Dream House, part 16 – Carlos Repuesto de la Tabla
Carol and Lailah awoke to the early morning light streaming into their room, accompanied by the sound of little birds warbling in the wood beyond the window next to their bed. “Mmngh… “ Lailah yawned and stretched her arms, arching her back. She felt like she had been asleep for days, but now the mists of sleep were dispersing to reveal a clear vision of the musty old room and the sunny day taking place outside the window. Carol stirred next to her, waking a bit more slowly, but to just as clear a mind.
“G’morning, baby,” Lailah leaned over her, smiling. “You awake? I’m starving! How about you? Wanna go out to breakfast? I think there’s a diner here in town.” She slid out of bed and opened the front window, letting a light breeze and the smell of the sea blow in.
The breeze woke Carol the rest of the way and she too realized she was hungry. And hungry to be outside in that cool air, amongst trees, sand and sea. And out of the house. She jumped out of bed too, surprising Lailah with her sudden energy. Carol, who had slept in her t-shirt — she couldn’t even remember going to bed — found her carryall bag and pulled out some fresh clothes, quickly slipping into her jeans and clean dark brown t-shirt. She looked at her watch. “It’s not quite nine; I better go down and tell Mrs. Anvers not to make us breakfast.” She slipped her sandals on and sped downstairs, calling back “Get dressed Lai; I wanna go out soon!”
Lailah, bemused by Carol’s alacrity, found the clothes she had worn yesterday folded neatly on a chair, no doubt by Mrs Anvers; it wasn’t Carol’s style. Lailah dressed, like Carol, in jeans and t-shirt, hers a black 49ers T with “San Francisco” across the front. She wasn’t a football fan, but it was the only tasteful 49er shirt she’d ever seen, so she felt compelled to buy it; the red logo looked good with her hair. When she got downstairs she found Carol and Mrs Anvers in the kitchen talking. There were pans on the stove and eggs set out, but nothing had been cooked. She smiled and murmured a “good morning” at Mrs Anvers who asked her how she was feeling. “Oh, I seem to be just fine, Mrs Anvers. Thank you so much for taking care of me. I don’t know what came over me…”
“I expect it was nothing, dear. Sometimes we just wander into places that might bring up past associations that can be a bit overwhelming. I know you don’t know the house, but you did know Martin Easkot, and he was very tied to this house, you know.”
Carol, slightly too loudly, interjected. “Lai, we better get a move on, we don’t want to miss breakfast!” She did not want to hear the house mentioned.
The girls walked into town, really just a collection of buildings that lined the Coast Highway. They walked along the shoulder of the two lane road, heading toward the Seaview Cafe while a procession of Sunday motorcyclists, mostly on Harley Davidsons, rumbled by. The Seaview was a one storey, flat roofed, weatherworn blue-grey building between the highway and the beach. It was the size and shape of a large house trailer, but had big plate glass windows on the sea side and an open door that led to a small deck with tables.
The deck was full, but they found a table inside, sat, and perused the large plastic menus. After a few minutes, a scruffy, middle-aged fellow in worn jeans and a faded, orange and blue striped T-shirt came to their table and asked what they’d like. “Ooh, coffee, please, for both of us. Mugs. We need it!” Carol waid.
“Been partying a bit, have ya? he asked with a sly smile.
“No, no, “ said Lailah, “we just had a… difficult night’s sleep.”
“Where are ya stayin’? At the Dunes Motel? Saturday nights there can be bad” he laughed.
“No, we were at the Easkot House” offered Carol.
“The Easkot House — what were you doin’ there? Nobody stays there, least not since I been livin’ here. And I been here quite a a few years.” He seemed disturbed by this news, and Carole decided it would be best to end that conversation just as Lailah began to answer.
“Oh, I’m the new…” Carole kicked her under the table and interrupted.
“I’ll have the heuvos rancheros — if they’re good.” She smiled sweetly up at him then quickly turned to Lailah “And you, darling?” She wanted him to think about anything but the Easkot House. She just had a feeling.
“Uh, yes, I’ll have the Garden Omelette with wheat toast” Lailah offered, and the waiter left.
The coffee was surprisingly good, the mugs big and hefty, and Lailah and Carol relaxed into conversation about yesterday, the house, and it’s inhabitants.
Lailah began. “Carol, what happened yesterday? I mean, I feel fine right now but…”
“Yeah, I know, it was like you were allergic to something. Or maybe, like Mrs Anvers said, you have some connection to this house through Martin Easkot.”
“But I hardly knew him!”
“Well, maybe he knew you then,”
“But what happened while I was asleep?” Lailah asked.
“Well, it’s hard to say. First you had a dream, strange, like a waking, sleepwalking dream. I was downstairs with Mrs Anvers when we heard you shouting. When we got up there you were trying to climb out the front window, but you thought it was a door, a door apparently into another room that you really, really wanted to get into. Anyway, we got you back in bed and back to sleep.”
“God, I don’t remember any of that!”
“But wait, there’s more” laughed Carol, imitating a late night TV commercial.
“Don’t tell me, a pack of Ginsu knives…”
“No, but more sleepwalking and dreaming. You came downstairs like some zombie, saying you were being called outside. Summoned, you said.”
“Wow, I must have been having real B-movie nightmares.”
“Oh, you were, all right. And you were crying, but Mrs Anvers gave you something and Alexander carried you back to bed, voila, here we are!”
“Yes, eating! Back to our normal state. This is delish, but sleeping for 12 hours, then eating this huge breakfast… I’m going to have to get some exercise. Fancy a run on the beach after breakfast?
Carol, never much for the exercise thing, was now glad she’d worn sandals. “Aw, no, baby, got the wrong shoes on. But you go ahead. After we have another coffee.”
Lailah smiled at her, then asked “What about you? What did you do all that time I was sleeping and dreaming?
Carol paused, thinking. “Well, I’m not exactly sure. I fell asleep too, downstairs, and I had dreams too. But I don’t really remember them. In fact, I don’t even know how I got to bed… But I do remember some things. Mrs Anvers was there, and Alexander, and there was this owl outside that was really bothering me. It was incessant, that hooting. Then there was something else, it had to do with that… but I can’t remember. I do know, though, that we both seem to have some connection to this house. and I don’t think it’s the same connection, and that I just completely do not understand. There is certainly more to know about it. But it’s your house, babe, and you can do what you want with it! So when in doubt, decorate!”
Boy, I’ll say! I’d really like to get rid of those big heavy drapes in the bedroom.”
They finished their coffee, paid the bill, and strolled out to the beach. The sun was high, the little breeze kept it from sweltering, clouds dotted the sky, small groups of people dotted the beach. They were at the south end of the beach that extended north a couple of miles. The waves weren’t big, but there quite a few surfers out.
“Are you gonna run?” Carol asked. “It might be a little warm with jeans and a t-shirt on, but at least you’ve got running shoes on.”
Lailah laughed. “Oh, absolutely. Maybe I’ll run into a cute surfer boy along the way! And if I get too warm, I can take my shirt off; my bra looks enough like a bathing suit top.”
“Well, in that case, I’m sure you’ll find a guy” Carol responded acerbically. “I think I could just drink coffee all day. Don’t bring a boy home unless he wants to carry boxes. And then leave. Not too sure about that house yet and I’d like to keep sleeping together if you don’t mind, but I don’t think I’m ready for a threesome.”
Carol left Lailah doing stretches and made her way back to the Seaview for that coffee.