“Mommy, I can’t sleep”. She said sheepishly. Her mother who had not yet fallen asleep responded with, “Yes you can honey! Now go back to your room and give it another try”! The little girl stood in the doorway for several seconds before slowly closing the door as she headed down the darkened hallway back into her room. Her eyes began to adjust to the blackness at first seeing a shadowy figure in her bed until she was able to focus on the covers which looked like a lying body across her mattress. She didn’t want to approach the bed so instead she ran into her plush chair in the opposite corner of the room and held her favorite pillow-bear for dear life.
She clenched her eye lids and tried to imagine that she was in a different place. She was hearing strange noises now and was afraid to open her eyes for even a brief second. She first felt a slight breeze. It had the smell of mountain air, a scent that she remembered from her trip to the Rocky Mountains last summer. Then she felt some kind of mist spraying on her face and uncovered arms. She couldn’t hold back any longer, she had to know what was happening. As she opened one of her eyes she saw a brilliant light reflecting off a huge body of water. Opening her other eye, she tried to focus but the glare through the mist made it very hard to.
Suddenly she heard a crashing sound that caused her to jump up onto her feet while remaining in the chair. The mist was so intense that she could not make out its origin. Suddenly she noticed that the body of water was beginning to rise up the legs of her chair as she began to scream for her mother. She clinged to her pillow waiting for her mothers’ arrival but it wasn’t to be. She began screaming louder and longer as the water reached the edge of her seat. “Where was the water coming from”?, she yelled but with no one there to respond to her cries. She thought that she may have cried wolf one too many times and that her mother was trying to teach her a lesson without realizing that this time her concerns were very real.
She could feel the water as it had moved above her ankles and she could see her feet sparkling in her beaming sunlight filled room. “This has to be a dream”, she thought moving her toes and feeling the water splashing up against her calves. “Mommy, mommy, mommy, Mahhhhm”!, she yelled with every ounce of volume that she could muster. Still there was no sign of her coming to the rescue. She climbed up the back of the chair to the very top releasing herself from the grip of the rising water. From that added height she could see the top of a Waterfall in the distance. That was the cause of the mist but what was making the water rise? It was as if high tide had moved in more rapidly than it normally should.
She wanted to jump in and make her escape toward the door which she could no longer see, so she set her sights on her bedroom window and she took the plunge. In the beginning she felt a heavy weight that was trying to hold her down under the surface, finally realizing that her pillow-bear had fallen on top of her. Removing him she was able to surface and began swimming in the direction of the window, which she could clearly see was no more than eight to ten feet away. When she arrived there was no sign of her neighborhood but instead there was only the endless view of water as far as she could see. The window was not of her bedroom but it belonged to a ship, which was beginning to rock on top of the rather large waves. She opened the window and stuck her head out and for the first time could see clearly the waterfall that had caught her eye a few minutes prior. The rainbow mist was just like she remembered traveling to see Niagara Falls a couple of summers ago. “Where are we?”, she had asked Bernie, her pillow-bear but he was nowhere to be found. Panicking at the thought she may very well be on her own for the first time in her long ten years on this planet, she got very scared.
She began to feel nauseous from that very thought as well as the rocking motion which made her feel queasier. Suddenly she saw an object below her window deep in the water. It was very large and it moved like a snake. She moved her upper half further out and lowered herself as she balanced herself on the windowsill trying to get a better look at the figure floating beneath her. Slithering toward the boat she shifted her weight back to the middle of her body just in case she needed to climb back inside in a moments’ notice. The “Snake” moved under the boat out of her view. She cautiously moved out again and tried to see better beneath the boat.
Suddenly the boat shook from a large jolt from below sending her little body out the window and down toward the water. The creature was waiting for her with its mouth wide open. Gravity was not her friend as she plunged into the “Snakes” mouth and began to descend deeper and then much faster almost like a chute at a Waterpark. The ride was both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. What little bit of control she used to have over her stomach was now lost. She vomited all over herself, the water helped to rinse her clothes off. She kept on falling until she reached the bottom but instead of stopping she kept right on going. Climbing up the tube, never slowing down she started to feel more comfortable and even began to enjoy the ride.
It felt like she was accelerating rather than decelerating. Soon the tube began to ever so slightly begin to narrow and the light inside began to fade when she realized that she would need to stop this ride because a closed end was quickly approaching. She tried to put on the brakes but she was traveling too fast so instead she closed her eyes and prepared for an inevitable collision. Even through her shut eye lids she realized that the light had come back on and as she reopened her beautiful blue eyes to see a wide opening where there had just recently appeared to be no escape. Her glee turned to fear when the tube still ended and she went flying out and over Waterfall. She thought that she had magically begun to fly before her fall broke her of that sensation. She began to freefall heading down toward a body of water beyond the waterfall.
Landing hard enough to knock the wind right out of her, she began to struggle to catch her breath from under the water. She didn’t think that she could get to the surface fast enough and once again panic had set in. She felt the scales on the back of the enormous “Snake” as it lifted her above the water and laid her down to the surface of a small patch of grass on the edge of a lush and dense forest. Beginning to hyper-ventilate and desperately over breathing she began to lose consciousness and fell into a very deep slumber.
The small child awoke from her coma state to find that she had been laid to rest in a bed of green silky leaves. She had a hard time focusing through the foliage but she could hear the waterfall in the distance. Trying to get to her feet she lost her balance and fell back into the bed of leaves. Wondering how long she had been lying there she realized that this dream wasn’t looking like it was going to end anytime soon. She became very homesick and started to cry and she murmured “Mommy”. She laid there for several minutes until she had calmed down and then began to try and raise herself up once again. Successful she looked around and saw some of the tallest trees that she had ever seen in her young life. As she looked down toward her bed she realized that the size of some of those leaves were as big as she was. “Where is this place”?, she finally spoke out loud.
With her unfamiliar noise there was a strange group of sounds coming from inside and out of the forest that began to seemingly sing in an unusual kind of melody. It really calmed her down as it had a hypnotic effect. She was drawn to it but wasn’t sure which way to go since it sounded like it was coming from everywhere. It began to subside causing her to want to move in some direction. She thought perhaps she might go out into the clearing to get a better view of things. As she moved so did the sound of something or someone else and when she stopped so too did the unidentified object. “Who goes there”? The unique hypnotic noises began again. The sound subsided again, so she returned to her walk and again the sounds of something else on the move started, only this time she kept right on moving.
She reached the clearing and as she stepped out into the light, the others movement stopped in its tracks. She hesitated for a moment but then continued on toward the waterfall. She heard nothing but the sound of water hitting the rocks below except she couldn’t actually see the rocks. As she investigated even further she noticed that this was not the way a waterfall normally looked. It wasn’t the front but it appeared to be the back of a waterfall instead. It was real clear as if she was peering through a looking glass. She crept forward glancing in every direction as she deliberately proceeded toward the spring. Finally reaching the edge, she looked down and was surprised to see no more than a few inches of water as far as she could see. It looked like the toddler pool in her community with practically no depth right up to the back of the waterfall.
She removed her now dry shoes as well as her socks and dipped a toe into the water. It was the perfect temperature. She placed her left foot in as the water came up only to the top of her ankle. Placing her other foot in she began to walk in the waterfalls direction. There was no mist on beyond the waterfall only the cool breeze that it produced naturally. She felt much more comfortable, moving forward occasionally placing her hand into the water and splashing it up into the air. She felt the water as it was pushing into her from the movement of the waterfall. Peering through the looking glass, she could make out a singular tiny object. It looked like a small house in the distance. It appeared to be more of a doll house rather than a large regular home. There also appeared to be a person in front but they did not look like they were giant next to that structure but instead was proportionately equal in size to the dwelling.
A vehicle pulled up to the home flashing its’ lights. “It was a police car”, she said out loud. Soon there were a second and then a third squad car parked in front of the home. What could possibly be happening for that family?, she thought to herself. The entire property was completely surrounded by water causing the young girl to wonder how these vehicles had been able make it to their house. She became very melancholy as she began to think about her mom. She wanted to walk through to the other side but she knew that the depth of the water was much deeper than it was on the backside. She kept an eye on the traffic in front of that house when she could see that there was something being removed from the property. It looked like a gurney with a body on top. The woman in the view was visibly upset as she went inside of the ambulance as the little girl watched the emergency vehicle pull out of the drive and race away. It disappeared from sight much like a mirage in the desert would evaporate into thin air.
She turned around and looked back to the shoreline and realized that the noises coming from the forest was but a light murmur in the distance. It was literally being drowned out by the sounds of the waterfall which was more like a running fan rather than that of water hitting the rocks. She started back toward the land while occasionally looking back toward that lone house in the distance. One by one the other vehicle’s left the location and disappeared from her sight. Reaching the end of the water, she stepped up and sat down and waited for her feet to dry before replacing her socks and shoes. No longer hearing any noises from the woods she once again felt very sad.
She could not see anything in the distance through the waterfall. A dark image began to move in the shallow water. It looked quite large but that had to be an illusion she thought because nothing that size could swim under the surface. It was moving closer toward the shore. The young girl began backing up when she bumped into something from behind. “What are you looking at child?”, said the voice with a smooth and soft voice, almost like a purr. The little girl didn’t want to remove her eyes from the object in the pond. “You have nothing to fear”, the voice continued. The object in the water began to circle moving away from the edge and then returning but never getting too close. It was almost like it was trying to show the youngster that it meant no harm.
Suddenly she felt a slow soft fur rubbing against her back as she turned to see what the stranger behind her looked like. It was a cat, a very large cat. It was slightly taller than she was on four paws and it reminded her of the cat from her most favorite book, Alice in Wonderland. “Hello”, the cat said but the little girl was unable to answer at first. “What’s the matter, Cat got your tongue?” The little girl swung around because that voice came from the water and it sounded like a sultry, devilish voice. It was the same snake that had swallowed and landed her in this place. She wasn’t sure where to go because she was surrounded by giant creatures. “Leave her alone”!, came yet another voice from the woods. Whatever it was it must be very big because it was making a thunderous boom with every step it took. She could make out the top of its large black haired head above the tree line.
With each step toward her she began to bounce just a little from the vibrations that this new creature would make. It was evident that the snake and the cat were a bit intimidated by whatever this object might be. Finally she could make out the animal in question. It was a giant gorilla and it was the splitting image of her favorite stuffed animal. She stood taller than the tallest tree in the forest yet she seemed as gentle as a lamb. The little girl felt very comfortable in its’ presence. “Good morning”, she said with a very calming female like voice. The little girl swallowed very hard before replying, “Good day”. “Is that an Australian accent you have honey”? She nodded but did not respond verbally, still feeling shy around her new companions. The cat had an interesting grin as did the snake but the gorilla reached her hand down to the ground, palm up but the little girl backed away at first. “It’s alright darling. You don’t have to do anything here that makes you feel uncomfortable”.
“What’s your name”?, asked the snake who had now placed his head up on the shore causing the little girl to stumble forward toward the cat who moved a little closer herself. The young girl fell to the ground and rolled up into a ball. “Ladies, Ladies! Stop scaring her”! “We’re not trying to scare her Georgia”,!, snapped the snake. “It doesn’t matter if you are trying or not, the fact is you are, so be more cautious Sam Sam when you approach the child. You too Carmen”! “Alright. We’re sorry”, replied Carmen the cat. “Yes, we are very sorry little one”. Everyone stayed silent for several minutes while the girl stayed in the fetal position. She peeked up and noticed that both Georgia and Carmen had backed away. Lifting her head and turning she could see that Sam had returned to the water a few yards from the shoreline. She raised herself up and stared at everyone for a couple more minutes before clearing her throat to say, “My name is Laurie”. “Laurie, what a pretty name “said Carmen . “Yes it is a very pretty name” replied Sam. “Well it is a pleasure to meet you Laurie”, Georgia chimed in. The little girl felt much more at ease as her smile returned to her face.
“How did you get here”?, Carmen asked. Laurie pointed in the direction of the waterfall. “You came from the other side of the falling river?” Georgia said using their terminology. “How”?, Carmen asked. Again Laurie pointed into the direction of the waterfall. “Yes we know you had come from the other side but I was asking how”? “She’s telling us Carmen”. “She is”? “Yes. She’s not pointing to the falling river she is pointing toward…” just then Sai decided to dive under the water and headed out toward the Sea. “Did Sam bring you hear Laurie”? The young girl nodded. “Sam Sam!” Georgia’s loud roar could be heard throughout the forest and Laurie suspected that it was also reverberating below the water. Sam’s head popped up in a rather playful way splashing water all over Laurie and Carmen. “How many times have I told you not to bring home strays from the outside, Sam”? Sam Sam’s playful grin turned into a sad like frown.
Laurie felt sorry for Sam Sam so she said that it was alright. Carmen told Sam that it was not alright. “You can’t continue to bring back every lovely object that you find outside”! “I’m sorry”, Sam said. “That’s right Sam Sam, Laurie has a home that she already belongs to”. Georgia implored causing Laurie to become sad once again. “We’re all very sorry Laurie”. Georgia placing her palm around the child but never touching her, “Would you like to go home, child”. Laurie lifted her sad face and nodded yes but she said that she hoped to return to this place someday. This gave great joy to all three as Carmen responded, “You are always welcome here anytime that you choose”. Laurie seemed very happy before she realized how was she going to get back?
Sam Sam sensing this opened his mouth wide causing much amusement by the other two as Laurie realized what she would have to do and wasn’t sure she wanted to return to the same rabbit hole. “Everything will be alright Laurie”, Carmen purred but the little girl needed to hear it from Georgia as well. Georgia just nodded in agreement and she turned toward Sam who was awaiting the little girl’s plunge. Taking a very deep breath she looked back at the Georgia and Carmen who were waving as she turned back, closing her eyes as she jumped into the water. Before she could hear a splash she was already descending down Sam Sam’s very long tunnel. It seemed wider this time as what very little light there was dwindled to a very black kind of darkness causing her to shut her eyes tightly hoping that the end would come very soon. Soon she could feel the sides of Sami’s scales begin to rub against her body as the width of the tunnel felt like it was closing in on her. Suddenly she came to a complete stop as she felt wedged inside of what may have been Sam’s tail. Laurie began to struggle but it only felt like things were getting tighter. She tried to twist her way back up the spine but she was clearly stuck like a trap. She cried out for some help.
“Help!, help”!, she yelled when a voice responded. “Hold on Laurie, you’re wrapped up in your covers”. The familiar voice had reached her and began to unwind the small child from the vice like grip that she had caused with her bedspread. “It’s alright honey, mommas got ya”. She said as she released Laurie from her bondage and replaced the covers with a tight hold of her only daughter. Laurie started to cry gently as her mom continued to reassure that everything was fine. “How did you get all tangled in your blankies? We’re you having a bad dream”? Laurie said nothing but just kept on clinging to her mother. I’m sorry honey, I know how much you hate the thunder. I should have let you sleep with me last night”. “It’s alright mommy. I forgive you”.
Over the next few nights things had pretty much went back to normal. The nights were clear and calm and Laurie was able to get to sleep without much effort. The forecast called for several days of severe storms some of which may occur at night. Laurie’s mother had already told Laurie that she could stay in her room on this very evening. Things were docile when they went to bed that is until 11:30 when the loud crack of thunder had awoken them both from their slumber. It was as if their roles had been reversed because it was Laurie who was trying to comfort her mother during the storm. Actually her mother wanted her to feel more in control so she was enjoying her sweet daughter’s new found confidence. That is until the sound of lightening striking not too far in the distance shook them both up a little. “Are you alright mommy”?, Laurie said clinging to her for dear life. “Yes, Sweetie”. Laurie’s mother, Olivia grabbed another blanket from a nearby chair and covered the two of them hoping that it felt like another layer of protection. It worked because soon Laurie had dosed off into a deep slumber.
Olivia watched as Laurie was beginning to move in a kind of a slither much like a snake might express itself. She eventually stopped and became very still. Olivia laid in bed thinking about the past six months. She and her husband had separated which left Laurie feeling rather blue much of the time. She had become clingy but while she didn’t express her feelings about her missing father, she seemed more concerned about her mother perhaps leaving her as well. Laying there she began to think about her future. What if they couldn’t reconcile? What if he wants joint custody? Will she be able to meet someone else or will it take quite a while before Laurie is ready for a new person in their lives? It took a while but eventually Olivia did fall asleep.
Olivia woke up after 8:00, which is later than she usually rises. “I guess I must have needed the sleep”, she said out loud to no one really because she was alone in her room. “Laurie, honey”? she calmly yelled to a silent response. Sighing she lifted her covers to find Laurie’s blankie that she often held onto with superstition. “Laurie”, she yelled out toward the hallway, still with no answer. She got herself up and walked into her daughter’s room where she found her bed nicely made. She stood in the doorway looking around Laurie’s room when she suddenly had the realization that her lovely daughter would not be answering her anymore. She turned and her hand found a chair that was placed just outside of her room, grabbing it for support, she lowered herself down. “Thump” was the sound of her bottom hitting the chair as she went limp from the emotion that had overcome her at that very moment. Olivia sat there for several minutes clutching the blankie. She regained her strength and rose out of the chair and headed into the bathroom and shut the door.
The next few nights went by uneventfully. Olivia had her dinner alone around 7:30, then she watched a little TV, mostly for a distraction before heading up stairs for the night. She would usually try to read a little before dosing off for a semi good slumber. Most nights she usually dreamed about her daughter, which was both therapeutic and distressing. Nothing to unusual, just everyday mundane conversations and activities without much else to pass away the time between dreams. Olivia enjoyed their talks because they generally involved topics that wouldn’t have been discussed for several more years. She usually would wake up feeling depressed because the night had ended. One such conversation went Like this. “Mommy”? “Yes darling”. “What happens to you after you die”? Olivia just stared up into space before looking at her very sincere little girl. After a long pause, she said with a lump in her throat, “I really don’t know honey.” Without missing a beat, Laurie responded with “I know”! “You do”? “Yes of course, I actually had a dream about it a while back”. “What kind of dream was it, sweetheart”?
Laurie grabbed her mother’s hand and walked her over to the kitchen table and they both sat down. “It was an amazing dream momma”., she said with a gleam in her eye. “I traveled by boat then by snake under a waterfall and beyond to a place where everything was larger than normal”. “What do you mean by everything, Laurie”? “I mean the plants, stones, animals, everything except me”. “Is it scary”? Laurie looked at her mother as if she was transparent before answering with, “At first it was very scary, especially when I had travel inside of the snake to make it there”. “You had to go inside of the snake”? “Yes and it was very dark and tight”. Olivia knew that Laurie was always a bit claustrophobic and that she must have been terrified. “It didn’t take long before I knew that I was finally in a safe place”. Laurie said to a concerned looking parent. “Were there any people at this place”? “None that I could find but that was alright because the animals were able to communicate with me just like people could”. “The animals could speak”?, said an amused mother. “Yes and they were very friendly, especially, Georgia”.
Olivia was surprised to hear that name. “Georgia? Who is Georgia”? “She is a Gorilla and by the way the other animals respond to her, she must be the leader of the group”. “That sounds about right”, Olivia said under her breath. “Do you know the names of the other animals”? “Almost. There is Carmen the cat”, “Carmen you said”?, Laurie’s mother chimed in. “Yes, Carmen and then there is Sami Samthe Snake”. Olivia was stuck for any words for a moment. “Is that all”? “Yes, I mean no! There was another animal that laid low deep in the forest but he did not make himself present while I was there”. What kind of animal was he”? “He was a bit of a cowardly Lion”., Laurie said with a somber tone to that statement. “Perhaps, he does not like little girls”?, Olivia said with a slight smile. “No, I think he was afraid to be there at that moment”. “Why would you say that, honey”? “I think because he may have had something to do with my being there”. “I thought you said that the snake was responsible for your arrival to this place”? “He was”. “Then what do you mean”? “I’m not sure but I had the strangest feeling when we felt his presence. The other animals were happy to see me but it was if they weren’t expecting me for a while”?
The alarm was going off and Olivia awoke from the dream and soon after turning the clock alarm off she reached inside her end table to grab some paper and a pen and began writing down everything that she could remember from her dream. She wanted to have it all on paper so that she could share it with a therapist that she was going to see later that day.
She arrived at the therapists’ office approximately fifteen minutes before her appointment. The receptionist informed her that the doctor was running about ten minutes behind so it could be more like a half an hour before she could see her. She sat anxiously waiting. The doctor walked out of her office with another patient, she stood at least five inches taller than herself with long brunette hair that hung down to her waist. Something about her made Olivia feel very uneasy today. She walked over and held her hand out waiting for some kind of response from Olivia who hesitated for only a moment before responding with the same gesture. Hello Dr. Stringer. “I’ve told you, call me Missy”., she asked Olivia. Olivia was a little short on words to start this session. She had wanted to have last night’s dream explained but the Doctor wanted a chronology of events leading up to this visit. She was hesitant on a lot of the facts but began to calm down and explain the night that had changed her life forever. The doctor had cut her short to inform her that there fifty minutes had finished and that they would have to revisit that night next week. Olivia was extremely disappointed but understood that she had other patients waiting. “I’ll see you next week, was the last she heard before leaving her office.
Olivia did not have any dreams about her daughter during the next week, making her feel even more depressed than she normally did. When she arrived at the Doctor’s office for her next appointment, she came with her journal. “What do you have there Ms. Sumner”?, she asked. This is everything that I have written since Laurie’s ….”, she couldn’t even say the words. “May I”? extending her hand toward Olivia as she unconsciously handed the book over to Missy. Olivia thought she might open it and start looking through it a little before they began their session but instead Missy placed it on the coffee table and asked Olivia to begin where they had left off last week. A little stunned, she began to explain about that night six months ago.
It was during a fairly severe thunderstorm when she got out of bed to check on Laurie, who would normally come to her during such a significant storm. “This was her normal routine for such an event”?, Missy calmly asked. “Yes, in fact she had already asked if she could sleep with me before the storm had gotten really intense”. The doctor reached for her writing pad and began to scribble notes as Olivia continued. Choking up for a moment she said, “When I reached her bedroom door it was already open and I could see the empty bed from the doorway”. “Were you concerned at this point”? “A little but I thought she may have gone downstairs into the family room and got under her favorite faux bear skin covers”. But she wasn’t there”? Olivia just shook her head. “When did you first realize that she was missing from your home”? “I called out her name several times and then I went outside to look in my car in the drive before returning to search her entire room when I came across some empty hangers as well as another favorite blanket. I was pretty sure I knew who would have taken her at that time”. “Your ex-husband”? “My estranged late husband”., she said with no remorse in her voice. “Had he ever made any threats to you that would suggest he could have taken her in the past”? “None, in fact he wasn’t even there for her for some of his scheduled times”. Missy laid her pen down and grabbed a box of tissues to give to Olivia who was visibly shaken.
“Why did you wait as long as you did to tell me this”? “I first wanted to get past the anger that I had. This wouldn’t have been very constructive until I tried to forgive everyone”. “And by everyone, you mean…”? “I mean my late husband, myself and I supposed Laurie as well”. “Why Laurie”? “This may sound cliché, but for leaving me”! “And why would you need to forgive yourself, Olivia”? “Again with the cliché, because I should have let her stay in my room that evening and perhaps they both would still be here with me”! Wiping away the tears she stared toward the floor unable to lift her head for fear of having her tear ducts open wide. Dr. Springer returned to her pad. “Tell me about when you heard the news later that day from the State Patrol”. “It was mid-morning and the local police were already there taking my statement and looking for clues. They had already put out an APB for my husband’s vehicle. There was a knock on the door and as soon as I saw the officer standing there I knew that the news would not be very good”., she broke down into an almost uncontrollable sob.
“Let’s stop there for right now and we will pick it up in the next hour. “Would you like some tea”? “The next hour”? “Yes, I left open my entire morning just in case we needed the time to explain the events from that night and day”. Olivia looked almost relived and answered , “Yes, I would very much like some tea please”. As Missy waited for her kettle to boil she watched Olivia who was staring off toward the window, intensely thinking about something. Was it that night or perhaps something else? When Missy returned to give Olivia her tea, she appeared a little startled. “Sorry”., she said as she grabbed the cup and saucer. “Nothing to be sorry about. If I may ask, what were you thinking about”? “About a dream that I had a week ago”. “About your daughter? “Do you have many dreams about her”? “I was having them almost every night until about a week ago”. “What changed”? “I’m not really sure”.
Dr. Springer asked, “Would you like to continue”. Olivia took a long sip before setting her cup down on the saucer next to the couch. “The man at the door could only say that my late husband didn’t feel anything but he wasn’t as confident that Laurie wasn’t still conscious when the car hit the water. “I hate not knowing that she didn’t suffer as the water submerged his vehicle and soon thereafter the inside of the car as well. Before they could reach her…. they found her limp body still tightly wrapped inside of her blanket! Perhaps that is a sign that she was….”, reaching for another tissue and then her cup, she took a few moments to compose herself. “I’m sorry to interrupt but I forgot to ask if you take anything with your tea”? “If you have some honey, that would be great”, Olivia said in a soft tone. “Of course”. Missy went to get the jar and returned to give it to Olivia who thanked her. Before she poured some of it into her cup she said that her daughter would always ask for a little taste of honey in many of her favorite foods. “She would even pour it over her spaghetti”., she laughed a little.
“Perhaps this would be a nice place to stop for this session”? Olivia nodded with approval, thankful that her sorrow had subsided even for just a moment. She looked at her barely touched cup of tea when Missy said, “You don’t have to leave now. You can sit her for as long as you like and finish your drink”. Olivia smiled and went back to sipping. “What do you do during the day? Are you working right now”?, Missy inquired. “No, I haven’t had to work since Laurie was born but I should probably find something to do even if it is volunteering for some cause”. “Do you have any family or friends that you spend any time with”? “I was an only child and my only remaining relative, my mother passed away a little over a year ago”. “I’m sorry to hear that. Was she sick”? “No, just old. She had me when she was in her mid fourties. She lived to be eighty-three”. “And your father”? “We haven’t talked too much since her passing. They both lived twelve-hundred miles away. He’s pretty fragile himself and couldn’t make it to Laurie’s memorial”. “How about Laurie, did she have a lot of friends”? “Oh God yes, she was very popular with the kids at school. They let her class have the day off so that they could attend the service”. Grabbing another tissue she took another long sip. It was amazing to see so many families there and to show such kindness was a bit overwhelming for me”. Olivia took one more long sip and placed the cup back on the saucer before standing up, announcing that she had taken up enough of Missy’s time and should set out to run some errands before the afternoon snow began.
A couple of days later on a Saturday, Olivia laid in bed wide awake at her usual time wondering why her dreams had suddenly stopped. “Where did you go off to honey”?, was all that she could say. It was getting harder and harder to get up each morning. Falling back to sleep, she was awaken by another noise coming from outside of her closed window. “That damn cat”! She went toward the window where a very bright glare was shimmering through, blinding her at first. When she reached it, she couldn’t believe her eyes. There was no sign of any land, only water far beyond the horizon. She seemed very happy because she knew that she was dreaming again and that she would soon be reunited with her daughter. She was afraid to leave the window for fear that she may awaken so she stood there waiting for a sign. Looking into the distance she could begin to see an object forming and with it came an unfamiliar noise. It was getting closer or was she herself approaching the object. Feeling slightly queasy she felt her house moving as if it were floating on the waters surface.
She gasped when she realized it was a waterfall just like the one described by Laurie in a previous dream. She was excited with the anticipation that she may soon be able to be with her. The closer she got the more transparent it had become. Soon she could seem images through the falling water. They weren’t as big as Laurie had described and it appeared to be other people from her distant view with no signs of any animals. “What was this place and how could I get to the other side”., she had thought to herself. Suddenly it felt like she was moving away from the waterfall as the images became harder to see. “No, please don’t leave”!, she screamed. “I have to see my daughter”! There was no longer any sign of activity beyond the waterfall and the noise had begun to silence itself.
Olivia was not going to let this moment pass without making an effort to find Laurie. She opened the window and looked at the water which could have been more than two stories below her. She climbed on top the edge and closed her eyes, jumping into the air. Before she landed into the water she had awaken from her dream. She was devastated to be back in her bed under her covers. “Why! Why did you bring me back”!, yelling for anyone to hear if they had been outside but not on this cold wintery day. She finally found it to be more depressing to stay in bed so she got herself up and went downstairs to make herself a pot of coffee. What made this day even more unbearable was that this weekend would have been Laurie’s eleventh birthday and Olivia didn’t know what to do with herself. It was just too painful to bear. Could she muster the strength to go out and buy items that would make it feel as if a party was going to take place tomorrow? She knew that her depression was harmful but wasn’t really sure if sticking her head in the sand was a much better option. She knew that something had to be done but needed some help so she got her cell phone and began searching for Dr. Stringer’s number. She reached her service who took a message that she was struggling because it was her daughter’s birthday and needed some guidance.
The phone rang about a half an hour later and Missy was on the other end. “Hello Olivia”. After a long pause, she asked, “Are you there”? “Yes Missy, I am here but I don’t know what to say”. “I understand that it’s your daughter’s birthday”. “Yes”., she said between tears. “It’s understandable that you would be having a hard time with your emotions. Would you like to come into my office”? Olivia thought about it for a moment and was about to reply yes, when she stopped herself only to ask, “Do you believe that dreams are a window to the future”? “I’m not really sure. It usually has more to do with our past and not the future at least that has been my experience with my own dreams”. “Do you believe in Heaven”? “Personally, I do not and it isn’t because I feel entitled because I have a doctorate and that I am supposed to be too smart for such thought, no it is only because I was not raised with a religious background that defined my beliefs”. “So your parents were the elitist? I’m sorry that was not fair”. “It is quite alright if you want to lash out because of your own lack of faith. I really do understand”. Have you ever lost a child”? No, but I can still empathize with you. I have had many patients who have lost a member of their family or perhaps a friend that meant a great deal to them. Believe me, you are not alone. In fact I do have a support group that you may be interested in when the time is right”. Olivia didn’t initially respond.
“I’m sorry to have bothered you on your day off”! “It’s no bother. That’s what I am here for. You can always call me whenever you’re in distress. Are you still with me”? “Yes I’m here”. “Perhaps I should come and see you”? “I’m alright Missy. Please go on with your plans. I’ll be fine”. Dr. Springer paused for a few seconds. “What are you going to do today”? Me? “I believe that I will begin with a bath”. “Are you absolutely sure we can’t get together today”? “Yes I’m sure”! “Alright but you can call on me anytime”. “I understand Missy. Thank you.”, and with that she hung up the phone and headed up stairs to the bedroom.
Leaving the door open to the bathroom she started filling her tub as she removed her jewelry, makeup then her clothes. She entered the tub, lowering into the bath steeped in a flowery fragrance from the bath salts. She laid back, closing her eyes and just relaxed, feeling a sense of calm. A hand reached into the tub and wrapped itself around her arm causing her to jump nearly out of the tub. She let out a short scream before realizing that she must have dosed off for a few moments and the sensation she felt must have been in her head. Catching her breath and regaining her composure she reached for the faucet and turned on the hot water to increase the water temperature. The tub quickly was filling up so she opened the drain to give the water more room. As the water slowly started to go down she looked up at the shower head and started to think about the waterfall. She pulled the lever at the drain to release the water from that shower head. Closing her eyes she could feel the water falling on her head like rain as she turned around on to her back. Softly lowering herself down into the water, soon her head began to touch the surface. Eyes still closed she felt the back of her head getting wetter, then it was her ears soon the noise became muffled as they submerged below the surface.
She laid still, the water from above showering her midsection like soft, delicate drops tickling her tummy. She was surprisingly and momentarily at peace. It didn’t last! Submerging her head completely under the water, eyes wide open and holding her breath. She could feel the drops penetrating the waters surface and figuratively bouncing off of her eye balls, the view got lighter but not clearer. Her head too was getting foggier and lightheaded. Closing her eyes, she could see Beyond the Waterfall now and she thought that it might have been the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. It was so lush, the colors so vivid like a painting with sound. She had been underwater for nearly three minutes, yet she felt like she could smell the magnificent view. Slowly the water began to uncover her forehead, then her eyes before uncovering her nose and mouth. She took her first breath and the vision just disappeared into the very thin air.
While she was blowing her hair dry, the phone rang, it was the therapist. Olivia could not hear it nor the message, which had grown to three messages already left by Ms. Springer. Beeep, “Olivia if you can hear me, please pickup”! A sense of desperation was showing in her voice. Not the usual tone from a therapist but more like that from someone who cared a bit more than that. The sound of her hanging up the phone for the final time ended the call. Unaware, Olivia continued with her routine of getting ready to go nowhere, like she had done so many times before.
As Olivia put the finishing touches on herself she heard the doorbell ring. She looked out of her bedroom window down toward the front porch and saw Missy there. She opened up the window. “What brings you here Missy”? Looking up, Missy looked surprised to see Olivia looking so comfortable. “Why haven’t you answered any of my calls”? “What, when did you call”? “I’ve left you three messages”! I’m sorry, I didn’t hear them. I was in the bath, uh shower”. “For over twenty minutes”? “I guess! What’s the matter with you”? “Could you come down here and let me in Olivia”?
Opening the door, Missy walked in without a word from either. She walked into the living room looking around for some sort of signs of the life in which Olivia had described during their few sessions. It didn’t look like a house that recently had occupied a husband and a daughter. It appeared to be more like that of an old maid, which Olivia clearly was not. “Why are you here, Missy”? “I didn’t like the way you sounded on the phone earlier this morning so I wanted to see if there was anything that I could”. “I’m fine”. Missy was looking at a picture of a man holding a young girl approximately Laurie’s age. “Is that your husband and daughter there”?, Missy had asked. Looking very closely as if for the very first time, Olivia answered, “Yes. Of course it is”! The photograph itself looked too old to have been taken recently leaving the Doctor a little perplexed as to why Olivia may be lying. Walking around the room, Olivia became a little nervous as well as agitated. “Dr. Springer, would you like to sit down? Perhaps you would enjoy the couch for a change”?
“How ‘bout some wine”? Doctor Springer looked at her watch. “It’s still a bit early, isn’t it”? Olivia left the room to grab a couple of glasses and an opened bottle of Red wine. “I believe you’re right Missy. This bottle was telling me that it didn’t want to be consumed yet.” Pouring the glass half full and handing it to the Doctor, she poured the same amount into the other glass and raised it for what appeared to be a toast. “What are we toasting”? “Growing old”. Missy looked at Olivia who had started to raise her glass up to her mouth when she mumbled something under her breath before taking her first, then second sips. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear what you said Olivia”? She walked toward the window and sat down right in front of the light that was beaming through the window. Dr. Springer’s eyes needed to adjust to her view. Olivia took another long sip, nearly finishing her glass. “Don’t you like wine, Missy”? Hesitating for a brief moment, “Uh, I do but this doesn’t seem like the right thing for me to do right now”. Feeling a bit uncomfortable she placed her glass on the coffee table.
Clearing her throat she repositioned herself, legs up to her side and leaning on the armrest, she finally spoke after several seconds went by. “I came here because I felt concerned about you during our phone conversation this morning”. “Why? Did I sound deeply depressed? Was I incoherent in any way? What precisely concerned you so much”? “You sound agitated Olivia”? “It must be the wine”. “Perhaps we can just talk Olivia. Not like a Doctor, patient but person to person, friend to friend”. “Friend to friend? You don’t even know me”! “You’re right, I don’t”. “What would you like to know”? “Let’s start with how are you really doing”? “Are we still speaking like friends”? “Yes”. “Well then I am doing shitty”! “Really”? “You really don’t know a thing about me other than what your professional opinion might be”! “Look Olivia, I know that this is a hard day for you and perhaps I haven’t articulated how much I’d like to help but if you can’t trust me then I can’t help. What can I do to help”? “You can start by drinking”.
A couple of glasses later there was much laughter between the girls. “Thank you Missy”. “For what”? “For listening to me like a regular person and not as my therapist”. “I admit, the wine did help”. “So what have we learned so far in your personal opinion Missy”? Missy became oddly hesitant with her answer. “You’re not getting serious on me again are you”? “Do you want me to answer the question honestly, Olivia”? She gave no response to the question. “So far I have learned about the chronology of your most recent ten years. Your marriage to your ex-husband, the birth of Laurie and you’ve already shared that night that you lost both of them in a car accident. “Where did that happen”? “I already told you that”. “No, actually you didn’t”. “What does the location have to do with my state of mine”? Missy stood up and wealked over to the fireplace and picked up the picture that she had noticed when she first walked into the room. “Who are these two”? “Again, I’ve already told you”! Missy began to detach the frame from the picture. “What do you think that you are doing Missy”! Removing the picture, she turned it over and found what she had been expecting.
“The date on this picture says 1987”. Olivia was at a loss for words. “You would’ve been about ten years old then, isn’t that right Olivia? That was cute dress. I remember having one similar to that when I was young. Is that your daddy with you”? “Do you gamble Olivia”? “What? I’ve thrown a few bucks into a slot machine and the craps table”. “Ever done any sports betting”? “No, I don’t know enough about sports”. “Well it can be quite simple if you watch for the right signs. There are two ways that you can go. You can bet when the line moves with the public, who generally don’t really know what they’re doing or you can bet with the “Sharps”. “The Sharps”? “They are known as the “Smart Bettors”. “Why didn’t you just say that”? “Pay attention. You don’t usually want to bet against the “Sharps” “What happens when the line doesn’t move”? “Now you’re paying attention. That’s when you stay away”. “Stay away”? “That’s right because the public and smart money players don’t really think that anything will change. The house made the right decision”. “I suspect you have some sort of point”? “I do. You asked me why I came here today”? “Yes. So”? “Well”, she finished her second glass of wine “I wanted to check some things out before I could begin to help you.
So I came here to see how you are managing by yourself. “I’m managing fine. What kind of things”? First off, I was hoping to see Laurie’s room”. “What, Why, I mean I, she… I changed it… to a study”. “A study? When”? “Would you still like to see it”? “Maybe later. Tell me a little bit about your late husband”? “What do you want to know”? When did you marry him”? “When he was twenty-one”. “Which was when”? “A few years back”. Missy was getting a bit frustrated with Olivia. I’m having a real hard time Olivia getting you to open up”! “You sound upset”. “I’m a little irritated”. I’m sorry”. “Have you had any more dreams”? “Yes I had one just last night”. “What was it about”? “I was traveling toward the waterfall that Laurie had described to me during one of her dreams. It was so beautiful and there was water as far as the eye could see”. “Do you see Laurie”? Olivia became very quiet and somber, shaking her head. “I never got beyond the waterfall. I woke up before I had the chance to see it”. How did it feel”? “Like I had been there before. It was almost magical”. “How do you mean”? “It felt like all my answers were waiting to be answered on the other side”. “What kind of answers”? “Where my little girl had gone. It felt safe from all the bad she had experienced”.
The doctor came to her feet. “I think the wine has gotten to me, can I please use your bathroom”? “Sure, it’s down the hall and to your right”. “Thank you”. Strolling toward the door, Olivia said, “I’ll make a veggie tray. You could probably use some food in your stomach right about now”? Missy turned and replied, “That would be nice”. Missy returning back toward the living room could hear Olivia cutting the veggies, when she stopped. Looking at the hallway walls, she saw several pictures. They all looked like her with her parents. There was a couple of her with her mother only, one taken during her graduation. There were many of her father and her but none after what appeared to be age ten. She saw no wedding pictures nor any signs of Laurie.
Olivia had wandered back from the kitchen holding a tray of cheese, veggies and crackers. “Is everything alright”?, she asked. Missy was a little startled. “Yes, everything was just fine”. The ladies sat in silence eating the food and drinking a couple bottles of water that Olivia had brought with her. Olivia put down her plate. “So Doctor, has the line moved enough for you to gamble on letting me know how you can help me”? “it’s definitely moving but I still don’t have a clear enough picture to place a smart enough bet on my opinion just yet. Tell me, when did your father die”? Olivia looked shook up for a brief moment. “He died when I was a little girl”. “How old were you”? “It was just before my eleventh birthday”. “And how did he die? Was it a car crash”? Olivia looked down toward her feet and placed her head into both hands. A few seconds later she raised her teary eyes and nodded yes. “What was your father’s name”? “Samuel”, she said with a smile “I used to call him Sam Sam when I was very young. His was the first name that I had ever spoke, even before dad or mom”. Missy leaned forward on the couch and reached out to comfort Olivia.
“It must have been hard, growing up without a father”. Nodding her head Olivia began to cry. “It was just as hard living without a mother as well. She seemed to have died when he did”! “You had to grow up real fast I suspect”. “She would be gone all of the time, either at work or out with a string of men”. “Is that why you never married”? Olivia leaned back in her chair and nervously picked up her bottle of water. Shaking as she took a small sip. “I’m sorry that I wasted you time with my story”. “That’s what I’m here for. Tell me more about your dreams. They were actually your dreams, right”? “They were. The animals in your first dream, did they have names”? “Yes, there was Georgia, the gorilla”. Suddenly Missy stopped Olivia. “What significance is her name”? “That was the name of my dad’s mother. Then there was Carmen the cat, her name was that of my mother’s mom”. “And then there was your snake, the one who had brought you to that place”. “His name was Sam”. “After your father”? “Yep. You seem to be on a roll, what else can you tell me”? “Why do you suppose everything was so gigantic”? “I don’t know”. “Perhaps because you’ve been trying to handle some big problems for most of your life and things may seem a bit overwhelming. You also created some big creatures to protect you in your dream”.
“Why could I not get beyond the waterfall in my last dream”? “Well it could be that you are beginning to transition from a place that makes you feel comfortable to your current reality”. Hesitating for a moment, Missy started to walk her comment back. “Olivia, where did you come up with the name Laurie”? “That was my mother’s name. Perhaps I used that name because I felt as though I was the adult and she was the one who needed taking care of”? “Look who’s so smart now”. It’s the wine talking. Would you like some coffee”? “Please”. “Cream and or sugar”? “Cream yes, sugar no. Thank you”.
The girls moved back into the kitchen to have their coffee. “So where do we go from here”?, asked Olivia. Missy felt compelled to ask her one more question but didn’t really know if Olivia was ready. “Missy”? “Why did you tell me that your father was still alive”? Olivia put her cup on the counter and stared away from the Doctor. “Olivia? Why did you lie about your father”? “I didn’t lie”! “Yes you did”! “Yes I did”. “He IS still alive”! “You just said that you lied”! “I did”. “About what”! “Why are you so worked up”? I’m worked up because everything that you say is a lie and this has got to stop if I am really going to help you”! “Alright, I’ll stop”! “Don’t stop just for me. Stop for yourself”. “I will”. So. Why did you tell me that your father was still alive”? “Because I lied before”. “I don’t understand”. “My father is still alive”.
Missy was stunned to hear this news. “Are you still lying”? “Perhaps for the first time, I‘m not”. “How am I supposed to believe that? You have changed your story a little bit so that even a smart bettor would have a hard time establishing any line for you”. “As far as I am concerned my father is dead to me”! Olivia screamed. “He stole my childhood from me. He can go straight to hell”! “What happened to you Olivia”? “I loved him so much! I had such a crush on him. I even thought that someday he and I could get married”. “What did he do to you”? “I was ten years old. I wasn’t prepared to grow up so fast”. Olivia began to cry, quietly at first then longer and harder. “Olivia! What did your father do? Did he hurt you”?! “He left us”. She said quietly. “He..? “He left me and my mom. He left us alone to fend for ourselves”. Her cries grew stronger. “I’m so sorry honey”. That calmed Olivia down. “My mother used to say that to me all the time. “I’ve spent many of years blaming her for my father leaving us. She tried her hardest to keep a roof over our head and all I could do was punish her for staying. I believed that the snake in my dream was my father taking me away to a better place but I now think that he was the cowardly lion hiding in the forest or perhaps he was just running away”. “I’m so sorry, Olivia”. “I never told my mom how much I appreciated what she did for me. I mean she made mistakes but at least she didn’t leave me. I wish I could tell her how much I miss her”. “You asked me if I believe in heaven and I told you why I don’t but what I didn’t say was that I respect you if you do. If you believe than you can still tell her how you feel”. “I’ve tried..but I just didn’t know what to say”. “Speak from the heart”. “My heart is broken and I’m not sure if it can be fixed”. “You can start by trying to mend your feelings with Laurie or better yet, the little girl in your dreams. That little girl was you Olivia and she isn’t really lost because she is right here and she is still alive and can make peace with whoever she wants”.
It was getting very late and Olivia was getting drowsy. “I’ll bet you never could’ve imagined that you would have spent the day here with me on a beautiful Saturday”? This made Missy laugh. “I am happy to have bet on you”. A slow smile came across Olivia’s face. “I should go”., Missy just blurted out. “Alright”. Olivia said a little dejected. Missy grabbing her coat began to walk toward the front door. “Thank you Missy. For everything today”. “I was happy to help. See you later this week”? “Yes of course”. Opening the door she turned to say goodbye. “Good bye Dr. Springer”. “Sweet dreams Olivia”. Shutting the door, Olivia headed up stairs to her room leaving the dishes out to be cleaned in the morning.
Literally wiped out from an exhaustive day, she quickly fell asleep. Deep asleep she began to have visions of the little girl she created in her dreams. Olivia began to cry. “What’s wrong”?, asked Laurie. “Mommy, what’s wrong”? She continued to cry. “Mommy, what have I done wrong”? “Nothing. You’ve done nothing wrong! It’s me”. “I don’t understand, mom”. “Could you stop calling me mom”. Laurie was taken back. “Why”? “It confuses me..you calling me mom”. Laurie didn’t know what to say. “I’m sorry maa…”, stopping herself before she finished the sentence. “Please don’t be sorry child. It’s me who should be sorry. I treated you badly for staying and now I’ve been mad at you for leaving. I want to just say I’m so sorry”. Laurie took Olivia’s hand and quietly said, “Close your eyes”. Without a word she did just that. Laurie looked at Olivia and said “You have nothing to be sorry for honey. We let you down. I wish we could change the past but perhaps we can fix the present. It’s not your fault. It was never your fault. You’re father and I fell out of love and while he decided to leave us, I never regretted for a single day being with you”.
A loud crack of thunder shook Olivia, suddenly opening her eyes to see Laurie in tears and as they fell from her face just like raindrops, Olivia could feel a light rain falling all around her. Laurie reached out, putting her arms around Olivia and then hugging her tightly. Olivia hugged Laurie just as tightly, feeling the rain begin to intensify. Loosening their grip, together they release each other. Laurie reaching up touching her daughters’ chin. “Honey, if you don’t first forgive yourself then you won’t be able to forgive others”. I’m willing to forgive others”. “Really”?, Laurie had said as Olivia noticed in the background an image beginning to form. She took a long look and knew that it was the cowardly lion making an appearance. Olivia had the look of disdain on her face. Looking down on her mother she could tell by the look on her face that she disapproved. “I have forgiven him honey”.
The rain was beginning to come down in sheets, making it a bit hard to see Laurie. Soon she was beginning to disappear. “Don’t go”!, Olivia yelled. “We’re not going anywhere”, Laurie answered even as she began to back away. Suddenly it looked like the sheet of water was coming between the two of them. Olivia noticed that the sheet of water was the waterfall and as she looked down she realized that she was on top of Sam Sam. The waterfall began to clear as if she was once again peering through a looking glass. There were two other figures forming behind Laurie, who had now become full grown, looking more like her mother when she was a young woman. Behind her was her maternal and paternal grandmothers and well behind them all was her father. He looked just the same as she remembered when she was ten years old, which is precisely who she saw as the looking glass was becoming a mirror. All three ladies began waving through the glass as they disappeared completely from view leaving a young looking Olivia standing there alone. Soon she realized that all of the water had evaporated and standing behind her was Missy. “I think you are ready”., Missy said. “Ready for what”? “You’ll know”.
Early the next morning while sipping on some coffee, having already cleaned up the kitchen and living room, Olivia sat staring at an old piece of paper. Looking at it for a couple of minutes, she reached for the phone and started to dial very slowly. It rang once, twice then three times. Her stomach began to get a little queasy. Someone on the other end of the phone picked up and answered “Hello”. Olivia couldn’t respond. “Hello”. The voice bellowed out. Suddenly the voice asked, “Is that you Olivia”? Not realizing that he might have Caller ID she let out a gasp. “I sure hope that is you darling”….”Hello, yes it’s me …. Dad”.