A companion story to Ghosts
"Luka, time to wake up." Alenka had hesitated on waking her husband, weighing the anxiousness of the children to be going with his need to recover from the previous night's dreams. That she had been able to let him sleep as long as she had was a tribute to the children themselves and their understanding of all their parents went through. "Luka, come on...time to get up." Alenka smoothed her husband's still damp bangs, letting her fingers linger a moment on his forehead before she pushed them aside.
A soft groan of protest preceded a fluttering of his eyelids at her actions, but otherwise he remained still, unable or unwilling to join those awake.
"That's it, Beba...time to wake up." Her voice remained gentle as she coaxed him closer to consciousness, her own experience guiding the pace at which she roused him. "Good morning." She offered the greeting as he fully opened his eyes even though a full sense of awareness did not quite seem to fill them.
"Morning." His own greeting came roughly and she reached for the glass of water that still sat on the bedstand next to them.
"Take your time." She offered the warning as she held the glass to his lips, allowing only a couple swallows before she withdrew it and returned it to the table. "Do you need to talk about it?" That she chose need over want, again told much about their relationship. Neither wanted to talk of their fears or the horrors that sometimes played out in their dreams, for years before their marriage they had simply closed them away, but no more. No longer was there the need to pretend that the dreams and nightmares didn't appear, between them they both understood that there was no judgment to be found in the telling no matter how grievous they were, here they would find only understanding and release.
"The children?" Luka's voice remained quiet, still shrouded in the vestiges of interrupted sleep, as his eyes flicked across the room then back to his wife.
"Are watching television, they're fine, but if you need to talk Juraj can take Maja down for breakfast." Alenka smoothed his hair back as she spoke, the action as calming as the tone of her voice. Reading her husband, she knew that even with the question he still clung to the fringes of sleep and it would take little on his part to ease back down into it.
"Can do it later." His reply came mumbled as his eyes drooped closed then opened again.
"No, Luka, not later...sit up for me now." At her request she slid a hand under his back and coaxed him to comply.
"Could come back to bed with me..." His offer brought a smile to her and she leaned over to kiss him in response.
"Now, who's forgetting the children?'
Amidst a yawn he shook his head before rubbing his hand over his face in an attempt to fully rouse himself.
"Now...should I have Juraj take Maja downstairs so we can talk about it?" At the question she tilted her head slightly, the action reflecting her attempt to read him.
"Tata's awake!" Maja seemed to sense that the discussion was near closure and seeing that her father was no longer lying down she scrambled to her feet only to run across the room and dive on the bed, nearly toppling him backwards. "Are you better now, Tata?"
"Yeah, Beba...just a bad dream is all." Luka squeezed his daughter tightly before kissing her.
"You haven't had a bad one like that in a long time...I don't like it when you do." Maja settled beside her father seemingly oblivious to the eye signals her mother was sending her way.
"I don't like them either, Beba...but sometimes they come anyway. I'm sorry if it scared you."
"I wasn't scared...well, not too much..." The small girl lay her head on his shoulder with the admission, then began to finger the hair at the nape of his neck. "Tata...will you have them every night now?"
"I hope not, Beba...I think I'm just a little scared about today...it's been a lot of years since I've been to see the graves. I think once we go they'll go away again though."
Alenka found herself aware that Juraj had moved closer to the bed with the turn of the conversation and she opened her arm to invite him closer. "This is something that both Tata and I needed to do...you both understand that right?"
"Yeah." The boy's answer came almost too quickly.
"You said good-bye before though." Maja looked between her parents with the statement.
"It was different then, Beba...Mama and I were hurting too much for it to help us then. We didn't want to say good-bye." Luka looked to Alenkafor confirmation that her feelings were the same as his had been before continuing. "It's different now, we have each other and we have the two of you, we know that they're safe in heaven and we can finally let them go."
"Because God is taking came of them for you." Maja's summary carried the simplicity of her youth and caused both of her parents to smile in response.
"Yes, Beba, because God is taking care of them."
to be continued...