Exhaustion had set in but though he climbed into bed and closed his eyes sleep would not come. He tried to stave off the inevitable by thinking about work and other matters but in the end the demons would not be denied.
Karen. He could see her face with eyes closed or open. He was drawn back to the night of the senior prom, so many years ago. How many ways had he tried to overcome it all? More than he could count. When the words started coming back to him he jumped out of bed and went to the medicine cabinet and found some sleeping pills. He took three and went into the living room to listen to some music with his headphones on until the drowsiness kicked in.
As he drifted off to sleep he remembered the first one, barely a year after the prom. Those three sweet words she had whispered to him that he had so hoped would release him from his private hell. I love you. They echoed in his mind as he crossed the line into oblivion.
The next day he called a couple of friends and arranged an outing for the day. He couldn’t bear the thought of being alone. They went to a park and played some football and then sat around the rest of the afternoon and evening at a pub drinking beer.
He was relaxed and having a good time until one of them inquired about his love life.
“So Harold, who you seeing these days?”
He stopped his glass midway to his mouth and then put it down.
“Nobody, Alex. Just let it go okay?”
“Sure buddy. Didn’t mean anything by it.”
The conversation resumed again but Harold was no longer in a good mood. He hung out for a few more minutes and then made an excuse and left. As he walked home he realized he wasn’t even looking at the women he passed on the street. There was only one that mattered right now, and that was Melody. The reason for that, though, was disturbing him.
After dinner that night he realized he needed to call her. Unable to stop himself from asking to see her again when he had dropped her off they hadn’t set a date but if he was going to go though with it, and he knew he was, he figured he had best do it sooner rather than later.
He pushed aside the urge to visit the chamber and reached for the phone.
“Hi Harold. Good to hear from you. What’s up?”
“Just thinking about you. How does next Friday night sound? Maybe dinner and a movie?”
“That sounds lovely. What time?”
“I’ll pick you up at seven”
“I’ll be waiting. Bye.”
He put the phone down and rubbed his eyes. He felt so tired. He leaned back and allowed himself to free associate. He had to get on top of this one if he was to have any peace. The matter, of course, was her uncanny resemblance to Karen. At last he dared to let himself take that thought to it’s logical conclusion. This could be it. If he could make her fall in love with him…”
He got up from his seat and got ready for bed. He would sleep on the matter. There was no need to rush. He hadn’t managed for this long without extreme caution. The answer would come to him.
Part 8 Tomorrow