It was a dream! It was a dream. Yes, it was a dream, Ann recited, laying her sweaty palm on her chest, trying to control her breathing. She slowly opened her eyes and turned her head to look at the bedside table’s black and red circular clock radio. The red digital numbers were blurry for several seconds, but eventually, she saw that it was 2:20 a.m.

Her breathing slowed, and she gingerly entered her memory, but as usual, she could only remember bits and pieces of her dream. Nevertheless, this time, the pieces she remembered were enough for her. She did not need to remember the rest.

Why was it just a dream? Why? Ann wondered.

“O God, forgive me. What am I thinking? Forgive me,” she prayed.

Ann dragged her hand across her face before rubbing her forehead briefly.

She took a deep breath and slowly let it out. Her thoughts travelled, and she drifted off to sleep. More dreams came, but when she woke up several hours later, the sun was already up, and by the time she finished washing up, the dreams were gone. Nevertheless, the feelings it brought up were still there, and Ann wanted nothing to do with it.

Still, she understood why she was dreaming these types of dreams. Yes, she knew why. Yes, she knew why.

“Give it time,” some family members have said, “Be kind to yourself,” others said, and much more things, and she has listened to them all. Yes, she did, and to her surprise, she did not tune out from the many unsolicited words of comfort and encouragement she has received throughout the years. She listened because those words helped to keep her together, especially during this time of the year.

Her mom, her dad and her older sister were gone. One moment she was twelve years old, sitting in the living room and watching Superman; the next moment, she was waking up from being in a coma for a little over a year and had no memory of her parents, her sister, or their lives together.

However, around the time of their death, and more directly, their murder, dreams plague her sleep until the anniversary day passes.

Ann knows what happened to her family because her aunt told her and from what she learned from the news that covered it in the Bahamas. Although other family members tried to comfort her with their words, they never brought up the tragedy with her.

Today, however, she did not want to think about her family and how she failed them by not remembering them and, even worst, by not dying with them.

“Stop that,” her Aunty, dressed in a blue and white floral dress, said, looking across the dining table at her.

Her Aunty had beautifully long white hair and white teeth that matched it. A few wrinkles were on her forehead, and her always bright, searching eyes lit up her soft round face.

“Stop what?” Ann asked, biting into her toast with peanut butter on it.

“Your parents loved you, and I love you, and I am glad you are here.”

She looked at Ann over the brim of her large teacup.

“But aren’t you tired of going through this with me yearly?” Ann asked without looking at her aunt.

“Why would I get tired of telling you I love you?”

“You know what I mean,” Ann said, glancing at her aunt.

“It hurt me to see you in so much pain, and I’m sorry you are going through this, but I am here for you.”

“Thanks, Aunty,” Ann said, smiling briefly.

Ann was a few inches taller than her aunty, had a small dimple on her left cheek, and wore light red sunglasses with blue jeans and a red polo t-shirt.

About six years ago, when Ann woke up from the coma, her aunty was the first person she saw. She immediately remembered her aunt and every other part of her life, but everything about her parents and sister was gone from her memory, not just the night they died. The doctors said that she was physically well, and perhaps her memory may return in due time, but in six years, nothing has changed.

Her aunt lived in England, whereas Ann and her family lived in the Bahamas, and when she awoke, she awoke in England. Her aunt flew to the Bahamas, thinking that her sister and her entire family were gone, and when she found out that Ann was alive but in a coma, she spent every free time at her bedside.

Her aunt, with the help of other family members, arranged the funeral and took care of everything to get her to move to England.

Once, Ann asked the doctor, “What if I return to the Bahamas? Will that help me to get back my memory?”

While the doctor’s answer was maybe, she did not recommend doing so alone because the memories could return all at once and may be too overwhelming for her. Then, on the other hand, her memories may not return, which could push her in a different direction. So, up to this point, she had yet to return to the Bahamas.

Ann asked her aunt what was her plans for the day, although she knew that her aunt likes to go shopping on Saturdays. She did so, trying to change the subject, and her aunt allowed it.

“Come with me,” her aunt suggested.

“I don’t think I’ll be good company,” Ann replied, finishing her hot chocolate.

“Still come.”

Ann was silent for a few seconds before agreeing to go.

A couple of hours later, as her aunt drove them to the open market, Ann sat quietly in the white car. Then, unconsciously, she rubbed her chest where the bullet entered her body and remained until the doctors took it out.

The two men who broke into their family home that Friday night entered the wrong house. Ann’s next-door neighbour had an affair with a woman for about two years, and when he broke it off with her, she retaliated by hiring two guys to kill him and his wife.

So, to “calm the nerves,” they said, they took some drugs before doing the job. Then, after the job, they also took more drugs and only realized they shot two children a few days after the murders because their memories were hazy about that night. Also, they were lying low until everything calmed down.

However, when they found out about the children, they tried to leave the country but got caught. They pleaded guilty to their crimes, as did the woman who hired them.

As Ann and her aunt approached a traffic light, it changed to yellow, then red, and her aunt slowly brought the car to a stop. A family of four was crossing the road, and the mom laughed at something the guy whispered to her, and Ann suddenly screamed.

“What’s wrong?” her aunt immediately asked, darting her head towards her.

“My mom, my mom. I just remembered her laugh!” Ann exclaimed, jumping in the seat.

The End

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