The Face spoke to me in the voice of my sister. It was Karima’s cadence, and tone.
“Find my diary and finish reading it. Do it” It was so clearly stated and so commanding, as if an order were being handed down from this giant ruler hovering in front of me, and I was the chosen one to do her bidding. Even though this was a dream, I felt the urgency in her voice, and I knew that I would comply as was demanded of me. The sheer size of the one who captured my attention was enough to make me reverently bend down in humble acceptance of my own small size and lack of power, but the voice was my sisters’, there was no doubt in my mind. It didn’t beg or suggest, it said ,”Do it.” in that bossy way Karima could talk to me when she was really serious about convincing me to do something for her. I answered her back,
“Ok. I will.” and then after getting over the shock of hearing her voice so clearly in my ears, I said more tenderly,”I will do this for you as you request.”
Then I woke up.
I laid there for a long time trying to remember more parts of the dream. Oddly enough, this strange cathedral or whatever it was felt familiar. The face, although sort of hazy also seemed like someone or something I knew, or had seen before, perhaps a statue, a movie star from the past, not sure what, but the message it brought to me was more like a vision than a dream. I have had visions before, I told Karima about a few, and one I never told her, but I wish I had now, as it was a car accident, so real I woke up in a sweat. I had this maybe only a few weeks before her own accident, that put her in an irreversible coma and carried her away from all of us forever. My heart was pounding like when I would awake from a nightmare, but this felt more like a scare, the kind of feeling I get sometimes when I am drifting off to sleep and I think I am falling and I jerk and gasp catching myself, the adrenaline pumping freely. Where does a message like this come from? Is it really from Karima? Can I trust it is not just a part of me giving me some very bad advice, advice that goes against what I had already decided, which was to never pick up her diary again?
Before this night, several times and at strange hours, wide awake, I would get the urgent sense to go into the closest and finish reading my sister’s last words. I know if I talked about this with my friends, for instance, all of them would tell me I was crazy to have put it away as I did. I had even asked myself many times, if Karima would have reacted as I did, taking her personal dream-life so personally, and I had answered myself, no, she wouldn’t have done that. I guess I have always taken things more to heart, and where she could get over anything quickly, I couldn’t, and they would lay inside festering and bothering me, returning again and again in my mind. The dream, although upsetting in the way it woke me up, was what I needed to finally listen to those inner voices, that had been whispering and softly nagging me since I put it away months ago. I remembered there were only a few entries left. She didn’t write in it every morning, just I guess when there was really something to write about. I sighed and got up. I went into the closet where there still hung some of my sister’s clothes. Her odd way of dressing, stylish but from another era, hung in hangers in front of me. On impulse I decided to slip into a little french thing she had bought right before her accident, and putting it on, I felt more connected to her, more ready for her to share her last thoughts with me.
I sat down on the floor and opened the diary. In my way, I offered a little prayer to re-entering my sister’s dream world. “May it bring me peace and closure,” I whispered. She was saying how she was tortured by not being allowed back into her dream world. It seemed weeks had past and she had not had another. I tried to always hold my mind open without making judgements, the most important one being, if this was real or just her incredible imagination. Real begins to bend its own definition when I think of it in the phrase real dreams. Yet something in the way of her telling it, relating it to her diary was so very real, beyond lucid dreaming as she had first herself called it. The fact is, I decided to see this experience, as she did, as I always trusted my sister in her perceptions, well almost always.
The barrier was always the beginning, it was the frontier between our world and the one she went into. I read, and I pictured her climbing up it, peering through it, desperately wanting to get to the other side. She had found an entity, an out of body lover, who obsessed and possessed her. As I read, I actually changed my feelings from fear for her to a warm envy that began to spread over me. Maybe envy is too strong a word, but I saw she had found something very special on the other side of the barrier, someone who truly loved her all of her. That is a dream come true for most of us, and I knew it was hers, as it was mine. She had found it. I still hadn’t. Twins are so close in so many ways, and we can fill in the gaps for each other that others leave in us, but when it comes to falling in love and surrendering to that love, well these are spaces we can not fill, and when one has that, and the other is still seeking, hoping, I think that slight envious nerve gets touched, as mine did, and was part of why I locked her diary out of my sight. Of course she was right to not share this yet with me, it was new and it had no name, but it seemed very real to her, she lived it as a reality, and the more I read, the more pages I turned, the more I felt it wasn’t just a dream. I felt her incredibly lucky.
She described the ecstasy of his entry into her mind. She called him “my Intimate” and he called her “mine” The tears welled up inside me stinging my eyes until they let a few fall in drops. The more I read, the more I realized she had encountered the most ethereal of dreams, without bodies, only in spirit, they joined, they merged, and they loved. I breathed deeply and closed the book for a minute, holding the page with my finger. “Oh Karima, I didn’t have any idea,” I sobbed. I was feeling too much too quickly, so many realizations, she died so young, everyone said she never really knew love, and now I see, I am witness to the fact that she did. She was blessed by an experience, no one gets even if they live to be 100. Oh was this gift also her curse? “Was it worth it Karima?” Are you still somewhere, in some world, on some plane still feeling this love. I cried and I cried. Then pulling myself together, as well I could, I re-opened her book, and continued to read.
I laid back on the floor and let her take me by the hand. In a strange sort of way, the deepness of the love I felt this Intimate poured over my sister, his almost obsessive wanting of her, gave me now another feeling. I felt happy for her, happy she had these days, right before she would lose her mind, lose her life, any hope for one to her interminable coma, that finally was terminated two years after it began. Was a coffin lowered into earth, the end of this love affair? How will any of us ever know?
But my happiness quickly turned to shock and disbelief as I realized the next diary entry wasn’t written by her, or so it proclaimed, but by the very entity that loved her and now it seemed was living inside of her. This was a hard ravine for me to cross and still believe in the sanity of my sister. Was she now dividing into different personalities, falling into psychosis? Oh Karima what was happening to you? Did madness descend over you and cause you to race out on a rainy night looking for your death? The writing of the Intimate was a desperate plea, for her to remember him,as it seems she had forgotten him, and I was not sure why? He wrote in her hand, so he said, for her to find and read it and know he now was living inside of her, in our world. Oh My God! Oh My God!
He was crying out to her using her hand, her pen and her diary. He was begging her, now somewhere inside of her to remember what had happened. Obviously something did happen, and peeking ahead I saw there was only one long entry left, that seemed to go on for many pages. Now it was no longer about dreams, and dream worlds, it was about possession. My sister was possessed, but not by an evil ghost or the soul of someone dead, but by a lover who left his world to live inside of her. He called out to her to pick up her diary and read his words, in the hopes she would remember and know what to do. He seemed as desperate as someone underwater whose oxygen tank is on the red line, he seemed convinced he could not stay this way indefinitely. I grasped that he could not live in our world occupying the same space as my sister. It was that simple and yet my mind teetered on the edge of an abyss. Could all I was reading be real? I put the book down for awhile, and let my reason return to me. It had been stretched even beyond what I thought possible, in only reading a few pages.
Oh Karima my sweet sister, please come and fill in the blanks, come and ease my very deep confusion. I trust you, trusted you, and I know you always had your sanity holding up the rest of your beautiful artistic eccentricity. Under the wild newly budding artist, was brick and cement that held the structure so well, you could build it up to the sky without limit or fear. You were sane, right up to the end…or were you?
The Intimate begged her to remember the torture and purging of him. I read it all absorbed in it so deeply, I would not have heard a phone ring. The tone, the voice that related all of this, a trial, being held in another world, with her already found guilty in abstencia, was not hers but his. I know I have heard cases of multiple personalities being so well developed they never crossed over one into the other, but wouldn’t I have seen some signs of this in her? The date here seemed to be just a few days before her accident. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, as we tend to forget to do, when we are lulled into the false security of thinking all those around us, will always be there, so they become almost invisible. Rude awakening, when we have to face the sudden truth, they have been taken from us, and we never had that chance to stop what we were doing, that seemed so important at the time, and just pay them a little attention.
Her greatest torture was to see her future, and I hung on every word, trying to know if she knew what soon would befall her, but it seems The Intimate chose to not reveal that in her diary although he knew, having also seen it clearly, and somewhere locked inside of her, she knew too. I was the only one who knew nothing, and it made me feel an aching pain of wanting closure, of closing the door on so much speculation, that had circled her accident and kept on circling for two years of her coma. Inside me this slow moving tornado was always circling, causing me a sadness like one low note repeating over and over, or the cry of a mourning dove, on a foggy hill, calling and calling. I never got that closure I so wanted. “Karima please, come close this door” I waited for two years for her to wake up. I had hope and lost hope, weekly, monthly. New treatments, new testimonies, new faith that she might rejoin us and live again, but always the door left open, when she finally breathed her last breath. Part of me was entombed when she was lowered down.I am fighting back the tears of my own self pity now, but part of me never came back from the cemetery that drizzily day, with her door swinging wide open, never to be closed it seems.
I read the final words of the Intimate and I cried. I cried for them both. I guess he died or could not survive after she was injured. I will never know.There was one more entry and as I read the last page first, peeking to see who or what wrote it, I knew it was my sister’s voice. I sat back and I read the last chapter of her life that was recorded in words. “Karima no matter what, know how much I loved you.” Even such big points as sanity and insanity mean nothing now, the great leveler is death, nothing seems as important as the fact that she is gone and I miss her every day and every night.
She began by saying how she decided to read her diary, and she sat up in my room to do it too. After only a few pages she clutched the book to her heart and said out-loud
“ohhh my Intimate.. I remember you..I remember you. Are you really still here?”
Tonight I had a dream after I finished reading her last amazing entry in her own words. It brought me so much peace and I am still not sure why, but I perceived my sister existed and she was close. I have decided to write it down as it seemed so significant to me. I stood on a small depression in a hillside looking out into a land I myself could never have imagined even in my dreams. It was hazy and beautiful in the most brilliant colors I had ever seen, like another dimension it called to me, but just when I was about to enter into this land, to walk down the mountain and be part of it, I awoke. I thought I heard a man’s voice call my name, but I might have been mistaken. The winds blew so sweetly and I heard bells tinkling from faraway. Standing there just looking in, I was filled with peace, and felt that the wind of this mountaintop was about to shut a door that was now only slightly left ajar… and I smiled knowing that soon it would close shut… when it was time.
to be continued…
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