tells me he wants me to draw something and heads out the room with Demetrius and the new orderly. The closing of the door as the bolts clank in place makes me even more delirious. The fact that he didn’t tell me how long I would be in there causes me to hyperventilate.

The only light bulb in the room starts to flicker, elevating my forthcoming panic attack. I remain in the corner not moving one bit. Somehow I fall asleep for a while; don’t know how long, though. There are no windows in this room or a clock, so I am oblivious to time here as well.

Before Kauffman had left, he had placed an old tape player on the student desk to play both Beethoven and Mozart. I suppose the music calmed me down. After waking up the first time, I began to cry again, realizing it was not a dream. I was actually in that room in the dark with just a glimmer of light from the incessantly flickering bulb in the middle of the room. I cried and cried for hours, begging for someone to let me out. No one came.  All that crying made me sleepy again. I went back to sleep for a second time. I don’t know for how long I slept that time either.

When I awoke, I begrudgingly crawled my way to the student desk and pulled myself onto the chair. It creaked and rocked from my weight. I considered my options. Perhaps Kauffman was watching me through a camera in the room and if I didn’t do what he said I would stay in here forever. I stared at the art on the wall in front of me created by past patients, most of which depicted suicide and other disturbing images. The ones who used a lot of the black and red crayons were the broken souls on this floor. There were a few rainbows and happy faces but only a few.

I think about what to draw, scratching my head with a blue crayon. I decide to look at the art on the wall instead as I slip out of the chair and make my way towards them. So much pain on these walls, I think to myself. Like I said beforehand, many of these cried out their suicidal tendencies. The more deranged ones drew dark images of a homicidal nature. Then there were the ones who just wanted to go home, like a patient named Emily, who drew a picture of her family.

It was the typical family picture a kindergartener would draw; a house with a white picket fence with the whole family lined up in front, smiling. There was also a dog there too. She even wrote the words, “I want to go home” in the green grass in black crayon. Emily had a personality disorder. She had murdered her whole family with a machete seven years ago on Christmas Eve. They never figured out why.

Tears streamed down my face as I slipped my hand through all the artwork, feeling all their pain. I went back to the chair and sat there, just staring at the blank pages on the table. I thought about Henry and what Demetrius had said. He had seen him too.

“That’s it!” I exclaimed.  I decided to draw a portrait of Henry so I could show it to Demetrius and confirm my story to Kauffman. Then he would see that I wasn’t crazy. A few minutes into the sketch, I hear the door unbolt and in comes a tall skinny blonde hair nurse with my lunch. It’s only lunch! I thought I had been in there for hours. The nurse smiles at me and places the tray of food to my right side. I smile at her for not covering my drawing with the tray. I guess some people still have manners.

I barely touch the food because all I want is to finish my perfect portrait of Henry. I make sure to accurately emphasize on his deep blue warm eyes, blonde hair, strong jaw and full lips. When I am done, I trace my fingers on his lips, pretending he is there with me. More hours pass by and I fall asleep once more. The door opens a few hours later, jolting me up from my sleep to see Kauffman walk in.

He doesn’t talk to me as he grabs for my sketch of Henry. He looks at it for a few seconds with a stern look upon his face, and then calls for Demetrius who is told to take me to the cafeteria for dinner. Kauffman was being cold to me and I didn’t know why. Then the strangest thing happened, Demetrius smiled at me. I was taken aback by this because he never smiled. I found this rather peculiar.

I didn’t feel much like eating. Knowing my chances were slim, I asked Demetrius if he could let me hang out in the community room instead. He of course, said no at first. It was forbidden to miss a meal because they gave us our medication with it. A few moments later, Demetrius, to my surprise, changed route whispering the following into my ear.

            “Only this time” he said as we made our way to the other side of the building back down stairs to the main floor. We walked through the long empty hallways in silence. I stared at the floor as I walked. I wasn’t particularly happy after spending most of the day locked up in a dark room.

About 20 minutes later, we reached the dark green doors of the community room. It was empty with the exception of the attending nurse who was enclosed in an office with glass walls. She looked at Demetrius who gave her a non-verbal sign which she acknowledged in agreement by nodding her head.

The community room was filled with vintage chairs, sofas and TV’s. The walls were covered in an out-dated floral wallpaper. It was like you were being transported back to the 70s. I made my way to a leprechaun green sofa that faced the largest of the four TV’s in the room. I didn’t bother to turn it on, I just stared at the dark screen. Demetrius went over to chat up the nurse, always having a watchful eye on me, though. I curled up on the sofa, my eyes growing heavy and falling asleep once again.

During my short nap, I had a nightmare or maybe it was a flashback. I couldn’t really be sure. I was holding a knife and was covered in blood. I heard water running and police sirens in the distant. There is a man dead on the floor but can’t make out his face. At that moment I lose the image as Demetrius furiously shakes me, waking me up. He is now dragging me back to my room. There has been a murder. One of the dangerous patients has stabbed a nurse and they are ordering a lockdown.

Hurrying back to my room, I can’t help but wonder if what I dreamt was a memory or just a nightmare. Nothing is clear. I have to figure things out soon because I don’t have much time. Kauffman is growing weary of me; I fear he will give up on me. I fear being exiled back onto the third floor. I’ll die there. Third floor residents don’t last long; they always die of mysterious causes or go missing after a few years. Nobody ever knows what happens to them. Two nurses rush past us, looking scared. I knew who they were afraid of. I knew who stabbed that poor nurse. And I also knew he would disappear sometime soon. 

Grandiose 7

I’m watching the snow fall. My face is pressed against the left glass wall of the main floor, overlooking the garden which is now completely covered in a beautiful white blanket of snow. Sometimes they let me walk around if I’ve been good but always under the watchful eye of Demetrius. Demetrius was a steroid pumping, six foot four orderly from Russia, covered in tattoos. He was known for abusing his authority and had a really bad temper. He loved to physically abuse patients if they didn’t adhere to his way of doing things. He never hurt me though, but I didn’t receive special treatment either. Through my periphery, I saw him take out a cigarette and light it. The hall was empty; everyone else was at lunch or in their rooms. I had eaten my lunch in my room and he had come to surprise me. He knew I liked looking outside. Image

I yearn to go out and feel the cold on my skin and throw myself onto the ground and make snow angels. They rarely let me go outside; not since the attempted suicide incident when I was first emitted. It was my first Spring here, and they had taken me out to the garden. While walking around, I noticed a sharp rock by an old oak tree and picked it up without anyone noticing. I attempted to cut my wrists but was stopped by two nurses. I was more deranged then.

After that they never let me out, even now I am restricted to these walls. It is maddening really to watch those who can go outside in the Spring and Summer. I envy them. I always plead with them to let me go out but it is futile. This of course drives me into screaming spells which results with me being drugged and locked up in my room.  I cringed at the thought of it.

“Time to go back Lizzie” Demetrius says to me in a strong Russian accent. I didn’t like people calling me Lizzie but I wasn’t going to tell him that. I didn’t want to see what happens when you talk back to him. I was very comfortable with our arrangement. He grabbed my right arm a bit too hard as he led me back to my room. When we got there, he shoved me in and slammed my door shut. I stayed in there until it was time for dinner. This time it was Janice who got me and took me to the cafeteria.

Janice was obnoxious and loud. I towered over her but she was a big woman with very strong arms.  It was around 6:30 p.m. when I got my last meal for the day. I decided to sit at the far right corner of the cafeteria. I was one of the few patients that actually got to eat outside of their rooms. Most patients were fed in their rooms; some were too dangerous to let out. When I was first emitted, I was one of those dangerous patients who reside on the third floor. My tray was slid through an opening in the door and sometimes the orderly would be cruel and shove it in. It would spill the contents on the floor and I would have to eat it.

Then one day, Molly, a shy, petite nurse, came into my room with my lunch. She wasn’t afraid of me. She was nice to me and sat with me as I ate. I took a liking to her right away. The Director was impressed at how Molly had tamed me, that I was given cafeteria privileges. Come my fourth evaluation by the former psychiatrist (which I don’t recall ever meeting) I was moved to the first floor.

Now I sit in the far right corner of the cafeteria, staring at my food tray. It consists of macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, chicken breast, fruit bowl and a box of orange juice. I’m not hungry. I think about throwing it out but pick up the plastic white spoon instead and shove it into the mashed potatoes, putting a good heap of it into my mouth.

I eat everything in record speed even the juice is gulped down in less than a ten seconds. I sense someone watching me and turn my head slightly to the left to see Kauffman staring at me. When he sees me looking back, he smiles at me. I quickly turn my head back to look at my now empty food tray and blush a little, glad that my long red hair covers my face.

“Sweet Elizabeth” I hear a familiar distant voice say.

“Henry!” I yelp as I jolt myself off my seat and look around for him. Everyone turns to look at me. I see him across the room and rush to meet him but am stopped by three big orderlies. I fight them screaming for Henry but when I look back to where I had seen him, he was no longer there. He had slipped away once again. I see a nurse inject a needle into my right arm and soon I start to feel sleepy. I am carried off back to my room, locked in for the remainder of the day.

Kauffman comes into my room a few hours later, looking rather frazzled. He hadn’t been sleeping much with my sudden drawback and his ever growing patient list. Despite his lack of sleep and stress, he still managed to keep a smile on his face. Behind him was Victoria or as she called herself now, Marissa.

“How are you?” Kauffman said to me with a smile.

“What happened with you tonight?” He continued to ask.

“I swear he was there!” I exclaimed. I went on to tell him of how I heard Henry call out to me and how I had seen him across the cafeteria by the far left exit door.

“I see…” Kauffman said in a low voice.

“We’ll talk about this further tomorrow morning” he went on to tell me as he turned to exit my room.

“Who is this Henry she speaks of?” Victoria whispered to Kauffman when they were out of Elizabeth’s earshot.

“Henry Betzel, but the thing is there is no record of him. I’ve done my research on her story. He doesn’t exist” Kauffman said to her with a sigh.

“He doesn’t exist?” Victoria replied, chuckling a bit.

“No” Kauffman responded with a yawn. I sat in my room, knees tucked in, shivering. I saw Henry with my own eyes. I wasn’t crazy or maybe I was. If only they had let me reach him. I didn’t sleep that night. I couldn’t.

Grandiose (6)

“I thought you died” Victoria said sarcastically as I slid into the taxi. I ignored her snarly remark.

“I better get a good tip for this” the Indian taxi driver scolded at us.

“Yes, Ms. Elizabeth here will give you a nice tip, won’t you?” Victoria replied looking straight at me. I opened my mouth to say something vile but I was too happy to start an argument. Sliding back into the seat, I turned to face the window and remained silent throughout our short trip to Uncle Leo’s.

Victoria being Victoria, knew something was up and pestered me until I finally gave in and told her everything that had happened with Henry.

“Wait, Henry Betzel, talked to you?” she exclaimed in disbelief.

“Yes, you know him?” I asked.

“Everyone knows who Henry Betzel is, his father owns half the city” Victoria went on to say. I sensed a hint of jealousy.

“I can’t believe he talked to you” Victoria repeated and again I didn’t say anything to counter her insult. I just stared at her, appalled, feeling ashamed for not having the courage to stand up for myself.

“What did you two talk about, anyway?” Victoria asked, suddenly.

“Nothing, really” I responded in a low voice.

“Hmm” she snorted.

“Here it is” the Indian taxi driver said.

“$12.50” he continued to say. I pulled out a twenty-dollar bill from my back jean pocket and handed it to him. I told him to keep the change as I exited the cab. I could smell Uncle Leo’s meatloaf from the street; the aromas from his third floor apartment electrified my nose. I took a moment to let them marinate and smiled. Image

“What are you waiting for? Let’s go, Princess!” Victoria yelled out at me from the front doors of Uncle Leo’s apartment building. I quickly rushed into the building just before the tall glass doors closed.

“You’re so weird” Victoria sneers at me.

“What exactly is your problem?” I shriek, finally exploding.

“I meant it as a compliment, stop being so sensitive” she replied with a smile. I didn’t know it then but she was using psychological warfare on me, and I didn’t stand a chance. I foolishly gave her the benefit of the doubt and disregarded the past two hours of abuse.

Uncle Leo’s building was a four story walk-up, no elevators. We walked up to the third floor in silence. When we got to his apartment, Victoria beat me to the punch and knocked on the door. It was like I didn’t even exist. Uncle Leo opened the door, revealing a fabulously decorated white and black apartment. He was a bit heavier since the last time I saw him. His dark brown hair was still full and luxurious as ever. He was wearing his classic blue cashmere sweater, dark wash blue jeans and black loafers.

“Well, hello there, Miss Victoria” Uncle Leo gushed as he hugged her.

“Darling, it’s been too long” Victoria tells him as she kisses him on the right cheek. For a moment, I thought I would go unnoticed and they would just go off without even considering my presence.

“Elizabeth, my dear” I hear Uncle Leo say as he pulls me into a tight hug. Victoria disappears into the apartment, leaving Uncle Leo and me in the third floor hallway. After a few more minutes of catching up and exchanging pleasantries, he invites me into his apartment.

Again, my nose is over-powered by the strong aromas of Uncle Leo’s feast that awaited us in the dining room. You would think a woman had decorated his apartment, but it was actually all done by Uncle Leo and his partner, James. It was mostly black and white in color with hints of pink, here and there. The walls were covered with professional black and white portraits of Uncle Leo, James and their precious Persian cat, named Luna.

When you entered the apartment, you couldn’t help but notice the full Italian white leather sofa that faced a large plasma TV hanging on the opposite wall. It was so clean and beautiful that I was scared to even go near it. Across the room by the terrace, there was a tall wooden bookshelf that nearly touched the ceiling, filled with numerous books of all sizes and colors. I smiled at this. I almost didn’t see Luna, sitting on the couch, as her coat blended in with it. She looked at me curiously, and then went back to licking her left paw.

“Let’s eat,” Uncle Leo said to me as he led me to the right, into the dining room area. There stood a long dark brown table covered with the most savory foods I’ve ever seen. I mean, Uncle Leo really out-did himself. There was his famous meatloaf, mashed potatoes, dumplings, wild yellow rice, chicken pot pie, two different salads, a fruit bowl, roasted pork, cherry and apple pie and so much more.

“Uncle, I don’t think it’s Thanksgiving yet” I joked with eyes wide and mouth watering.

“I forgot to mention, I would be inviting a few more friends to join us” he said as he led me to a chair.

“They should be here soon” he went on as he disappeared into another room. I sat there looking at all the food, wondering if I could eat it all. Victoria and a few other people walked in laughing as I was reaching for meatball. I quickly pulled my hand back, hoping nobody had seen me. I was so hungry. Victoria sat right next to me which I found to be strange for some reason.

“You must be Elizabeth” a tall blonde curly haired woman said to me as she shook my hand.

“Yes, and you are?” I smiled.

“Madora. Madora Wiles” she said to me in a James Bond kind of way.

“I am a drama teacher. I hear you want to be an actress.” She went on to say.

“Lovely to meet you” I told her while keeping a smile on my face.

“How do you…” I began to say but stopped myself, knowing the answer to my question. We talked for a while, and then Uncle announced it was time to eat and she patted my right shoulder and went on to find a seat. James was now standing next to Uncle Leo holding a glass of red wine. He also looked the same since I last saw him. He was significantly taller than my Uncle, had a nice build and was also bald. He smiled at me when he saw me. I smiled back.

“In honor of my lovely Elizabeth, I have prepared this fabulous meal welcoming her to New York!” Uncle cheered. Everyone else at the table gave me their welcome. I was greeted by so many people that I couldn’t possibly recount all of their names to you.

While we ate, Uncle Leo had set-up an old disc-player to play Elvis Presley. All around the table, the conversations were lively and friendly. Everyone was having a good time, even Luna who sat on a high chair by Uncle Leo, was nibbling at her own dinner.

It was a great night. We danced to old swing music, told jokes and acted out scenes from Les Miserables (my favorite novel). It was way past two in the morning when the festivities had ended and everyone but Victoria and I had left. Uncle Leo had insisted we stay overnight because he did not want us walking out at night. He had us sleep in his guest bedroom which was also color schemed in black and white. In it was a king sized bed, one dresser and an attached bathroom. He let us borrow some old t-shirts to sleep in, gave us both newly bought toothbrushes and wished us goodnight.

Victoria didn’t even bother to change, throwing herself onto the left side of the bed, falling immediately to sleep. I on the other hand, changed into an old extra large rolling stones t-shirt, pulled my hair into a top bun and jumped into the right side of the bed. I wasn’t aware of how tired I was, lying there, my eyes soon grew rather heavy and I quickly drifted away.