Dead on arrival

He held her hand as they strolled on the beach.  She has always enjoyed these moments, just the two of them in quietness, enjoying nature and each other’s company.  It was early dawn and the beach was empty. The only sounds were from the waves beating the shore, the sand screaming under their bare feet and the sea gulls calling their loved ones. It seemed like they have been there forever and have become almost sedated by nature’s rhythm.

When she was with him she always felt safe, she always forgot about the frustrations and challenges in her life. She was always happy and never wants to let go. He was her life line the substance of her dreams. “Why couldn’t I choose this life” she thought, “he has asked me to marry him, why have I not given him an answer”. This was all she has always wanted, a man to love her unconditionally and cherish her immeasurably, a father for her children who also doubles as a protector for them all.

She touched his arm to get his attention and was just about to tell him she would be honored to be his wife; when she heard her name floating in the winds, faint but unmistakable. She paused waiting to hear it again; he looked at her with questioning eyes waiting for her to talk. She was about to continue when it was as if someone shouted her name right inside her ears.

In an instant the imagery had dissolved and she saw herself lying on a tattered mattress with an angry woman hovering over her. She sighed, “It was all a dream” she thought; now this is her reality.  She has two beautiful children to feed, she had no job, and they were squatting with a bad tempered woman in a ramshackle shed. Her life had collapsed after her drunkard husband threw her and the kids out of the house that was 6 weeks ago. Now she is mother and father, protector and provider.

As the length of time she had been awake turned from seconds to minutes, she came to a sobering conclusion, “this was not a place of dreams but of  survival, in this place dreams are dead on arrival and only the willful survive”.

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