The Dream

Chapter 1
We laughed hard, tears cascaded down our cheeks. After out laughing fit subsided, my mother’s phone screamed with a shrill ring, demanding to be answered. The ring made us both jump in the hard, uncomfortable booth in a McDonalds. I was shaking from trying-but not succeeding- to stop laughing. Mom was still chuckling when she answered the phone with a simple hello.
Mom’s breath caught in her throat. Tears started to stream down her pale cheek as she listened to the person on the other line. Oh, no, I thought. The crying in a public place was defiantly not a good thing. She ended the call and swiped her hand over her eyes quickly before anybody else could see her tears. She grabbed her purse and opened her mouth as if she were going to say something, but nothing came out, it was like she couldn’t find her voice. She walked out towards her Toyota knowing I would follow

Chapter 2
I was scared. Why would my mother cry in a McDonalds?
“Mom? What’s wrong?” I asked confusion and reluctance colored my voice. Part of me wanted to know. Part of me wanted the call to never happen so we could go back to our mother-daughter-day. But I needed to find out what had my mom crushed like this.
“Your…” she choked on her words as she started sobbing into her hands. I climbed over the gearshift to comfort my mom in a hug. She clung to me soaking my shirt.
When the sobs finally slowed she whispered, “Your Tia Dominique died an hour ago in a car accident.” What? No, that isn’t possible, she was at my house yesterday hanging out, I wanted to believe it was some sort of harsh joke, but my mom, first of all, wasn’t that good an actor, and second of all, my mom wouldn’t do that to me. Tia Dominique had wanted to paint my nails; the nail polish I had on was chipping already. It was our little tradition; she would come over to my house every other day and paint my nails a different color. Her favorite color to paint was purple. We would laugh and talk or we would watch a movie while she painted. But yesterday I told her I didn’t want my nails done, so instead we laughed and talked till we couldn’t breathe anymore.
I stared at the chipped light purple paint on my nails. Mom brushed a napkin on my face to dry the wetness on my cheeks. I hadn’t even realized that the tears I was working to keep back spilled over.

Chapter 3
Four days later was the funeral. I made myself numb. I wouldn’t cry-when people were around, I would cry when everyone is asleep. I haven’t been getting much sleep-at home for my mother. I wouldn’t let my mom see how much pain I was in, she had enough. I hadn’t known my aunt as long as mom has. I couldn’t look a Mom’s face, twisted in pain, as she kissed her baby sister one last time, in Tia Dominique’s casket.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I picked the last pew in the back for a reason. I stumbled into the bathroom as my vision blurred from unshed tears. I clenched my jaw in hope of muffling my crying, but I was nowhere near muffled cries, it was more like choked sobs. Seeing my favorite aunt without color, still, and cold sent me over the edge.
I usually didn’t show much emotion-I got that from my dad-. I didn’t like to cry; it showed weakness. But I realized that day that it’s okay to be weak sometimes, which is why I let myself crumple to the ground on the bathroom floor. I was vaguely aware of the blurry black blobs- heels- covering the checkered colored tile. It was my mom. I couldn’t even look up though. She gathered me in her arms and circled her arms around me protectively. This was the worst birthday ever to bury your aunt.
She didn’t tell me that everything was alright, and for that I was grateful. I didn’t want to hear whispered lies of reassurance. It wouldn’t be okay, not for a while. It would take a while to get used to Tia Dominique not coming to my house almost every day.
Everybody was quiet on the way home, not sure of what to say. I looked down at my hands working to go numb again. I spotted the now fading nail polish, unshed tears stung my eyes. I began scratching off the paint. If Tia Dominique was gone for good, then so was the nail polish.

Chapter 4
It was two months after the funeral and things were starting to get better, little by little. I stared at the bottle of purple nail polish. A couple weeks ago the little bottle would have been a doorway to lots of pain. I swore I would never again wear nail polish. My little tradition was over. I keep a bottle at hand, though, as a reminder.
I slowly drifted off to sleep as I was reminiscing the good times I had with my aunt. I let my eyes shut as I slipped into my dream world, which is almost always somewhere at sunset.
I was on the beach. Not Galveston, a prettier beach like the beach in Cancun. The sand was white; it felt cool between my toes. I stepped into the crystal clear, blue water, marveling. The sun wasn’t too hot like in Texas, it was how it was supposed to be…warm. The sun wasn’t too bright either. I closed my eyes and went a little farther into the warm water. This was the happiest I’ve been in months, I never wanted to leave this dream, it was my own personal sanctuary.
Then my heart skipped a few beats and my breath was stuck in my throat. This can’t be right. Is this a nightmare? I thought, my eyes going wide, tears sliding down my cheeks. But there she was sitting in the water right beside me. She still looked like the last time I saw her…dead. Her skin was paler than when she was alive, but there she was, breathing.
She was staring at the sunset complete with blue, purple, pink, orange, and yellow. “Don’t cry, it’s beautiful here, it’s warm,” She said turning her head to face me. Her eyes sparkled in the sun light and her smile was as white as ever. I shut my eyes willing to wake up from this dream. It was still too soon to remember her. I felt a hand hook my black hair behind my ear. I could tell she was waiting for me to open my eyes to look at her.
I don’t know how long we sat there in the water. I finally opened my eyes, but kept them looking down at my hands. “What’s wrong?” Tia Dominique asked me. Her sweet, white smile wavered as she saw me watching her cautiously, skeptically. She’s not here, I told myself. But there she was sitting next to me in the water. She had her brown hair,-down and straight-her brown eyes sparkling because of the light of the sun. I shut my eyes, she’s not really here I reminded myself.
“You’re not here,” I whispered. “You’re not real. You…” A huge lump formed in my throat. Speech seemed to be impossible at the moment. I fought tears that threatened to spill over my eyes. I chuckled humorlessly, I hated crying, but I couldn’t stop the tears that brimmed over my eyes. I laughed hysterically till tears hit the sand. All the while Tia Dominique stared at the sunset in the distance. The sunset was sending golden strips into the darkest area of the ocean. Soon all of the water was a beautiful, liquid golden.
“Sure is beautiful, Jaz, I love your dreams, even if you don’t remember them all,” she told me as my hysterics died down. Oh, yeah, it’s a dream, I thought. I really wanted it to be real but that wasn’t going to happen. Only in my dreams would we be laughing together on a beach at sunset.
I threw my arms around her. She whispered reassuringly into my ear and smoothed my hair down. She let my tears soak her shirt. Suddenly she brushed her hand over mine and then my nails were the purple she used the last time she painted my nails.
“I am real and I am here,” she clarified motioning to my head and my heart. She picked up one of my hands and surveyed, “Turns out better and less time consuming,” she observed. I let out a chuckle and nodded in agreement.
The sun was about to disappear, letting the moon do its part. Tia Dominique kissed my cheek then stood up, brushing off her shorts, getting rid of the excess sand. She stood in the last ray of sunlight.
“I’ll always be here, you just have to dream. Don’t be sad; I’m right here. Be happy. Tell your mom I love her. Tell her where to find me.” She told me as she walked deeper into the water, as she got farther she shimmered and faded with the sun.
Chapter 5
My eyes flashed open and I wasn’t on the dream beach anymore I was back in my white colored room. I got up to open the blinds to let the sun fill my room. The sun was shimmering in my face, it wasn’t too bright though, it was…warm, a little voice in the back of my head.
“See you tonight; I’ll bring the nail polish this time.” I could’ve sworn I heard faint laughter.
Mom’s hazel eyes were sad when she trudged down the stairs and into the kitchen. When she smelled the breakfast her head snapped up and saw me flipping crepes, her favorite breakfast. Mission accomplished. Mom was happy if only for a moment.
“She loves you,” I told Mom as she bit into her nutella filled crepe.
“I know, she loves you too,” she said matter-of-factly. She raised her head and flashed a real smile, one I hadn’t seen in months.


R.I.P
Dominique Marie Vitucci Mathews
September 20, 2003





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NightGoddess17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm
This is SOOOO cute!!! its also really sad!!! i was gonna cry!!!!! keep writing!
 
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