Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I am in a white room. A white ceiling, white walls, and white floors surround me. There are needles in my arms and a constant beeping lulls me to sleep.

As I sleep, I dream. I dream of my life. I revisit places and people, some that I had forgotten. My dreams come in flashes. I open my mind to them willingly.

~ 1931 ~

My ninth birthday. I am wearing my favorite yellow flowered dress. I sit at our kitchen table, surrounded by my friends and family. My mother sits next to me, holding my hand. My father sits next to her. Across from me sit our neighbor and her two twin daughters, Julia and Rebecca, my best friends. Julia is wearing in a pink dress, her chestnut hair in ringlets around her shoulders, and Rebecca is wearing in a green dress with her hair in a brunette French braid. On the other side sits my grandmother in her light blue blouse with her back to the refrigerator. I look at each of their faces and a feeling of warmth spreads through my body. In front of me sits a beautifully frosted cake covered in colorful, sugary flowers. They are all waiting for me, watching me intently. The flickering candles send shadows dancing across their faces. I close my eyes to make a wish, my feet swinging beneath my chair. I wish every birthday were this good. I open my eyes. The warmth of the candles gives me shivers. I take a breath and blow out all nine of my candles. Everyone bursts into applause and my laughter floats out of my mouth and fills the room. The lights come on; the cake is cut. I take a forkful of cake and put it in my mouth. The sweetness fills my mouth and I smile. The image fades to black.

~ 1937 ~

My mare, Lila, snorts and stomps her feet. I set down her hay and water and walk into her stall. I stroke her hair and breathe in her earthy scent. She smells so alive. She stamps her feet again and looks at me. I laugh because I know what she wants. She wants to ride; to run. I think of getting her saddle, but decide to go bareback. I kiss her nose before climbing onto her back. She trots onto the field that surrounds her barn. We could ride for miles and never hit civilization. We are secluded from the world here. We stand still and take in the sight. The western sky is coated in hues of orange, gold, and yellow. The colored light bounces off the wild flowers in our field, completing the view. We trot in circles, slowly warming up. I wrap my hands in Lila’s golden hair and she knows it is time. She can fly. When she takes off I nearly lose my breath. We are one. I feel her muscles moving under me; I feel her freedom. The wind catches my clothes, threatening to tear them from my body, and my hair flies out behind me. I squint my eyes against the wind and all that is left of our view is the yellow and orange sky. We fly over the land, leaving our cares and worries behind. The way we move, I feel as if we have taken flight. The horizon, forever in the distance, is all I can see, and the wind is all I can hear. No one can catch us. We are free. We continue our quest toward the sunset, feeling the sun’s warmth on our faces. We fly through the air until my vision fades away.


The beeping brings me back to consciousness, although I am unwilling to let go of my wonderful memories. Faces swim before me, looking down at me. The lights are too bright and I close my eyes. Something squeezes my hand. I drift away once more.


~ 1945 ~

My muscles coil, ready to spring. My feet feel the stone beneath me. My body stretches out and my stomach heaves as my feet leave the ground. It is merely a moment before my feet hit the icy water and I plunge into its frigid depths. The water encases me and I am paralyzed for a moment before I regain control of my body. I open my eyes and am amazed by what I see. The sun’s rays streak columns of gold light through the water and light up the rocks at the bottom. The sun’s rays hit my arms and legs turning me into a golden goddess. My feet hit the rocks and I push off, gliding toward the surface. My head breaks the surface and my mouth opens. I inhale a breath of the sweetest air before I lose my grip on the memory.

~ 1947 ~

The doorbell pierces the air in my loft. I walk across the large open space I use to dance and see my reflection in the mirrors that cover the walls. I flatten my disheveled hair and straighten my sweater. I throw sweatpants on over my tights and open the door. Before me is a salesman. He begins to chatter about his wares. I do not listen. I am caught up in the way the light sets his face in high contrasting shadows. His piercing blue eyes. How he leans only on his left leg. His crumpled suit. Most of all, his smile. When he smiles at me, the butterflies in my stomach take off and my heart beats faster. He takes a limping step forward to show me a brochure. I now notice that his right pant leg is looser than his left, that each lock of chestnut hair has a tint of red in it, and how long his eyelashes are. I smile at him and take a step back, opening the door for him. He moves toward the door and my vision fades to black.

~ 1952 ~

I take a step forward. The weight of my dress and the chill from outside catches me off guard, and my step falters. The chords change and it is my turn. I step onto the aisle. The smell of my bouquet drifts up to my nose and I inhale gratefully. The chandeliers turn my white dress into shades of yellow and gold. The music fills the room. The faces turn, including his. My love. The man I am about to marry. My Joseph. Seeing him in his black tuxedo sets the butterflies in my stomach into a fury. Somehow I manage to make it to my mother, who will stand in for my deceased father. She supports me as I concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. At the end of the aisle, her strong eyes wrap around me in a hug. Soon my hand is wrapped in Joseph’s, and we step forward. With his hand in mine, I feel as if I can conquer anything. His step, so fluid, so sure, almost makes me forget about my nerves. His blue eyes find mine and he squeezes my hand. I smile at him and the butterflies take off again. The priest opens his Bible and begins to read. I watch Joseph’s lips move and his eyes blink. I speak my vows in a crystal clear voice that floats across the room to our families, and they sigh. Joseph squeezes my hand, and it is over. I turn to my husband and kiss him for the first time as his wife. Then I toss my bouquet over my head. A peal of laughter enters my ears and I turn to see Rebecca holding my bouquet. I smile at her. The scene fades away.

~ 1953 ~

The afternoon light streams in the windows of our farmhouse. My suitcase lies open on the bed. My clothes, my plane ticket, and my money go. Everything else stays behind. My husband honks the car horn. I zip my suitcase shut and pull the door closed behind. I climb into the car and catch one last glimpse of our home as we pull away, cloaked in yellow light.

Our flight takes off an hour late and the sky is already darkening into shades of deep blues and purples. Soon the roads and developments below fade into the distance and dark. We have detached ourselves from the world. Anything could happen down there and we would be unaware. My husband pulls out a deck of cards and shuffles them. Light shines off them as their red faces flash past me, falling toward his hand. We play cards until we fall asleep, hand in hand.

As we step off the plane I am caught up in the beauty of the Eiffel Tower silhouetted against a pink and purple sunrise. My husband holds my hand and we take in our surroundings. The noises from the streets and stores just opening float over to us and wrap us in their foreign embrace. I marvel at the city’s beauty. Slowly the colors fade away to nothing.


My eyelids flutter open and I am brought back to reality. A lone figure sits beside me, although I cannot see who it is. They take my hand and say my name over and over. Rose, Rose, Rose, Rose, Rose. They continue until I drop off into my dreams.

My dreams come and go faster now, as if in a hurry. For what, I do not know.

~ 1961 ~

My daughter is placed into my arms by the doctor. The light bounces off her cheeks and I hold her close to my heart. I am overwhelmed by a love so immense it is almost too big for my heart to hold. My husband stands over us and strokes our daughter’s head. He whispers her name through her tears. Kate. I smile at him, although my own vision is blurred by tears. They run down my face and into our daughter’s brunette hair. Our daughter, I love the way that sounds. I close my eyes and the memory leaves.

~ 1993 ~

I am in a café. The spring sunlight shines through the window and lights up my gray hair. Across from me sits my daughter, Kate. She looks so alive and healthy, sitting there in the sun. I take her hand in mine across the table and feel her sun kissed skin. It is smooth and warm under my touch. She sips her coffee; I sip my tea. The strawberries and melon on the tables fill me with a sweet scent and for a moment I feel young again. My daughter tells me about her job, her new house, her husband, and her children. I soak in everything I can about this moment. I may not have many more of these. I watch the way her lips move, how the sun reflects off her bright blue eyes, and the shadows her eyelashes cast on her cheekbones when she blinks. She looks at the clock and stands. I slowly rise to my feet, my joints screaming in protest. We wrap our arms around each other, our hearts beating in unison. She pulls her head back and her lips brush my wrinkled cheek in a light kiss. I close my eyes to savor the moment because I never want to forget it. The memory fades away.


The beeping pulls my mind back to my body. I open my eyes and find myself surrounded by the ones I love. My husband, my friend, Julia, and my daughter stand around me. My husband strokes my hair and my daughter holds my hand. One of my husband’s tears falls silently down his cheek and onto my palm. I close my hand around it. The beeping in the background speeds up. My husband’s tears come faster now, and my daughter’s eyes glisten as she squeezes my hand. Julia is also blinking away tears. Then the noise stops. I have but a moment to wonder what that means when the darkness closes in on me and everything fades away one final time.

Story by: DancingPenguins96