Roomies: Full Circlebypatricia51©
(I had thought that I was done with Kim and Pam, except for possibly filling in a missed adventure or two. But recent news changed my mind and I wrote this bit of fantasy.)
"Oh gosh that feels good," Pam Maguire Norton settled onto the sofa that rested against one wall of the living room of the retirement suite. Bracing her cane between her legs, she folded her hands on the top and rested her chin.
"Pooped?" inquired Kim McCall Keagan of her once and now again roommate from her easy chair. Keeping one eye cocked on the holovision she peered near-sightedly over at the other elderly woman. "What happened? You try to race someone back from lunch?"
"No and what happened to you? You didn't even go."
"I wasn't hungry."
"Hungry has nothing to do with it Kim. You have to eat."
"I'm dieting," said the once upon a time cheerleader with a completely straight face."
The other woman snorted. "As IF. You have never had to diet in your life and I have been jealous of you forever. Of course I can console myself because you're an old lady."
"Old lady? As I recall, and I know I'm right about THIS, you're six months older than me. You were 92 when I was still only 91!"
The two women locked gazes for a moment before they both started laughing.
"Seriously Kim darling, you need to eat if only because most of the medications we have need to be taken with food."
Kim groaned. Picking up her light control pen she aimed the beam through the open door of their bathroom. In response the medicine cabinet opened and shelves automatically swung out.
"Medications? We have an entire drug store in there. The campus pot dealers didn't have that much all together in the old days." The pair laughed.
"What did we get in the way of mail?" Pam inquired as she spotted the pile of computer printouts on their table
"A letter from your grandson in Europe. One from my granddaughter on the coast. A bunch of junk stuff. A pair of begging letters from the alumni association. One for you and one for me," replied Kim.
"I'd be more inclined to give if they hadn't torn down our old dorm years ago," grumbled Pam.
"Well it was getting awfully old and rickety. Remember when we visited there for our 50th class reunion get-together? It was barely standing then."
"I suppose. Still," Pam's voice was wistful now. I wish somehow they could have saved our old room. I know," she laughed. "Couldn't be done but it would have been wonderful to have it transported somewhere where we could have shared it again."
"I know." Kim pulled herself up with the help of her walker. Carefully she found her way to Pam's side and sat beside her. The other woman noticed her friend had a large brown envelope in one hand.
"I don't know," admitted Kim. "I thought it came by regular mail but there's no return address or stamps on it. And who uses regular mail anymore? It's all electronic or courier service. It just says 'Pam Maguire and Kim McCall'."
"Strange. We haven't been "McCall' and 'Maguire' in seventy years."
"I know. And no address either, just our names. What do you suppose it is?"
"Well open it and see," advised Pam.
Kim shrugged and unfolded the metal clasp. "It's not even sealed," she commented. Once opened, she tipped the other end up. Both women gasped in surprise as Kim held up a small, decorated circle with feathers hanging from it.
"It's dream catcher."
"It's more than that. It's OUR dream catcher."
"The one that hung in our room?" Pam marveled. "I thought you had it."
"I thought YOU did!" Kim scratched her snow white hair. "I went to take it down the day we packed up," she looked sideways and grinned. "Before we went parking one more time. And I couldn't find it. I just always thought you had put it in with your stuff."
(Seventy years previously)
Kim straightened up, put her hands on her hips and arched her back. "Gosh, packing is hard work."
"That's because we haven't done any of it really since we moved you in here two and a half years ago." Pam smiled at her roommate.
Kim noticed the smile seemed a bit forced. She crossed to her best friend and sometime lover and hugged her. "I know," she said softly as she stroked the taller girl's cheek. "I can't believe it's over."
"But it's been fun hasn't it?" Pam lifted her head, her eyes swimming slightly with unshed tears."
"Worth it? It's been more than worth it. The fun we've had, the adventures we've gone on, the friends we have made." Kim giggled. "The sex." She looked deeply into her roommate's eyes. "The love."
Pam kissed her best friend and shook off the moment of gloom. "You're darn right. It's all been wonderful. I suppose I'm just dreaming that we could do it all again."
"Darn right!" The pair of almost graduates hugged fiercely. Neither of them saw the dream catcher Kim had hung years ago in one of the windows seem to flash for a moment.
Kim struggled to her feet. "Well, now that we've got it back I'm going to hang it up again." She crossed the room, pausing by an ancient faded poster that advertised the upcoming college production of "Once Upon a Mattress." She borrowed a bit of the tack that held the poster to the wall. Working her way carefully to the window she pressed the tack on the clear material and fastened the dream catcher to it.
"There!" she exclaimed triumphantly. "Now it can catch out dreams again."
Pam stared at the ornament as Kim resumed her seat.
"Do you think we still have dreams?" When Kim looked at her in surprise she plowed on. "Our lives are behind us now. The children are scattered to the corners of the world. George and Martin are gone. And that's not all the loss." Tears ran down her wrinkled face.
"I know." Kim wrapped her arms around Pam and held her. "Parents, husbands," she took Pam's hand and gripped it tightly. "A child. But would you go back and change it? Even if you knew the outcome? Would you go back and not make love to Martin the night you conceived her, knowing that you would lose her when she was a teenager?"
Pam hiccupped and shook her head. "Of course not. The joy always outweighed the sorrow. I couldn't, no more than we could avoid falling in love with our husbands even though they would go before us, even if we knew that was going to happen."
"And hey, you've got ME again. Roommates together, roommates forever."
"Sometimes I'm a silly old woman," confessed Pam. "It was all worth it. You can't have the flowers without the rain. There still are dreams, Kim. Happy dreams of days gone past. And I'd do it all over again, even knowing everything. Wouldn't you?"
"Of course I would do it again." declared Kim. "Every bit of it."
The dream catcher caught the elderly women's eyes as it suddenly shone with a brilliant light. A swirling vortex opened on the wall under it. In seconds it grew from a tiny spot to an opening that nearly filled the entire wall. Both women were drawn to it. They hobbled forward and peered.
"It's, it's your college dorm room Kim!" exclaimed Pam.
"It can't be. It must be some illusion."
"Yes, of course, that must be it." Pam paused for a second. "I don't care. I'm going to see, well, whatever this is."
Kim twined her gnarled fingers with her friend's. "Not without me you're not." she declared. They stepped into the spinning opening. A walker and a cane fell to the floor. Then the duo was gone and with a "Whoosh" the vortex disappeared.
The world seemed to swim before the two women when they stepped through the strange opening. There was a wrenching sensation that jerked both their bodies. Both of them blinked their eyes. For a moment everything felt strange.
Then Pam smiled at the girl seated at the desk. "Hey, are you as busy as I am?"
Kim looked up and grinned at the tousled brown head poked in her door. "If you're asking if I have a date this evening, then the answer is 'No'. It's just me and my math books. How about you?"
Pam shook her head ruefully as she came into the room and flopped on the bed belonging to Kim's roommate. The nineteen year old athlete propped her head up on one hand and studied the black haired girl sitting at the desk, her chair tipped back and her feet crossed on the top. They stayed in companionable silence before the brunette broke the quiet.
Pam pushed herself up and looked at her friend. "Oh, to heck with it Kim. Put your books up and let's go."
"Go where?" Inquired Kim, even as she closed her books, stood and stretched.
"So we don't have dates and we don't feel like a big, noisy party. Let's take my car, get a bottle of wine and go parking up on the ridge. We can listen to the sounds of mating going on and gossip about everyone we see up there."
Kim laughed merrily. "You're on."
Pam hesitated for a moment. Kim looked at her and matched her friend's puzzled expression.
"What is it?"
"I don't know. I felt strange for a moment. As though..."
"As though we've already done this?" completed the shorter Canadian girl. "Me too."
"But we haven't. Have we?"
A grin split the young Southern girl's face. "So let's go do it for the first time now."
The manager of the retirement home literally wrung her hands as she talked to the pair of police detectives as they stood just outside the door of the unoccupied suite.
"I just can't understand where they could have gone. The building's outside doors have magnetic locks that can only be opened with a pass card. The only exception is in case of fire or a disaster the locks are disabled by pushing any one of these emergency switches." She indicated one on the wall of the hallway.
"And none of those have been activated? The taller detective asked as he made notes in his palm notebook with the electronic stylus.
"No. If one HAD been pressed, its location would have registered with the central computer system and an alarm sounded."
A uniformed officer came down the hall. The second detective turned to him.
"Did you review the security cameras?"
"I did. Nothing. They show both ladies came out at breakfast time. Another disk confirms that's where they went. They returned to their suite. Around noon Mrs. Norton left and went to lunch. Mrs. Keagan left shortly after but turned the other way. Another camera shows she went to the front desk, collected her mail and came back before Mrs. Norton returned. Nothing after that. As far as the security cameras show, they're still in there."
Another uniform, this one a sergeant, arrived shaking his head wearily.
"Let me guess. Nothing?" said the first detective.
"Nothing. We've searched the entire building AND the grounds. Everywhere. The dogs can't find anything." The sergeant removed his hat and wiped his face with his sleeve. "It's like they just dropped off the face of the earth."
"That's not possible." The second detective declared.
"I suppose not," agreed his partner. He studied the room again. "But where could they have gone?"
As he turned away a flash of light caught his eye. He turned back. But it was only a stray beam of sunlight reflecting off the strange ornament hanging in the window. He shrugged and repeated to himself. "Where COULD they have gone?"
The dream catcher didn't answer, but if it could have, it would have said that the dreams it had been given had been given back.
(Or is it The Beginning?)
(My dearest roommie "Kim". I am still so sorry for your loss. I still can't believe that "George" is gone after 35 years together. But I know that you'd do it all again.)