Chapter 5:

Somehow this 'oceanic waif' knew his name but Dan surely didn’t know hers unless she was his dead wife after all. Just then he heard her yelling from the bedroom. As he entered he saw that she was crying and looked as if she had just woken up. She said she had had a dream that she had died. He carefully sat down on the edge of the bed and held her head on his lap. "Why don’t I even know my own name?" she asked. "I really don’t know." he said. "I’m beginning to think there are a lot of things neither of us know!" he added.

He ran his fingers through the girl's hair just as he had done so often with his wife. " I like it when you do that." she mumbled. "Do you remember me playing with your hair from before?" he asked. "I’m not sure, I just know I like when you comb your fingers through my hair." she replied. His mind was spinning all over again. If he didn’t do something to put this on sane terms soon he would surely end up in the 'funny farm'.

Dan stayed with the woman long enough to get her to fall asleep again. He reached over and turned the TV down low so as not to wake her by just turning it off. He glanced over his shoulder as he left the room and marveled at the good feeling he had just having her here. He quietly closed the door and moved into the living room and sat down, determined to get to the bottom of this paradox.

He just stared at the TV in the living room and really didn’t pay much attention to what was on. "Will this 'femme fatale' of mine ever remember her name or who she is?" he asked himself. He had seen nothing on the news about a missing person. How could a person just appear without somebody else knowing about it? Should he call the police and just ask them if anyone was missing?

Dan decided to check the internet and see if there was some mention of her on the missing persons web sites. After checking some twenty sites he was convinced that no one else was aware of this woman missing. He was exhausted just thinking about all this. However, he was afraid to go to sleep. What if he woke up and she was gone and he found out it was all a dream after all. He couldn’t even remember what day it was.

Maybe that would explain something. He glanced down at the date on his computer. It was Sunday. Not trusting his computer he went to the remote and checked the date on his TV. Yes, it was Sunday alright. That seemed to make sense since he had gone to the beach on Saturday. He tried not to think about it for awhile as he fed the canaries, his two cats, and the Aussies.

Dan returned to his computer and noticed that the memorial he had done for his wife was still there. Was this proof that he was imagining all this? He could hear the woman move on the bed in the other room. He finally made a decision to make some calls and see if anything was unusual. He dialed the number to the Neptune Society and waited for an answer.
"Neptune Society, can I help you." a voice said. "Yes. This is Mr. Sanborn returning your call about my wife’s death certificate." he replied. "Just a minute." the lady said. "What was your name again?" she asked. "This is Mr. Sanborn inquiring about the corrected death certificate for Ronnie Sanborn." he answered. "Hold on." she replied. "I don’t show any record for a Ronnie Sanborn." she stated. A new wave of cold chills swept over him as he continued. "But you had just called and told me the corrected certificate would be mailed out to me." he reminded her. "I don’t know who told you that but it didn’t come from us." she insisted. "Are you absolutely sure. Please double check." he requested. He could hear the gal talk to someone else there in the office. "Barb, are you sure we don’t have a record for a Mrs. Ronnie Sanborn?" "I’m positive!" the other lady named Barb answered. "I’m sorry, Mr. Sanborn, but we don’t have anything on a Ronnie Sanborn." she repeated. "OK. Thanks anyway." he finished. He very slowly hung up the phone and with his head throbbing he immediately sat down.
Dan instantly jumped up again and walked over to the end table. There were the copies of the Aussie Times where he had placed his wife's memorial picture and poem. Very cautiously he picked up one of the copies and opened it to the page where her picture should be. There it was, right there where he had placed it. What was happening to him? Just when he thought he was in reality here were two things that were not in agreement. The Neptune Society showed no record even though they had just called earlier. And yet the Aussie Times still had her memorial ad in it. Should he call his parents?

He walked over to the bedroom door and peeked in at his 'lorelei'. There she was, still sleeping quite soundly, just as normal as you please. As he focused on the urn still sitting in defiance over the fireplace, he picked up the phone and punched in the number to his parents.
"Hi there, are you alright?" his mother wondered. "I guess so." he answered. "I was just curious why you told me to hang in there." he reminded her. "Well, you know, it’s not easy going through what your going through." she replied. He didn’t know if he should press her harder, but he had to be sure. "What do you mean by what I’m going through?" he added. "Well, son, I mean with you being all alone now and everything." she went on. She still had not come right out and said it. Maybe she was worried it would upset him further. He wasn’t sure how to word his next reply. "I’m not all alone, I still have my animals." he told her. "I know. But it’s not the same without her." she continued. Surely she meant Ronnie, didn’t she? This was ridiculous, he just had to make sure. "You mean without Ronnie, right?" he finished. "Well, sure. She was almost your whole life. I can’t really know how it is but it must be just horrible." she answered.

There, his mom had confirmed Ronnie's death again and he was still perplexed by the phone call he had had with the Neptune Society. "I just had a strange talk with the Neptune people. Now they don’t show any record of her cremation." he told her. "What! How can that be?" his mom wondered. "They must have made a mistake. You better call them back and talk with the top dog." she suggested. "Yeah. Maybe so." he agreed. " I better let you go, and see if I can get to the bottom of this." he ended."OK, bye son. Later." she empathized. With that he hung up the phone. He hadn’t told her that the owner had already checked and informed him there was nothing on file.
Was this just another conundrum. Dan began looking for the box with the memorial service programs. Now where was that box? It should be right there next to the Aussie Times, but it wasn’t. Next he searched for the bags which contained the pictures he had used at the memorial. He could not find them either. But, the best picture of Ronnie was still right there on the wall where he had hung it just after the memorial.

Starting to panic again, Dan went back to the computer once again and checked the web site to see if her memorial was still there. It was. He relaxed a little. Part of the proof Ronnie had died existed, but part of it did not. This was just how a dream would play out he reminded himself. He pondered what else he could check. He still couldn’t bring himself to check the contents of the Neptune vessel. Just the fact that it was still there was enough to make him shudder. Who else should he call? And, would that solve anything? This was maddening. Was he destined to be continually trying to verify either her death or her existence? What about Stanford? Maybe he should call Dr. Phillips and assure himself that she had indeed passed away. He flopped down on the couch and dialed the number for Dr. Phillips office.
Hello, this is Sandra. We’re not available right now. If this is an emergency, please call 911. Otherwise, leave a message and we will call you back.
What was he doing? He certainly wasn’t thinking straight. Of course he would get the answering machine, it was Sunday. He would have to call back on Monday. "Urrgh!" he exclaimed out loud. With the way things were going Dan had to keep checking to make sure the woman who could be his dead wife was still sleeping soundly in the bedroom. Now that was a profound thought. He said it again to himself out loud. "The sleeping woman who was his dead wife!" He shook his head from side to side violently, actually hurting his neck. He cringed in slight pain and sat down on the couch once again. The phone rang again. He waited in a stupor for the answering machine to record the message.
Hello, Bonnydoon. This is Kathy McDaniel. Are you guys going to the National? If not, we were wondering if you could take care of our dogs while were gone. If you don’t want to that’s OK. We’ll pay you. Call us back and let us know if you can. Thanks.
Here we go again Dan thought. Another inconsistency. Now even Ronnie's former best friend had acted like his wife was still alive in that message. Oh, how he wished things would make sense. If this was a dream, how could he want it to end if it meant losing her again? Was this 'wayward soul' his wife? She had to be, there was no other logical explanation. Oh boy, what was he saying? Logical. Right now nothing was logical.

Maybe he should just sit back and enjoy this for as long as it lasted. Good grief, was he ever afraid to go to sleep. But he was extremely drained both mentally and physically. And there was that blasted headache again. Dan leaned back on the couch and ever so slowly closed his eyes ... and fell asleep.