Dr. Grace turned the page of the leather-bound journal, carefully reading the next installment of my tale.
Oliver Devereaux was also an immortal being. He was the first person in my over two hundred and fifty years who could understand the things I had experienced. I wish that I could say that Oliver and I stayed together after discovering our supernatural connection. We were together a matter of weeks before Oliver was sucked back into the world of rum running. There was too much money to be made.
I begged him not to go. I had plenty of money. We could live quite comfortably for years. But that was not good enough for Oliver. He kissed me gently. “I’m going to come back for you,” he promised. “Once I make enough money, I’m going to marry you.”
“Olly, please.” I clung to him. “I don’t need money. I just need you.”
“Trust me, sugar. It’ll all be okay.”
Oliver was gone for nearly two years before he stumbled back to me, bruised and bloody. He had defaulted on several loans with some of the most powerful loan sharks in the city. This was his punishment.
After Oliver recovered, we moved to the country, deciding to live as a proper married couple for a while. The Great Depression was incredibly hard on my poor Oliver. He was desperate to prove that he could provide a good life for the two of us. That desperation led us into a life of crime. We ran with Bonnie and Clyde for a few months before dying together in a hailstorm of bullets.
Shortly after we returned to the country, I became pregnant. We were both thrilled and terrified of the thought of bringing a child into the world. Oliver doted on me as any good father would. Our child was going to be spectacular, he would say.
Despite Oliver’s stiff upper lip, I knew that Oliver was afraid. He always said that I was the only person who could truly ever read him. Every night, he would cling to me, mumbling in his sleep that we couldn’t lose this child.
“Olly?” I say softly, carding my fingers through his hair.
“What is it, sugar?” He jolted awake. “You need something?”
“You were talking in your sleep.”
He pulled back, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “What’d I say?”
“You were mumbling something about losing our baby?”
“Don’t worry about it, sug.”
“Please. Tell me.”
Oliver ran his fingers through his air. He had been married once before nearly sixty years earlier. Oliver had taken a job working on a river boat, making frequent trips between Chicago and New Orleans. He had fallen in love with the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. Her name was Claudette. The pair were hopelessly in love and despite her father’s objections, they ran away to be married.
Shortly after their marriage, Claudette had become pregnant. Oliver was thrilled when he learned that Claudette was expecting. Little did he know that his precious wife would fall ill. No matter what Oliver did, Claudette got sicker. In a fit of desperation, he went to Claudette’s father begging for assistance. Claudette’s father agreed to take his daughter back on one condition – that Oliver never saw her again. Reluctantly, Oliver agreed.
Oliver worked long hours on the docks trying to forget his beloved Claudette. One night, there was a knock on his door. It was Martha, Claudette’s long-time maid. Oliver’s beloved Claudette had taken ill. The doctors were afraid that Claudette wouldn’t survive the night.
He raced as quickly as he could to the Monroe family mansion, but he was too late. Claudette had passed away before he could get there to say goodbye.
“I’m so sorry, Oliver.”
“S’okay, sugar. It’ll all be all right.”
Things were not all right. During my sixth month of pregnancy, I became incredibly ill and suffered a miscarriage. We were both heartbroken over the loss of our child.
Oliver left a note on the kitchen table when he left. He promised me that he loved me. He would come back to me. One day.
I was angry at Oliver for leaving me. I loved him fiercely. His disappearance left a hole in my heart. He was the only one who understood the feeling of waking up with a stream of tomorrows before them. We had spent countless nights planning and dreaming about what our futures would hold. All our planning seemed for not.
Dr. Grace set down the journal and adjusted her round glasses. “Did you ever see Oliver again?”
“Yes, during World War 2.”
World War 2 brought an end to the Great Depression. The world was at war again. I was assigned to a nursing unit in the European theatre. The field hospital was cold and drafty. Mud coated our skirts and boots. We worked fourteen-hour shifts every day. There were more wounded soldiers than there was medical staff. But still, we pressed on.
“Have I died?” said a wounded soldier flirtatiously. “Cus you must be an angel.”
I froze, recognizing his Cajun accent. “Olly?”
I turned to the injured soldier lying on the cot. His head and torso were wrapped in thick bandages. He smiled at me flirtatiously. “Hiya Ivy.”
Ivy. It had been years since I had heard Oliver’s nickname for me.
I raced to his side. “Oliver Devereaux. What on earth are you doing here?”
He gestured to the metal dog tags around his neck. “It’s Sergeant Anthony Rogers now.”
I cradled his bruised hand in mine. A thousand and one questions danced through my mind. Why had he left me? Where had he spent the last few years? Had he been injured? I kissed the back of his hand as gently as I could. “Why did you leave me all alone? I needed you.”
Oliver smiled painfully. “I’m so sorry for leavin’. I hate… I hate the thought of hurtin’ you. I just—”
“What?” I mopped the sweat off his brow. “What is it, my darling?”
He squeezed my hand weakly. “You deserved so much better than me, sug. If I had done a better job… of taking care of you, we wouldn’t have lost the baby.” A tear ran down his cheek. “I thought joinin’ up would make you proud of me.”
I kissed his forehead tenderly. “I’ve always been proud of you.”
Tears welled in his eyes. “I sure hope so, Miss Ivy. I sure do love you an awful lot.”
“Are you in pain, Olly?”
He nodded rapidly, trying his best to maintain a brave façade for my benefit. I could feel my heart breaking. I squeezed his hand. “It’s… it’s okay if you gotta go, Olly. I’ll understand.”
“I don’t… I don’t want to leave though.”
“We’ll find our way back to each other. We always do.”
“Death never could keep the two of us apart.”
I smiled. “Not for long. I love you, Oliver Devereaux.”
When I came back on duty the next day, Oliver had died.