Dreaming Dangerously

by Cristiano Caffieri

If there were dreams to sell,
Merry and sad to tell,
And the crier rung his bell
What would you buy?
Thomas Lovell Beddoes

The Mysterious Doctor Kruger

Almost everyone dreams of living in some exotic place, or in another time period, or making love to the perfect partner. Imagine what it would be like if some hypnotherapist could send you into a trance and you could customize your dreams, dreams that exactly mimic reality and where weeks or even months could be compressed into a one-hour session.

Peter Byrnes and Mary McCutcheon who had both taken early retirement from teaching at the same school in 1970, often talked about their dreams. He, a divorcee and she recently widowed, they’d meet once or twice a week in their favorite Dublin café to drink a little coffee, reminisce about old times and talk about the things they’d change if they were able to do it all over again.

Unlike Peter, a down to earth borderline atheist, Mary was always involved in things esoteric. Clairvoyants, Ouija boards and religion played a big part in her life. In spite of the fact he thought much of what she said was complete nonsense, he listened patiently to her ramblings because he knew it made her happy. He even envied her at times. At least she had an interest in life, since he’d retired from teaching there’d been a big void in his, a void that seemed impossible to fill.

One day at their regular meeting Mary tells she had just spent three weeks as a Polynesian Princess on a Pacific island. He can’t make out at first whether she is just having a little joke and there’s a punch line coming – or if she is showing the first signs of senility. She went on to explain that she had found an absolutely incredible hypnotherapist, a Dr. Kruger, who used to practice in Vienna.

“He can send you into a trance and during the time you are under his influence you can live whatever life you have dared to dream of,” she said, excitedly. Then she leaned over the table, almost knocking over his coffee, “If you could go anywhere in the world right now – where would you go?”

Peter smiled and rubbed his chin, “Well”, he mused, “I’ve just been reading this book about Paris in 1924. The author talks about this little café on the Boulevard St. Michel where he would sit for hours observing the patrons and the folk passing by. I’d love to go there just to see if it’s the same kind of place he describes in his book – a place bubbling over with romance, philosophical discussions, and political intrigue. With my luck,” he laughed, “It’s probably been turned into a fast food outlet.”

“Why don’t you just hop a plane and go see for yourself,” she asked.

“No, no,” he retorted, “I don’t want to go as an old man; I would like to be young and energetic like the author of the book. I’d like to speak fluent French and blend in with the college students, possibly have an affair with a beautiful young woman. You see,” he said, with a sad sort of smile on his face, “I dream too.”

Valerie clapped her hands together enthusiastically, “That’s the kind of crazy dream that Dr. Kruger can turn into reality.”

Peter laughed, “He could turn me into a young stud again?”

“If that’s what you want,” she said.

She paused for a moment and then her face lit up like a Christmas tree,
“Look, why don’t you come with me to my next session, I’ll introduce you to him, he’s a wonderful person; I know you’ll like him.”

In spite of Mary’s pleadings, Peter diplomatically declined the offer.

“Just as you wish,” she said, as she got up to leave the table, “But one day you will feel the need as I did. When you do – don’t be embarrassed to tell me – the offer will still be open”.

Peter sat for a while after Mary left and his mind wandered to that little café on the Boulevard St. Michel. Even though he was a diehard skeptic it amused him to imagine himself sitting there with his new body, conversing with some beautiful young Parisian woman and sipping on a glass of Chardonnay.

Peter didn’t see his friend a couple of weeks has she had family visiting from Galway. He missed their little get-togethers and by the second week, he was feeling desperately lonely and depressed. He began to think about how Mary always seemed so buoyant, so happy, so relaxed.

“Perhaps there’s something in this Dr. Kruger thing,” he mumbled to himself. “Maybe I should give it a try, after all – what can I lose – a few pounds at the most.”

It wasn’t easy walking into that establishment when he was so full of doubts and afraid that he might be making a fool of himself. But he did it.

The Doctor’s office was all white. The walls, the ceiling, the carpets even the furniture. He cautiously shook hands with the diminutive doctor who, being dressed in the same color, sort of blended in with the décor.

Kruger bid him to sit in a large winged chair and armed with a remote control, he seated himself immediately across from him.

“You said on the phone that Mary McCutcheon recommended me”

“Yes, she seems to have great faith in you,” Peter stammered.

“But you haven’t?”

“I wouldn’t say that.”

“What would you say then?”

“I’d say that it seems too good to be true.”

“Perhaps you think that Mary is just a hysterical female with an overactive imagination.”

“I don’t think that,” Peter protested.

“But you do,” he smiled, “I can read your mind.”

Then he just sat there for a moment and fixed Peter in his gaze.

“Please always be frank with me Mr. Byrnes – as they say – the truth will set you free.”

Peter was feeling very uncomfortable prompting him to try to clear his mind of all thoughts. He sat further back in his chair trying to put a little distance between him and the doctor.

Doctor Kruger clicked the remote, the lights were dimmed, the sound of Schumann’s Träumerei filtered through the speakers in the ceiling and a panel opened revealing one of those black and white wheels that revolve and makes one feel quite dizzy.

Still feeling that he was participating in something rather silly, Peter mumbled how he would like to be sitting outside the Café Beauvoir in 1924, about how he would like to be young and fluent in French, have a pocket full of cash and be attractive to the opposite sex.

The Doctor didn’t comment on his choice, he simply explained that Peter would be under hypnosis for about one hour. During that time it might seem to him that he was there for days or even weeks.

“That part is a little unpredictable,” he said.

Peter sat up with a start, “Unpredictable!”

The Doctor slowly rubbed his chin and smiled, “I think you are becoming a believer.” he said. “Don’t worry; I haven’t lost a patient yet.” Having said that he put his hand to his chest and winced with pain.

“I shouldn’t have had that pickled cabbage with my lunch,” he grumbled, “It always gives me indigestion but I never seem to learn from it.”

He adjusted his position and after a couple of big breaths, he continued.

“I want you to understand that, even though you will be detached from your present state of reality, you will always be aware of your true identity.” He picked up a small metal triangle from the table beside him. “When I want you to wake-up I shall strike this triangle.” he demonstrated with a gentle tap, “Then you will back to normal. You may be sorry to return to reality but that is how it has to be. Now I want you to stare at the revolving wheel and think about your dream.”

Peter, although feeling quite uneasy and almost ready to get up out of the chair, still followed Doctor Kruger’s bidding. As he stared at the wheel, which appeared to be going in ever-decreasing circles, his eyelids started to feel heavy, and a warm sensation flooded his body. He could just hear the Doctor’s voice, coaxing him on but it got fainter and fainter and then he was suddenly awakened by the sound of clinking dishes and the buzzing of people talking.

Right Place – Wrong Time

He opened his eyes and found himself sitting in a sidewalk café. Peter started to panic and got up clumsily from the table where he was sitting. He looked at his reflection in the café window and sure enough, he appeared to be about twenty-five. Feeling his face to make sure it was his he then turned his attention to his clothes which looked somewhat out of date, then turning towards the street he’s baffled by the vehicles that were passing by. Most of them looked like models from the nineteen-thirties or early forties.

“O shit!” he cried out loud, “I’m in the wrong time.”

Some of the café patrons turned to look as he floundered around not knowing where to go or what to do. He sat down again and whispered Doctor Kruger’s name and appealed for help.

Meanwhile within the white walls of the hypnotherapist’s office medics were trying to revive the doctor from a massive heart attack. The receptionist looked on in horror as the team worked tirelessly to save him. Eventually they removed the defibrillator and shaking their heads they turned their attention to Peter’s motionless form still sitting in the chair.

Back in Paris, the more youthful version of Peter was trying his best to keep calm by taking deep breaths and attempting to get his thoughts together.

“Are you alright Monsieur,” asked a pretty young waitress.

Peter hesitated for a moment but then realizing that his wish to speak fluent French had materialized answered her.

“I think so”.

“Can I get you a drink of water?”

“Yes – that would be nice – thank you.”

When she returned with the water she sat across from him.

“You look quite ill Monsieur, I could try to get you a taxi, but it’s not easy at this time.”

Peter sipped his water and stared aimlessly ahead. She attempted to gain his attention and moved closer to him.

“Where do you live Monsieur, perhaps I could walk you home – I’m off in five minutes.”

Peter explained that he didn’t live in the area. Suspecting that he was down and out she offered to buy him a meal but he told her he was not hungry. Then, like a robot he got up from the table, bid her goodbye and walked into the street.

He didn’t get very far before the girl caught up with him and introduced herself.

My name is Lisa, Lisa Louviere, what’s yours?”

Before he could answer several German military vehicles passed them by.

“My God,” he exclaimed, “They look like Nazis,”

She told him to keep his voice down or he’d get them both into trouble.

“Look,” she said, stopping and taking his arm, “I just live around the corner, why don’t you come in for a coffee”.

As he didn’t have anything better to do he agreed and soon they were climbing a staircase in a somewhat neglected apartment building. Arriving at the third floor she took a key from her purse and while opening the door to number 3A she babbled on about having no sugar, and how he must excuse the fact that the apartment was untidy.

He cautiously entered her little abode, which had a paint hanging from the ceiling and several large cracks in the walls.

“It’s a bit of dump,” she said, “But I’m lucky to have it. There’s quite a shortage of accommodation in Paris these days.”

She invited him to sit down while she lit a gas ring in the corner of the room. As she bent over to prepare the coffee he couldn’t help noticing her slender figure, her gorgeous long legs, and jet black hair. He thought she was quite beautiful. However, in spite of any dreams he might have had about women being attracted to him again, he was in no mood for romantic liaisons at that moment in time.

Over coffee she queried him about his situation, he pleads amnesia, feeling it was the safest course to take as he could hardly expect her to believe the truth. Lisa was shocked and suggested that they should call a doctor but he insisted that it was not necessary. When she asked if he remembered his name he decided to say he didn‘t. After all he thought, Peter Byrnes doesn’t sound very French.

“Perhaps I should call you Léon in memory of my cousin who was killed defending the Maginot Line. Well at least until you get your memory back.”

He said he had no objection to the name and deduced from her comment, “Until you get your memory back,” that she was planning to keep him under her wing for a while. In spite of his confused state of mind, he was lucid enough to realize than most men would give their right arm to be taken under such a wing.

Although he was quite sure he was living through Nazi occupation in world war two he probed her with questions trying to evaluate just how serious a dilemma he was facing. During the conversation, he ascertains that she was originally from Boulogne where both her parents were killed in an allied air raid. She talked about the hardships of living under the Germans and that how she worked at the café to make her food ration go a little further.

“I get some free food there,” she said, “The owner is quite nice, at least most of the time. She paused thoughtfully, “Speaking of rations”, she said, “You must have a ration card and identification, everybody has to have those these days, have you searched your pockets.”

Peter hadn’t really thought about that and so he systematically goes through them while she looks on. However, the only thing he was able to produce was a very large wad of cash. When Lisa saw that her eyes nearly popped out of her head.

“Where did you get so much money” she exclaimed. But before he can reply the apartment bell rang and she rushed over to the window to look out.

“My god it’s my friend, put that money away while I let him in,” she said, leaving the room in a fluster.

Peter, a little amazed at finding himself so rich, crammed the money back into his pocket and sat down on the sofa. When the door opens to reveal a German officer he feels the blood drain from his body.

Lisa calmly introduces her friend as Captain Sigwald Stahl, explaining to him that Peter is her cousin Léon from Boulogne. The Captain shook his hand reluctantly and suggested that officially he should ask to see his ID. Peter tries to bluff by putting his hand to his inside pocket. Lisa visibly worried bit her lip nervously but the bluff worked. The Captain waved his hand and in an arrogant manner and told Peter it was not necessary.

Lisa and the Captain then continued their conversation in German. They didn’t realize that Peter had a reasonable knowledge of the language. It was one of the subjects he had studied in college. However, in spite of his best efforts, he never became fluent enough to teach it in school, which was his ambition.

She tells Stahl that Léon is going to stay for a few nights and that she is going to sleep with her friend Marie downstairs. He tells her how disappointed he is.

Casting a disapproving glance at Peter, he explains that he has to return to Germany the following week and that he was hoping that they could spend a little time together. Lisa said they could meet at the hotel around the corner and Stahl, obviously quite happy with that arrangement, clicked his Prussian heels together and almost popped his monocle.

Peter is astounded. It appeared as though his new found friend was a whore and a Nazi collaborator. He was so disappointed as he had begun to really like her.

Lisa showed the Captain to the door and told him she would be at the hotel in ten minutes. When he was out of earshot she tells Peter not to leave the apartment or answer the door to anyone.

“How come you speak such good German,” he inquired, as she put on her coat.

“I lived in Alsace until I was fifteen,” she replied, “almost everyone there speaks both languages.”

She opened the door, put her head to one side and said, “Please trust me,” and made a quick exit.

For the next few hours Peter did a lot of pacing and calling out to Doctor Kruger but Doctor Kruger was no longer taking calls. And Peter’s earthly form was now lying in a Dublin hospital bed hooked to an IV while puzzled doctors were trying to figure out how to bring him out of, what they believed to be, a deep coma.

Staying the Night with a Beautiful Girl

It was getting dark and Lisa was not back. Peter, not being used to wartime conditions switched on the light. A few minutes later she flew through the door in a panic and pulled the black drapes across the window.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing” she screamed, “You can’t switch lights on without blacking out the windows, you’ll have us both arrested.” Peter just looked at her with a confused look on his face.

“Where the hell are you from – Mars?” she asked, obviously getting impatient with her guest. She took off her coat and flung it on the sofa near where he was sitting, looking bewildered and depressed and not knowing what he could do to get himself out of the mess he was in.

After a few minutes, Lisa apologized for being so long and losing her temper.

“I bet you’re hungry,” she said moving over to the kitchen area. “I’ve eaten but I’ll get you something. How about some potatoes and onions, I’m afraid that’s all I have at the moment but I do have a great recipe, and I do have a bottle of wine.”

Peter, who was now feeling hungry, said that potatoes and onions would be fine. As he demolished his supper and sipped on the wine, Lisa sat across from him trying to sum up this strange man from nowhere. After a while, she informed him that her friend Marie, who she was hoping to sleep with downstairs, was away.

“We’ll both have to sleep here for tonight – I hope I can trust you.”

“I can assure you I’m a gentleman,” he replied.

“How do you know that – you don’t even know who you are, I don‘t suppose you even know where you got all that money” .

“No I don’t,” he said.

He wiped his plate clean with a piece of bread and then asked her a very direct question. “Why are you collaborating with the Germans?”

Her face became flushed and she quickly got up from the table,

“That’s my business – I have my reasons.”

With that, she flung herself on to the sofa and picked up a book, though it was obvious she wasn’t really reading it. There was a period of silence. Then after what seemed to be like hours, she started to talk about the sleeping arrangements. The bed was tucked away behind the sofa and so she got him to help her to move them a safe distance apart, then she disappeared into the bathroom and reappeared in a long woolen nightdress.

“I usually sleep in the nude,” she grimaced, “This is the only nightdress I have. My grandma gave it to me last Christmas, it’s the first time it’s been worn.”

Peter, who was beginning to think she would look good in anything, simply said it looked very warm and then he pulled up the cover she had provided for him and tried to find a comfortable spot for his bum on the lumpy sofa.

The next morning he woke up to the smell of coffee and the feeling his body had been trampled by a herd of buffalo. He looked up to see Lisa with a cup of coffee in her hand.

“It’s my day off today,” she said, “So I thought we could get you some more clothes, you obviously can’t sleep and go out in the same ones all the time. And as you have no coupons we’ll have to buy them on the black market, however, that shouldn’t be a problem as you’ve got lots of money.”

Mid-morning the pair took two old suitcases and caught a crowded bus to an area of Pigalle. Here they entered a seedy side street and stopped in front of an even seedier looking house. They pulled the bell chain that hung limply from the doorpost and presently they were ushered in by a scruffy individual by the name of Pierre who looked furtively up and down the street before closing the door behind them.

The inside of the house looked no better than the outside façade. Lounging on the furniture, that has seen better days, there were several mangy looking cats. One of the ferocious-looking felines arched its back and hissed at Peter as he passed. Stepping quickly to one side he almost put his foot into one of the many bowls of half-eaten food that dotted the floor. He also had to avoid a particularly nasty looking litter box that smelt if a skunk had died in it.

Lisa and Pierre obviously knew each other and a lot of mumbling went on with Pierre glancing suspiciously at Peter until she seemed to reassure him that it was safe to show him the wares. After some huffing and snorting he slid open a secret door behind a cupboard and they all stepped inside.

It was an Aladdin’s cave of sorts, except canned goods and clothing instead of gold and jewels. There were even some gas masks, German uniforms and a pile of antique-looking firearms.

“I’ll leave you to choose what you want and then we’ll talk price,” said Pierre, pinching Lisa’s bum, after which he parted with a considerable amount of gas and left the room with an evil chuckle.

Lisa rooted amongst the piles of clothes and got Peter to try some of them on. It seemed that she was quite comfortable making all of the decisions for him and he began to feel like a married man again.

When they had chosen numerous items of clothing and some food supplies Lisa went to find Pierre. He returned with a serious look on his face, the sort that used car salesman have when they’re bent on charging you top dollar for a rusty old wreck.

Negotiations got a little heated but eventually, a compromise was reached and Lisa asked Peter for the money. She had made sure before they left the apartment that he divided the money into smaller bundles as it wouldn’t have been safe to flash too big a wad in front of this seasoned criminal.

Getting to Know Her

The more Peter gets to know Lisa the more of an enigma she becomes. The fact she offers shelter to a complete stranger, makes love to a Nazi officer and deals with black marketeers makes him wonder what other surprises are in store for him.

He was also becoming worried about his feeling towards her, he had been physically attracted to her from the beginning but now he was scared that it was developing into something more than that. Deep inside he knew that he should be trying to make contact with Dr. Kruger before he landed himself in some kind of serious trouble.

Thoughts of ending up in a Nazi concentration were never far from his mind. Every time he saw a German soldier he started to sweat. However, saying goodbye to Lisa forever – seemed unthinkable.

Back at the apartment he tried on some of the new clothes and did a little fashion parade for her. At one point she got off the sofa to help him knot a rather loud tie he was having some difficulty with. For a few seconds, they just stood there looking into each other’s eyes before she suddenly withdrew looking a little flustered.

When Lisa hadn’t been to her job for two days Peter got worried she might lose it. He questioned her about this but she told him not to worry and that everything was under control.

“In fact – to show you everything is OK we’ll go to the Café Beauvoir for lunch tomorrow,” she said, and they did just that.

Peter dressed himself in a heavy fisherman’s sweater for the occasion and Lisa told him he looked rather handsome in it. She also put on an attractive dress that she’d bought at Pierre’s place. He had insisted on buying it for her even though she was reluctant to let him spend his money on her.

“You’ll look gorgeous in that,” he had told her, and he was right.

Quite a few heads turned when they walked into the café and he was sure it wasn’t his sweater that was attracting attention.

They took a table inside by the window and she introduced him to Phillipe the owner who sat to drink a glass of wine with them. After a great lunch for which there was no bill, Lisa joined Phillipe at the bar and they start gesticulating wildly, as if in a frenzied argument. When she returned to the table he asked her if anything was wrong.

“Phillipe thinks it is dangerous for me to accommodate you, he’s worried that one of these days somebody will stop you and want to see your ID and you may implicate me.”

“I don’t want to cause you or your boss any problems, maybe I should move on.”

“You can’t go anywhere without papers. I’ll try and get you some for you.”

“Are you going to ask your Nazi friends.” he inquired sarcastically.

He could have bitten his tongue after he said that, but he’d said it, and it was too late to take it back. She was furious and slapped his face as hard as she could. Then she took off down the street like a rocket. He followed her right back to the apartment building but she slammed the door in his face. He rang the bell but she ignored it.

It started to rain and he stood there by the door looking like a drowned rat. A gendarme passed by and looked at him suspiciously and he started to panic and ring the bell again. She still didn’t answer.

He decided to move down the street and find some shelter as the rain was now coming down in torrents. As he shuffled away he heard her voice calling “Léon,” and turning around he saw her standing there almost as wet as he was. He walked sheepishly towards her with a very guilty look on his face.

Lisa took his hand and led him back into the building. When he’d dried off and changed in the bathroom he emerged to find that she has lit the little wood stove and was sitting there with a cup of coffee in each hand. She held out one for him and he sat beside her on the floor. He started to apologize for his behaviors but she put her finger to his lips as if to say “don‘t worry about it.”

“Drink your coffee”, she smiled, “You need to warm your inside.”

They spent a long time drinking their coffee and just gazing at each other. At last, she broke the silence. “I don’t blame you thinking that I’m a Nazi sympathizer, but I can assure you I’m not. I have my reasons for my relationship with Captain Stahl, I’m afraid you’ll have to trust me like I’ve trusted you.”

Peter put down his cup and leaned towards her, she didn’t attempt to move as he gently placed a kiss upon her lips.

“We shouldn’t get involved,” she whispered, as he slipped his arm around her slender waist but it was too late, their lips were locked in a passionate kiss that seemed to go on forever and ever. In spite of her muffled protests, she surrendered to his touch and the next thing he knew her tongue was moving into his mouth.

Peter gently lowered her slender body to the floor and sat there looking down at her.

“You’re very beautiful,” he said.

She smiled, “Do you really think so?”

“I do,’ he replied, then, leaning over her, he kissed her forehead, then the end of her nose and then her lips. This was followed by several more kisses as he slipped his hand underneath her sweater. When he made contact with her warm body he took a deep breath and she responded with a little gasp as his fingers moved underneath her bra and he gently rubbed her nipples.

She arched her back to allow him to roll up her top and then it was his turn to gasp as he saw her perfectly formed breasts. Some of his maneuvers caused her to react with faint whimpers and others to moan and move her head from side to side as if it was too much for her to bear.

At one point she stopped him while she peeled off her clothes and he hurriedly parted with his. As he bent over her she put her arms around him and pulled him forward, with his legs either side of her she slipped her delicate hands between his thighs. Peter could feel the blood pumping through his veins as she fondled his balls. He gradually moved out of her reach, parted her legs and lowered himself down onto her gorgeous body.

When his cock slipped into her moistened crack she took a deep breath and began to murmur softly. He moved it in and out quite slowly at first but at her urging he quickened the pace, going faster and faster as she tightened her lips, and closed her eyes.

Her tits were bouncing around as he kept pounding her mound and his balls felt as if they were on fire. When he blew his load he let out a yell and she held on to him tighter and tighter as he gave those last powerful thrusts as if the future of France depended on it.

“O god, that was wonderful,” she gasped, “But I hope you have not made me pregnant.”

She looked up at him as if she’d like that, but for Peter, having a child in another dimension was more than the mind could handle. In fact it didn’t seem possible – after all, it was only a dream – or was it?

They languished in each other’s arms until the morning sun streaked through the window and danced its shadows on her beautiful face. He just sat there and watched her until she stretched her naked body and opened up her eyes.

“What time is it?” she asked, as he attempted to kiss her.

“Does it matter?”

“Yes, I have to go to work today.”

He sat up and looked over at the wall clock, “It’s eight o’clock,” he said.

She immediately jumped to her feet, “I promised Philippe that I would work today.”

As she threw on some clothes she told him not to out or open the door to anyone. Then she ran over and kissed him, “You’ll have to get your own coffee, she said, “And be careful when you light the gas ring, it can be tricky.”

The Everlasting Bankroll

As there was no more fuel for the woodstove he wrapped himself in a blanket and drank lots of hot coffee. He sat there for hours thinking about the complicated situation he had gotten himself into and occasionally listening to the radio. Later he checked out his suit that was drying in the bathroom. Going through the pockets he took out the wads of money and counted it. In spite of their spending spree the previous day he still had the same amount.

As an experiment, he flushed a couple of banknotes down the toilet and recounted. Sure enough, he still had the same amount.

“My god I must be the richest man in the world,” he mused, “But I’m still trapped in a dream, or maybe it’s more like a nightmare.”

He started to call out Dr. Kruger’s name again. “Please Dr. Kruger get me out of this mess.”

Suddenly he heard the apartment door slam, he moved cautiously towards the bathroom door and was about to open it for a peek when somebody banged on it really hard. Taken by surprise he jumped back.

“Are you in there Léon?”

It was Lisa’s voice. Still shaking a little, he opened the door to reveal her standing there holding a cardboard box with a big smile on her face.

I smuggled your supper from the restaurant,” she said, “I hope you like – pork and red cabbage it’s all that was left today – but I do have this!” She produces a bottle of St. Emilion.

Relieved that she was not the Gestapo, he took the box from her and kissed her gently.

“Thank you”, he said, “You’re very thoughtful.”

Over a glass of wine, she tells him something about her childhood in Alsace and how she regretted being an only child.

“I would love to have had a big brother,” she said, “Everybody seemed to have a big brother but me.”

“I had three big brothers,” Peter blurted out before he could stop himself.

There was a moment of silence. Lisa just sat there with a quizzical look on her face. Then with a note of sarcasm in her voice, she said.
“It appears your memory is coming back.”

Peter took a deep breath, “I know this is going to sound unbelievable.”

“Try me,” she snapped, “Try me.”

“OK – but don’t think I’m completely mad because I can prove my story”.

She puts her head at an angle and sighed as if to say – “Get on with it.”
Peter took a deep breath and began to explain but he knew from the look on her face that she thought he was either a pathological liar or completely insane.

“So you’re trying to tell me that I’m just part of a dream – that I don’t exist in real life.”

“No, I’m sure you exist.”

“It’s very nice of you to say so.” She got up from the table and shoved her chair impatiently to one side.

“No – you see I’m sort of a time traveler I‘m from the year 1971”.

“Don’t keep feeding me this shit – you’re probably spying on me for the Boche – why don‘t you just admit it,” she threw her wine glass against the wall, “You bastard – and I was falling in love with you.”

Peter got up and grabbed her arm but she pulled away and started yelling and screaming for him to get out and to leave her alone. He took a wad of money from his pocket and held it up in the front of her.

“Get your Judas money out of my face,” she screamed.

“Please give me a chance to prove my story – I know it sounds fantastic but I can really prove it to you.”

She shook her head, “This I’ve got to see.”

He gives her the wad of notes and asks her to count them.

“Are we going to do magic tricks now,” she asked, taking the wad reluctantly.

“Go on count it”

She counted it and thrust it back in his hand. “There are twenty 1000 franc notes – now what?”

He handed her ten of them, “Put these in your pocket.” Then realizing she didn’t have pockets in her dress, he rephrased, “Or -put them somewhere.”

She grudgingly tucked them down her cleavage, then Peter asked her to count the wad again. Looking a little mystified she handed them back to him, “There are twenty..?”

He asked her to do it three more times until she had to admit she didn’t understand what was going on and had to sit down to get her thoughts together. Peter poured her another glass of wine and told her that he was also falling in love.

“How can you fall in love with a dream, it’s so confusing,” she said with tears beginning to run down her cheek, “How can you fall in love with a dream?”

Peter is about to put his arm around her when there is a knock at the door. Lisa got up to answer it while he kept out of sight. He heard the voice of an older woman, the kind of voice that rings with insincerity.

“Is anything wrong dear, I heard a lot of yelling and breaking the glass.”
“There is nothing wrong Madame Fregeau, my cousin and I were just rehearsing a part for his new play – he’s an actor you know.”

“Is he doing the play in Paris – I’d love to see it.”

“No he doing it in Boulogne – now I really must get back to it, we‘ve got lots of work to do yet. If you hear any strange noises just ignore them – it‘s horror play you see.”

She shuts the door as old woman tried to stick her head inside for a look. Then she turned to Peter with an exasperated look on her face.

“That was Madame Fregeau from 3B, she pokes her nose into everything – I don’t trust her, in fact, you can’t trust anybody in France these days.”

A Visit from the Police

Although Lisa seemed to believe or at least wanted to believe Peter’s incredible story, she remained somewhat distant and they returned to their old sleeping arrangements. At around six the next morning there was a knock on the door and when Lisa opened it there was two officious looking Gendarmes standing there. They demanded to see both their IDs.

Lisa, unruffled, walked over to the dresser and to Peter’s amazement produced not only her ID but a temporary ID document in the name of Léon Louviere stating that the original was lost and a new one was in the process of being issued. After a few questions the police left and as Lisa shut the door behind them she saw the Fregeau woman lurking in the hallway.

“They are probably checking for Jews,” said Lisa, as Peter sat down to hyperventilate. The Gendarme are rounding them up and turning them over to the Germans. Some French people are hiding them and I guess that is what Madame Busybody thought I was doing.”

“Do you think she called the police?”

“I’m sure of it, I should move – it’s dangerous for me to stay here.”

“I’m glad you were able to produce a document for me but where did you get it?”

“I’ve have access to such thing,” she said, “If I could really trust you I would tell you more.”

“Let me guess – you are a member of the French resistance.”

She remained silent, turned away from him and went over to put the coffee on.

“Would it bother you if I were?” she asked.

“No but I can tell you that you have a long job ahead of you – the war doesn’t end until 1945. Nothing can change that but the good news is the allies do win the war.”

“I’ve never doubted the outcome,“ I think God is on our side.”
He responded to that by telling her the German’s probably think that too. She shrugged and took two cups out of the cupboard.

“Would you help the resistance if you could?” she asked.

Even though he doubts about his ability to contribute and whether or he had enough courage to face such danger, he said he would be willing to help.

“Tomorrow I will take you to see Philippe again,” she said.

“At the Café Beauvoir?”

“Yes – he has some influence. If he accepts you – you could be useful, especially with all that money.”

“And if he doesn’t accept me?”

“He may kill you.”

It was about 9 am when they approached the Café Beauvoir. Outside a German military truck was parked and a suspicious-looking car. Lisa grabbed Peters arm and held him back. They watched as terrified customers ran out of the place like scared rabbits. Then two plain-clothed men, obviously Gestapo, brought out Philippe and threw him into the car. When the car left the soldiers in the truck set about blowing up the building.

Peter felt himself trembling as he stood there trying to keep himself concealed. He began to wonder how Dr. Kruger had managed to land him in the shit by getting 1924 mixed up with 1942. And if he was so incompetent could he trusted to ever get him back to his own time.

He did have a fleeting thought that with the café destroyed, he might suddenly find himself whisked back to 1971 but it didn’t happen. And on their return to the apartment building, things got worse. Standing across the street were two sinister figures.

“They look like Gestapo,” Lisa whispered, “We’ll have to go up the back fire escape”.

They try to walk nonchalantly pass the two men wearing dark raincoats and some way down the street she guided him into a back alley and they worked their way back between cans of garbage to the rear of their building.

On their arrival, Madame Fregeau was looking out of her window and so they had to wait in the shadows for a few minutes. They then climbed stealthily up the fire escape until they came to their apartment window. There was a piece of wire on the sill which she took and poked through a small hole releasing the catch.

“I knew I’d have to do this one day,” she said, as she climbed inside. Peter followed and watched as she went over to a large crack in the wall. Reaching in she pulled out a gun.

“What’s that for?” Peter gasped.

“For Nazis and traitors,” she said waving it menacingly in his face. “Now go and pack a few things and do it quickly, we’ve got to travel light but take a good looking suit, shirt, and shoes with you.”

Within minutes they were sneaking back down the fire escape again and heading down the alley. They caught a cab at the opposite end of the street and after giving the driver instructions she started to strip down to her panties and bra. The driver could hardly concentrate on his driving as he kept glancing in the rearview mirror. As she took a nice skirt and blouse from the bag she ordered him to change into his suit.

The driver became even more intrigued as Peter struggled to get his pants off. When they had both changed Lisa ordered the taxi to stop. Then they made their way a couple of blocks to a pawn shop where they bought an expensive-looking leather valise. Then in yet another back alley they transferred their belongings into the new bag and ditched the old one.

He was beginning to feel he was in a James Bond thriller but he didn’t ask any questions he just played along. The next cab took them within two blocks of the Ritz, the fanciest hotel in Paris where Lisa said they were going to spend the night. She transferred the ring she wore on her right hand to the left and then turned it over to look like a wedding ring. The place was crawling with German officers and he asked her quietly why she would bring him to such a place.

“They won’t be looking for resistance fighters here,” she whispered, “and you can afford it.”

Up in the room, they ordered room service and sat in silence for quite some time. After a while, he felt compelled to ask her about her plans.

“Well, it seems as though someone has given the Gestapo information on our members, which means I’m not safe and you’re not safe. The best thing for us to do is to make for the Pyrenees and cross over into Spain. Our group has smuggled people there before.”

“But I’m not sure I should leave Paris, Dr. Kruger may channel me back at any time, I don’t want to live in this era – I don’t belong here.”

“That’s why I told you we shouldn’t get involved.”

“But I love you.”

“But not enough to spend your life with me here”

“God – I’m sorry – I’m all mixed up – surely you can understand that”

“I know there’s no future for us but I don’t want to see you arrested and killed and that is the most likely scenario given the present circumstances. I’m obviously no use to my organization at the moment and you’re in grave danger so why don’t we plan our escape together and let’s see what happens.”

Peter reluctantly agreed but he was terrified. That night they slept separately even though he was dying to take her in his arms. At about 6 a.m. he woke up to find her sitting by the window crying. He rolled out of bed and sitting beside her tried to put his arm around her but she swept it away, got up and disappeared into the bathroom. He heard the shower turn on and a few minutes later she reappeared and told him to get ready – they had a train to catch.

After checking out, they were walking across the lobby when who should they bump into but Captain Stahl and a very elegant looking lady.

Lisa greeted him with a smile, “Fancy seeing you here Captain.”

He looked quite flustered and hesitantly introduces the lady as his wife Helga.

“This is a young lady who works in the Café Beauvoir…it’s near the barracks.”

“I did work there until you bastards blew it up,” she snapped.

Before he could say another word she took Peter’s arm waltzed out of the door leaving the Captain with a confused look on his face.
“I think you took an awful chance in there,” Peter said, wiping the perspiration from his brow.

“That piece of shit isn’t going say anything to anybody, if I was questioned he’d have a lot of questions to answer too. I’m not worried about him.”

The next stage of their journey was to the Gard du Montparnasse, where the trains left for Bayonne. Getting first-class tickets afforded them a certain immunity as once again they were surrounded by German officers, many of them taking their French mistresses to the coast.

The journey was reasonably uneventful. They played the part of young lovers to avoid any suspicion and she continued to call him Léon because that what his documentation said. The only thing to create a little tension was the presence of an officer in the SS, who sat across from them and kept leering at the pair like an idiot.

“Are you going all the way to Bayonne,” he asked, taking off his wire-rimmed glasses and cleaning them.

“Yes we are going to spend our honeymoon there,” Lisa answered.

“Which hotel are you staying at?”

“We haven’t decided yet,” Lisa replied.

“You seem to do all the talking Madame – has your husband lost his tongue?”

“O no – he has his tongue and he can do wonderful things with it,” she smiled. The officer seemed taken aback by the remark and remained silent for the rest of the journey.

Although she had never met Bernard Belbenoit, the resistance contact in Bayonne, she had sent others to meet up with him. He was responsible for providing suitable clothing and supplies for the journey across the Pyrenees. However, when they arrived at his house Lisa felt uneasy.

The broad-shouldered man with a shaggy looking beard gave them a very friendly greeting and seemed very anxious to please them. He led them into a room stocked with old clothes and boots and told them to help themselves.

“I’m in the middle of something,” he explained, “But I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

As soon as he left the room Lisa tells Peter that she believes Belbenoit is a phony.

“He didn’t go through the proper identification procedure,” she whispered, “Nobody in our organization would be that careless. I think he’s a plant. Let’s get out of here.”

They moved through the house and saw no sign of Belbenoir. Once outside they distanced themselves from the place they and stood and watched. After a few minutes a car pulled up in front of the house and two men, who they suspect were Gestapo rushed in.

“What are we going to do now?” asked Peter, wishing with all his heart he was back in Ireland.

“Well we can’t go to the safe house in Anglet in case they have that staked out too,” we’d better go in a different direction and lie low for a couple of days.”

As she spoke a bus pulled up to a nearby stop. A drunken man staggered down the bus steps and threw up in the gutter. Lisa just nudged him out the way and stepped onto the bus. She asked the driver where he was going and he told her he was bound for Bassussary. She beckoned Peter to follow her on board.

There are only a few passengers and they moved to the seat at the back. Lisa then instructs Peter to take off his jacket and replace it with a sweater from the valise and she did the same.

“Belbenoir may have given a description of our clothing, we can’t be too careful,” she said.

A few miles down the road the bus was pulled over by the Gestapo. One came on board with a flashlight and panned it around the dimly lit conveyance. By the time the beam was on them, Lisa had started necking furiously with Peter. The man pulled a face as if he found their display disgusting and left.

Peter thought it was lucky he didn’t ask the driver if any new passengers had boarded at the last stop. Lisa agreed with him. Luck seemed to be on their side, at least – for the moment.

The Journey Continues

Back in Dublin Mary had discovered that Dr. Kruger had passed away and her best friend had been admitted to hospital on the very same day. Although she was not a relative, the hospital allowed her to sit by the almost lifeless body of 55-year-old Peter Byrnes. She felt somewhat responsible for his dilemma and vowed she would sit by his bedside until he came out of his coma.

Peter and Lisa meanwhile, posing as a newly married couple rented a pleasant room in a pension in the small town of Bassussary. In spite of her not wanting to continue the relationship that was developing in Paris she found herself clinging to him more and more. She hated to admit it but she was so afraid that one day he was going to disappear into thin air.

In Bassussary they resumed their sexual relationship. Every night they would lay naked together. She would often sleep with her back to him and he would wrap his body around hers and massage her tits. With his dick poking into the crack of her bum she could hardly ignore him,

“You’re insatiable,” she say, turning over to face him and planting a kiss on his lips, “I guess you’re not going to let me go to sleep until you’ve fucked me.”

Feeling guilty he was putting pressure on her he’d say, “You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” and while he was saying it he was sliding down the bed to place his head between her thighs.

Lisa loved him to give her some tongue, he was very good at it. As soon as his fingers opened up her crack and he began to lap her wet groove from the bottom to the top, she was in ecstasy.

“O shit” she’d call out, then she’d throw her arms backward and just lie there as he moved it up, down and sideways. When her body started to tingle all over she’d say, “Keep doing that – I’m cumming,” and then she’d bounce up and down on the squeaky old bed as she went into orgasm.

Sometimes she’d suck his cock afterward but other times she wanted him to penetrate her while she was still shaking. Peter loved the way it felt when he slipped it into her vagina and it gripped hold of him. Sometimes it felt just like when she sucked him off.

He was always gentle but Lisa wasn’t averse to a bit of rough, she loved it when he pounded her mound with powerful thrusts, particularly when she sensed he was about to cum and then she would dig her nails in him and moan until his goo was flowing up inside of her.

Although he enjoyed the sex he was happy just to be with her and he sometimes hoped that Dr. Kruger would never ring that dam triangle. He didn’t care if he had to live through the dam war, he could no longer imagine life without her.

One morning at breakfast two cyclists with backpacks pulled into the pension. This gave Lisa an idea.

“Give me some money,” she said. He quickly dug into his pocket and handed her a wad.

With cash in hand, she approaches the cyclists and made them a sweet deal for their bikes, equipment, and backpacks.

“Hope you can ride a bike,” she said when she returned to the table. He would like to have said I haven’t tried for thirty years – but he didn’t want to spoil his image.

There was certainly had a lot of laughs when he wobbled his way out of the pension courtyard and into the street. The former bicycle owners seem to get the biggest kick out of it.

Using a map Lisa tried to find a narrow country road where she felt that there would be less likelihood of running into any German patrols or Gendarme for that matter, for the Vichy government was now in league with the Nazis and danced to their tune. They dined at country inns, gathered wild berries and once milked a cow that had strayed from its field.

In spite of all their fears, they both seemed deliriously happy. Everyone they passed assumed they were madly in love never suspecting their mission for one moment.

When they got a puncture a few kilometers outside of Ascain a German dispatch rider stopped to give them a hand. They waved him goodbye as if he was an old friend and it made them both realize just how stupid the war was.

As the terrain began to get hilly they abandoned their bikes and started to walk along tracks and paths that no doubt had seen their share of fugitives. However, Lisa was quite frustrated that she didn’t know the routes taken by those working out of Urregne however, it would have been too dangerous to have made contact with them in case they had been infiltrated like Bayonne.

One evening as the light was fading they came upon an old broken down shepherd’s hut. They approach it cautiously and gently push the door open. The next thing they saw was the barrel of a shotgun pointing straight at them.

Suspecting that the man was a member of the resistance Lisa addressed him using a couple of coded words, he put down his gun immediately and greeted them with “ongi ettori,” meaning welcome in the Basque language.

He introduced himself as Armand Atxaga from Urrugne. He tells them that the real Belbenoir was arrested two weeks ago along with three British airmen. Armand said someone in one branch of the organization must have cracked and exposed his or her contacts.

“I’m just lying low for a few days and then I going back to Urrugne, he said, “There’s still lots of work to be done.”

Lisa looked thoughtful and sat down on the grass looking back along the track. She didn’t say much for the rest of the evening. They scraped up some food for supper and the three slept together in the hut.

In Dublin the widow of Dr. Kruger had allowed Mary access to her husband’s office, here she retrieved the triangle that was left lying on the floor. She drove furiously to the hospital feeling that she might be able to bring Peter out of his dream state but she was in for a shock.

In the corridor outside of the room, a nurse greeted her with – “I’m sorry, the doctor doesn’t want anyone to see Mr. Byrnes today, he’s been having some breathing problems and a special team is being assembled to assess the situation.”

Mary protested but to no avail so she retired to the cafeteria to have a coffee and weigh her options. She was determined to get to Peter’s bedside and ring that triangle, it seems his only hope, otherwise she felt that Peter might die. In such an event she assumed his dream body, where ever it was, would just fade away.

Mary was not the only person in shock that day. As Peter, Lisa and Armand sipped a morning cup of bouillon, the only thing they had left from their supplies, she told Peter that they were only yards from the Spanish border but that she can’t cross with him.

“I have to do back,” she whispered, visibly upset with her decision.

“What do you mean go back?”

“My place is in France, not in Spain, you must go on but I can’t, I have my obligations.”

Peter was in a state of shock. He grabbed her by her shoulders and looked directly into her eyes. “You can’t do this to me,” he cried, “You can’t do this to me.”

Armand looking a little embarrassed said he was about to leave, he didn’t want to hang around any longer. He asked Lisa if she was going to accompany him or if she was going to meet up with him later in Urrugne.

“I’m coming”, she said, and grabbing her backpack she charged down the slope after Armand, sobbing loudly as she ran.

Peter grabbed his backpack and started after her. “I’m coming with you,” he cried.

Lisa turned just in time to see Peter’s body slowly dissolve in the morning sun.

Armand crossed himself, “My god, where did he go?”

“He’s gone home,” she said, wiping the tears from her eyes, “He’s gone home.”

In Peter’s hospital room the ringing of the triangle attracted the attention of the nurse who was just returning from the dispensary with his medication. She rushed into the room to see Mary about to strike the triangle once more.

“I thought I told you that Mr. Byrnes couldn’t have visitors today,” she yelled, “Now please leave before I call security.”

Mary looked at Peter, hooked up to tubes and wires, still motionless and turned to leave. However, she had one more defiant strike at the triangle before she did so.

“What on earth are you doing?” the nurse asked, snatching the triangle from her, “I’m sure Mr. Byrnes is not in the mood for a musical recital.”

Just then Peter sat up bolt upright and started to tear the mask from his face.

“Where am I,” he called out, “Where’s Lisa, I’ve got to find Lisa.”

It took two nurses to restrain him and about fifteen minutes for him to settle down. At Peter’s request, the doctor did allow Mary to stay, although they did not admit the triangle played had any part in his miraculous recovery.

Peter’s was shocked when Mary told him about the demise of Dr, Kruger and how he had been in the hospital for over two weeks. However, rather than being pleased to be back he appeared to be agitated and confused.

“God, I can’t believe that Kruger’s dead. He’s the only person who could send me back there, now he’s gone, Lisa’s gone – god – this is terrible.”

Mary urged him to tell her about his adventures and he rattled on for two hours often with tears streaming down his face. She felt so sorry for him, and just for something to say to console him, she suggested that he could to France to find her.

“After all it happened about 29 years ago, you are both about the same age now.”

At first the suggestion didn’t seem to register, then his face lit up like a Christmas tree and he leaned forward, kissed Mary smack on the lips and prepared to climb out of bed.

“You’re a genius,” he laughed, “A bloody genius, I’ll go home and pack a bag and leave right…..”

He tried to stand but he was quite wobbly on his legs. Mary helped him back on to the bed.

“Maybe you should leave it for a couple of days,” she said.

Peter nodded in agreement and lay back on his pillow with a big smile on his face. Within a few minutes, he was asleep and Mary tiptoed out of the room.

Back to France

Although she was concerned about whether he was fit enough to travel, a couple of days later she did agree to drive him to the airport. Before his departure, she gave him a Taro Card reading and suggested that he avoid traveling by the Paris Metro and not to accept a lift from a man with a scar on his right cheek. He agreed to follow her advice and after giving her a big hug he passed through the gate on his way to France.

The journey seemed irritatingly long. He spent most of it reading a French phrasebook as he was no longer fluent in the language.
When the plane started to descend into Orly Airport his heart pounded like a jack hammer but twice as fast. He couldn’t wait to get out of his seat as the plane taxied towards the gate and the attendant had to tell him to sit down three times.

Once out of the airport he got a cab and tried to retrace his steps to where the Café Beauvoir once stood only to find a used book store. He then headed for the old apartment building only to discover that it had been torn down and replaced by an office complex.

Checking into a small hotel he flopped on to the bed and lay motionless trying to remember everything he could about places that Lisa mentioned. Boulogne and Alsace come to mind but nothing else.
He hated to think about the possibility of her being married but he has to accept the fact that a beautiful girl like her would probably not remain single. But he wanted to see her anyway, he wanted to know if she’d had a happy life, he certainly wanted that for her because he loved her.

Having assumed she had married and changed he name he did not bother to look in the phone book but then suddenly realized that in the 70’s some women didn’t take on their husband’s name or they changed back to their maiden name when they divorced. He picked up the phone book and looked through the Louvieres. There were two with the initial L. Not feeling confident about his French he was too nervous to phone and decided to write down the addresses and call on them.

The first on the Rue de Rivoli turned out to be a posh apartment building where he struggled to make himself understood to a young child on the intercom. He wasn’t sure if Lisa lived there are not but as he didn’t get access he moved on to a small street running off the Rue de Belleville.

This turned out to be a large run-down house with nobody at home. He returned to his hotel a little despondent and now feeling the effects of jet lag he decided to take a nap. He awoke at 4.30 am and couldn’t get to sleep again. Once more he started thinking about places Lisa had mentioned. He knew he couldn’t search the whole of Alsace but he could go to Boulogne if necessary and see if she had any family there.

At 9 a.m. he went to the public library where he thumbed through the Boulogne telephone directory searching for her name. He found one Louviere and this time decided to phone. Conversing in a mixture of broken French and English, to what appeared to be an old man, he did establish that he had some knowledge of Lisa and the words frizzeur and Paris kept coming up. He assumed that she was a hairdresser somewhere in Paris.

Looking through the yellow pages he found hundreds of hairdressers listed. There were none listed under the name Lisa and he knew that calling on every one of them personally would be impossible.

He had noticed a ladies hairdresser near the hotel and thought it would be worth asking the owner for advice. When he entered the establishment at about 11 a.m. it was doing a roaring trade. Several older ladies with their heads encased in metal domes and bristling with curlers gave him the eye as he walked in. Then a tall slender woman, who seemed to be in charge, came over to him.

She asked if she could help him and it turned out she could speak English quite well. He began to explain that he was from Ireland and looking for an old sweetheart that apparently was a hairdresser in Paris, which she thought was terribly romantic. As he gave her the details she proceeded to translate the conversation into French for her appreciative clientele.

“I’m afraid I do not know a Lisa Louviere Monsieur but I could call our association and see if she is a member”.

Peter thanked her profusely but after a few minutes on the phone, she shook her head sadly. “I’m afraid they have no one listed under that name Monsieur.”

It had looked so promising but with this news, his heart sank into his boots once more. He was beginning to think that he was kidding himself. Finding one woman in a country the size of France was not like finding someone in Dublin. And there was always the possibility that she had moved to some other place in Europe or she might not even have survived the war.

Suddenly one of the old ladies started to bang on her dome and the manager rushed over to see what the matter was. The woman was speaking French at such a speed that he didn‘t catch one word but the manager translated for him.

“She thinks a woman by that name of Lisa used to work for Pepy’s, a hairstylist in Montmartre, apparently she left two years ago to open a book shop or something on the Boulevard St Michel.”

Peter yelling, “merci, merci, merci” dashed out of the shop and caught a cab to the site of the old café. He hadn’t notice before that it till bore the name Beauvoir. Giving the taxi driver the biggest tip he would probably get that day, he climbed out the cab and with his heart pounding like a jackhammer once more he approached the shop.

He opened the door and entered. There was that distinctive smell of old books and soft classical music was playing in the background. He coughed to attract someone’s attention. He had to do it several times before a young woman emerged from amongst the shelves balancing a large pile of books.

“Can I help you to find something Monsieur?”

He answered her half in French and half in English asking if someone called Lisa was connected to the store. She struggled to keep the books from falling over and then answers him in English.

“Lisa is my mother, did you want to speak to her?”

“Was your mother’s name once Lisa Louviere?”

“Still is – I’ll call her down for you if you like.”

Peter just nodded and swallowed hard. The young woman walked over to a staircase and called her mother. “There’s someone down here to see you mama.”

Presently a woman’s legs appeared on the stairs and gradually descended to reveal an older but still very beautiful Lisa.

“Who would like to see me?” she asked.

Peter mouth went dry but he did manage to say, “Do you recognize me Lisa it’s Peter, Peter Byrnes – hm…Léon – don’t you recognize me?”

Lisa sat down abruptly on the stairs. “I can’t believe it she said, “How is it possible?”

Peter walked over, took her hands in his and raised her up. “It’s possible because we now live in the same era.” Lisa throws her arms around him and hugs him tightly.

Her daughter stands there not knowing what to think. When the big hug comes to an end and the tears have been wiped away Lisa casually introduces her daughter Petra and then drops a bombshell.

“Petra this is your father.”

The young woman gasped and dropped the pile of books scattering them all over the floor.

“My daughter?” Peter stammerd.

“Of course it’s your daughter, when we were on our honeymoon in Bassussary did you think you were shooting blanks all the time? And look at that nose and how clumsy she is.”

As Petra scrambled to pick up the books she cast a glance or two at her newfound father. There was a look of complete dismay on her face. Lisa then invited him to follow her upstairs to the living quarters for some coffee, and still speaking English she tells her daughter she’ll explain it all to her later. Peter shrugs and smiles at Petra and follows Lisa upstairs.

Seated across from each other in the tastefully furnished apartment they sipped their coffee and talked about their adventures together. For Peter of course it was just like yesterday, for her it was a lifetime away.

“As soon as I had Petra I couldn’t continue working for the resistance,” she said, “So I studied hairdressing and then after the war, I took English at night school and this lead to me working for places that catered to English and American tourists.

“And you never married”

“Back then men didn’t want a readymade family, at least most men didn’t.”

“So what did you tell Petra?”

“I obviously couldn’t tell her the truth, unlike you I didn’t have a regenerating wad of money to prove my point.”

“I told her she was the result of in-vitro fertilization, I thought it was more believable than immaculate conception.”

“So now you’ve got some explaining to do.”

“You and I are going to have to think up another lie because she’ll never believe the truth.” she laughed.

He reached for her hand and squeezed it gently. “What made you buy this place of all places?”

“I made good money hairdressing but I was looking to do something a little different. One day I just happened to pass the old place and found a new shop had been built and it was for sale.”

“Why books?”

“I’ve always loved books.”

“Me too.”

“So why don’t you come and help me run the store, our daughter is going to get married one day and I shall be left to look after the place on my own.”

Peter cleared his throat and thought for a moment, “Will you marry me Lisa?”

“What – officially?”

“Why not – Petra can be bridesmaid.” he paused, “I do love you – I think you know that.”

“You love a slender young woman from a dream you once had.”

“And you perhaps remember a much younger man with a lot of blond hair. The fact is we have both reached a different stage in our lives – that’s reality.”

Lisa came over and sat beside him, “Perhaps you’re right and I would certainly love to marry you but I do have a couple of conditions.”

“What’s are they?”

“Number one you must never vaporize on me again.”

“Agreed, and what is number two?”

“That we can spend our second honeymoon in Bassussary”

“As long as we don’t have to go on bicycles,” he laughed, and as he put his arms around her and places a kiss upon her lips the familiar strains of Schumann’s Träumerei drifted up from the bookstore downstairs.

THE END

LEGAL NOTES

The characters portrayed in my stories are, for intents and purposes, fictional and any similarity with persons living or dead is purely a product of your imagination.

Copyright 2009 – 2016 Cristiano Caffieri

You may not sell, license, sub-license, rent, transfer or distribute any part of my stories or images in any format, or claim ownership.

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