“My tribe – II”

“Hey you! You took your own sweet time.”

“Sorry. So what are we talking about?” Looking for a spot to get comfortable in, she moved around.

“Willow is telling us about her first time doing it.”

“First time doing what?”

“IT. You cannot be that old, Rose.”

“Ooohhhh! I get ‘it’ now. So where was it?” Rose wrapped herself with another throw blanket she had ordered from ‘Crate and Barrel.’ The fourth one had caused a massive dispute in the household.

“In the backseat of his car. He was my high-school sweetheart.” Willow’s eyes stopped wandering and focused on something. Rose could not understand why she suddenly stopped gesturing and moving. The way she usually was.  

“Well, go on, what happened to him and, more importantly, how was it?”

“We graduated high school, and then the war happened. His father shipped him off. And I never saw him again.”

“Is he the only guy you ever, you know?” Julia was curious to know, looking for stories that differed from hers.

“Oh god, no! I almost became a promiscuous girl afterward. Nothing stopped the pain of missing him. Until I met John, he was my true love.”

“Yes, because, the high school sweetheart, that was emotional attachment. You went through trauma at such a young age. I am sorry that happened, Willow. Was Daniel good to you?” Rose wiped her eyes, wetting the corners of the fourth throw blanket.

“All the time. He accepted me with my flaws. And not once tried to change or control me. On the contrary, I was the happiest with him. I could almost feel like my old calm self. But then he too died.”

“Have you seen him around?” Julia’s curiosity quieted everyone for a few seconds.

“No, I think he graduated to the next realm. He was a real man. Calm, present, forgiving, accepting, gentle, kind, and hilarious.” Willow rubbed her arms gently rubbing them to generate warmth. Daniel tried giving her his wet blanket, but Rose stopped him a took another one from a drawer under the coffee table. This one was yet to cause a fight in the household.    

“No wonder you cannot find him here. He was a total package. Like an urban myth, he does not exist.” Mr. Wilson added his contribution.

“Are you sure you remember him right? Maybe that was trauma attachment? Yeah, Rose, am I right?” Julia searched for approval.

“He is real. My life was real. I miss him so much. But I know after my next attempt at life, I will be in the same realm as him. And then we can be together again.”

“What the hell is happening here?” It was Jack’s rough voice that shook everyone out of their comfortable and cozy blankets.

Rose worried he was going to start yelling at her for buying everyone an individual blanket, but then she realized the real issue.

But before she could say anything, Jack walked over and sat beside her. Julia shifted away, making room for him while Daniel stared at the floor.

Rose looked at Jack and then the floor to reassure herself what had just happened.

It has been ten months since that awful night. Rose still catches up with everyone every night. Jack is always there right next to her, marking his domain. Rose spends her day doing chores all humans have to do to have a roof over their heads. Yet when night falls, and as she settles on her spot on the patio furniture next to Jack, Rose cannot stop wondering what killed Jack, the sight of the four ghosts or the 5th throw blanket.

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