Café Müller by Rachel Mutombo

           Like a ghost, the beautiful woman floats through the hallway past all the occupied rooms on her floor. She is swift and agile and her toes are pointed. She has dancer’s feet although she has never danced a day in her life. She was born with grace. As she approaches the door to the common room her hand is immediately drawn to the doorknob despite the fact that her eyes have not once opened. Everything about this room and everything about this moment is familiar. There is no hesitation as she slips into the room, remaining unnoticed by all who sleep. She presses herself on the cold wall and she waits. Shivers shoot up her spine and goose bumps appear all over her skin. She is cold now but the feeling is temporary because the minute she is reunited with her lover all she can feel is heat. This is the kind of heat that puts an end to the shivers  in her body. It’s the kind of heat that melts ice instantly.  It’s the kind of heat that draws a moth to a flame. Her eyelids remain closed as she hears the door at the far end of the room click as it closes. She cannot contain herself as she feels the heat building up inside her. The pull to him is magnetic and she could not fight it even if she wanted to. She runs to where he is standing, the place he always stands, with his arms open waiting for her. She stumbles blindly as she runs to him. “Christopher,” she cries aloud with blatant disregard for those sleeping just outside the walls of this room. All grace and agility has left her body as she crashes into chairs and tables and noisily makes her way to the arms of her lover. Although her eyes are shut, his are wide open but he does not bat an eyelash as he stares at her. Her satin nightgown falls just off her shoulder against her porcelain skin. Her long, dark hair is untamed yet somehow manages to be in perfectly round curls that frame her angular face. Just steps from his reach, the door bursts open. An orderly comes in to find the young woman thrashing against tables and chairs and crying the name “Christopher.” The orderly sees no one but her in the room. He picks her up in one swift motion and guides her back to her room and this time he locks the door.

            It is the following night and, with her eyes closed and the prowess of a cat, the young woman creeps through the hallway. Instinctively she knows how to reach the common room of this floor of the hospital. As she approaches the door to the room her hand is immediately drawn to the doorknob despite the fact that her eyes have not opened once. Once again everything about this room and everything about the sensation of this moment is familiar. Her lover is in the room and she needs nothing more than to be in his waiting arms. Clumsily, she runs to him. Her eyes unable to open and all other senses failing her, she crashes into tables and chairs but never lets herself fall down completely. Just steps from his reach, the door bursts open. An orderly comes in to find the young woman thrashing about against tables and chairs and crying the name “Christopher.” The orderly sees no one but her in the room. He picks her up in one swift motion and guides her back to her room and this time he locks the door.

            Dr. Gunther stares at her young patient for a moment and then writes something down. The young woman’s face is so strikingly beautiful that even the doctor seems to get lost at times just staring at her. Her skin is fair but flawless; her dark locks are pulled into a tight bun at the top of her head giving attention to her straight and strong bone structure. Her piercing eyes are the palest shade of blue. Dr. Gunther clears her throat before she addresses her patient “Lina,” she begins “how is the new medication working for you? The yellow one is supposed to help you sleep through the night without any more of your sleepwalking episodes…” the patient remains silent. “The orderly tells me that he has found you out of bed a few nights this week. Has your nightmare with the boy come back?” Lina pauses and looks up at the doctor, her big blue eyes unblinking. “It’s not a nightmare. It’s a dream.” Lina tries to fight back the overwhelming urge to cry. “And his name is Christopher.” The doctor writes something down in her notepad again and shakes her head. “Was Lina, his name was Christopher.” Lina just smiles and closes her eyes as she lets herself fall back on the couch.

             Lying back on the couch with her eyes closed, Lina gets a cold shiver so she waits to feel the heat of her lover and know that he is there.

Rachel Mutombo “Born in Toronto but raised in Montreal there has always been a conflict between languages in my head and a love for words in my heart. I have been writing since I was 12 and it only took me 8 years to decide to try and publish something.”

 

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