Always Find A Way

Sometimes Love is so strong that it will cross any boundary; distance, race or social divide. Sometime Love is so unique that it will find ways to survive even when in the greatest peril.

Sometimes Love will conquer death.

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5. Entwined

Present Day.

 

Jill and Jenna got back to the flat with full and satisfied bellies. 

'We have to talk, Jill. Everyone is so worried about you.' 

Jill threw her keys on the kitchen counter and hung her mac on the low back of a bar stool. 

'Do you really want to hear about it? The few people I have told, the doctor included, has dismissed it as fantasy. They've stopped short of calling me crazy but I can see it in their eyes that they believe I am.'

'Don't be stupid. No one thinks you are crazy. Confused maybe.' 

'For fu- Seriously Jenna don't treat me like a idiot. You think I'm not aware what everyone says?' Jill tugged at her scarf and paced the kitchen in agitation. 'You think I'm being affected by these dreams. You think it them that are making me all... Ugh. But it's not. It goes deeper than that.' Jill spun round to face Jenna. 'It's real!' 

'Ok, ok Jill. I'm sorry. I shouldn't say stuff like that. Please. Let's sit down, with some tea and talk about it. I want to help you.'

'Fine. Stick the kettle on, there's teabags in the cupboard.'

Jill stomped over to her sofa and flung herself down. She grabbed her laptop from the coffee table, booted it up and logged into her email account. There were three new emails of importance as well as twenty from various companies that she had signed up to or bought something from at some point. Their presence in her inbox irritated her and she bashed the delete key viciously until they had disappeared. She felt momentarily relieved until she noticed her deleted items was highlighted in bold and all her unread emails had only been sent there and not wiped from the face of the earth like she wanted. She ground her teeth and emptied the folder. Then stared moodily at her computer thinking what a stupid invention it was and how she would like to bash it in.

'Wow, honey. I think someone is in dire need of a stress ball. Although I don't fancy it's chances against those fists.' Jenna placed two mugs of steaming tea on the table along with a plate of biscuits. 

Jill looked down at her hands, which were indeed curled into tight fists, and felt a lump rise in her throat. When had she got so angry? Since when did junk mail send her into a raging mood? Maybe she was crazy. Maybe everyone one right and she was losing it. Fear tickled her insides and she felt all her muscles tense. NO! She wasn't crazy. She clung to that like a drowning person to a piece of shabby driftwood. Insubstantial and meagre, but all she had.

'Oh my God, Jill.' 

Jill looked up, her body was rigid in the seat and tears were threatening to overcome her. Jenna too looked close to tears. Her tea had spilt over her leopard print leggings and it was that that brought Jill out of her stupor. She got up and and found some tissue. She handed it to Jenna who looked confused.

'For the spill.'

'Huh? Oh! Damn. These were new as well.'

'It will come out Jen. It's only tea.' 

'What happened to you? Just now? It was like the normal you went on holiday and left this shell behind.'

'I just got overwhelmed. It happens sometimes. I realise what is actually going on and I see it from an outsiders point of view, "top psychologist gets sent to the loony bin". Doesn't make for positive thinking.'

'You won't get sent anywhere,' said Jenna forcefully. 'No one would let that happen.'

'No one could stop it,' replied Jill wearily.

'Please talk to me. Sweet, you need to. I can't bear seeing you like this.'

'I will.'

'Talk?'

'Yes.'

'Go on then.'

Jill took a deep breath.

'It all started about... No. Scratch that. When I was young I used to play games. Imaginary, harmless games that all children play. I made up characters and people and I would spend hours in my garden with them. I say "them" because that's how real they were to me. It was my world. And unlike other children who would tell their parents about their fantasies I kept my very secret. My mum would ask me what I was playing and I would shrug and close up like a clam. It wasn't because I didn't love my parents or anything like that. I just knew that I shouldn't tell them about my games.'

'Why?'

'Because to me they just weren't fantasy. To me they were completely real and I knew that as soon as I told anyone about it they would disappear and I wouldn't be able to find them again. 

'It happened when I was about seven or eight I think. A neighbours son was on his way over to drop off some fruit from his garden. Instead of coming all the way around the front he used to climb over the back wall and come up to the kitchen door. He saw he in the garden shielded from view from the house by the trees. I was laying perfectly still on a blanket. Apparently he almost had a heart attack because he thought I was dead, but then he saw I was breathing and stayed, hidden, and watched me. I stayed in the same position, perfectly still except for some facial movement, for about ten minutes until my mum called me. When, he said, I jumped up, making him jump as well, and ran in to the house.

'Now you might think there's nothing strange about me laying in the garden, and indeed there wasn't. My mum, when she found out about it, after the neighbour had seen me do it several more time for varying lengths of time, took me to the doctor. He said that I had an extremely active imagination and had no need to act out the imaginary play - I could do it all in my head. He even praised it and said one day I might become a writer or film director or something. 

'And I might have done if the neighbours son hadn't told my mother. After that I couldn't find that safe place in my head anymore - just as I knew would happen.'

Jill paused for breath and took a several gulps of her tea.

'So... Are you saying that the dreams are an extension from that? Something that has come from your over active imagination?'

Jill cupped her tea in her hands and gave a shiver.

'That's what i first thought, yes. I had buried my daydreams so far within me that I thought they were just resurfacing in the form of nightmares. So I took up yoga, but that didn't work. I took up meditation, that didn't work. I decided to let my creative juices flow and took up pottery, something my aunt used to do and an art that had always intrigued me. Even that didn't work. I entered story competitions, poetry competitions, script competitions... I wrote screenplays and submitted them to the BBC. Then I took up painting. Nothing worked. nothing eased the pain of the dream. I say pain but it's the wrong word, and an understatement. It's agonising and it's unbelievably, unbearably heartbreaking.'

Jenna hadn't taken a sip of her tea throughout the story she had been so engrossed, and as she took a gulp now she almost choked because it was cold. She hastily put it down on the table and leaned even further forward.

'I then did the only other thing left to me. i threw myself heart and soul into my work. I stayed at the office until the early hours then I got home and studied the cases before getting a couple of hours sleep and getting up to walk my mums dog.

'And quite simply; it worked. Depriving myself of sleep was the only thing that kept the dreams at bay. I thought I had beaten it. And I thought, stupidly, that I could keep it off. Obviously I was wrong. Two months into my new routine I was suffering panic attacks and getting agoraphobia. I went to the doctors and he said I should lighten my work load. I was adverse to telling him the real reason for my self imposed insomnia so I took his advice. Booked a week off and took things easy. First night I got into bed and didn't immediately drop off from sheer exhaustion the dreams returned. With a bloody vengeance.'

Jill kneaded her temples with her knuckles. 

'That was three months ago and it's just spiralled out of control from there. After that week I was a wreck. Sleep deprivation was a cinch compared to the depression and sense of enveloping depression. My panic attacks, which had been mild before, got ten times worse. It took me an hour in the morning to drag myself into the office and when I was there I was distracted and jumpy.'

Jill gestured in Jenna's direction. 'You know all that of course. You saw it all first hand.'

'My sweet, I am so sorry. I had no idea you were suffering so much. I should have been there for you. Done more...'

'There was nothing you could do. I didn't want help. I wanted peace, and no one could give me that.'

'What made you come here? Did you think it would make them stop? Has it?'

'Here?' Jill looked around her room as if seeing it for the first time. 'I just wanted to go somewhere different. I'd never been to Wales.' Jill shrugged as though it was entirely unimportant. 'And no it didn't stop them. I'm not as stressed now knowing that I don't have to worry about work for a while. that makes it a bit better. But the routine is still the same. Go to bed... Have a nightmare...'

'So why don't you just get something from the GP? A pill?'

'They gave me stuff. Antidepressants, which was my diagnosis, and sleeping pills. But this can't be cured by pills, Jen. This can be cured by only one thing, knowledge.'

Jenna frowned in confusion. Jill leaned forward.

'What I'm dreaming about, Jenna, it isn't my over active imagination. It isn't stress or work. It's real.'

'Jill... How can it be?'

Jill didn't answer she just leant back and raised her eyebrows in stubborn indignation.

'How do you know? That it's, you know, real?'

'Because the dream is about me.'

'What?'

'There's shouting and screaming in my dream. Confusion and blurriness and then right near the end someone says my name.'

'What?' Jenna repeated but eagerly this time.

'It starts off with noise, so much noise, and then there's screaming and shouting. I can hear and understand the words when I'm in the dream but when I'm awake...' Jill trailed off shaking her head. 'Anyway, after that there's this awful laughing. manic and terrifying. Then crying. I can never tell if that's me in the dream or me in real life. Could be both I suppose. And then I hear a voice. I try desperately to find it and when I do, eventually, the person clings to me, pulls my head down and whispers my name, "Tabitha".'

Jenna's mouth was hanging wide open.

'You're real name...'

'Yup. Jillian is obviously my middle name, and infinitely more professional, hence the reason I use it. "Doctor Jillian" versus "Doctor Tabitha". I know which one I prefer! And that's how I know it's real. Whether its a memory or a premonition I don't know. But I do know that I'm not crazy.'

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