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A Dreamer's Heart
The rain was cascading down around me, soaking through my sweater and jeans into my skin and settling in my bones. It wasn’t a cold rain; in fact it was warm where I sat outside on my roof straddling the peak of the incline. Though my sister and cousin were walking around, laughing, and shoving each other playfully, I sat removed from the scene in silence. I wasn’t having fun; I was scared I’d slip if I stood up.
Just as I was wishing they’d get down and go inside, I saw in my peripheral vision a hand extending itself to me. I turned my head to see him: brown hair and a crooked smile he was somehow familiar to me. His blue eyes locked with mine, they asked me to take his hand—I did.
Stepping carefully he led to me to the edge of my roof where the zip line sagged in the distance, the plastic yellow handles sitting idle inches in front of me. I looked at him inquisitively.
“Don’t let go until I say to,” he said softly.
“But it’s wet,” I replied. He pulled his own sleeve down over his hand and wiped away the water from both handles; then he looked at me, giving me a small nod to go ahead.
I gripped both handles firmly and crouched as far near the edge as I could; after letting out a deep breath I pushed off as hard as I could. My body went flying through the wet air over the courtyard as the handles slid along the smooth wire. I saw where the concrete met the yard, noticed the rope swing dangling limply above the divide and wanted to let go; but I waited for his signal. Moments before I reached the rope I heard his voice in my ear whisper, “Now.” I let go.
The next thing I knew I had hit the ground and was rolling over in a large pile of leaves. It couldn’t be—but it had to. Somehow I knew it was true: he lived in a world separate from my own and this was it. A moment later he landed in the leaves next to me and when he rolled over his face could barely contain his smile; he began laughing and hugging me excitedly. I felt that single emotion blossoming in my chest—love. I loved him and he loved me, as well. That’s why I’d recognized him: he was mine.
All of a sudden the leaves erupted with a deafening boom and I saw as an ugly green creature rose out of the foliage. She wore a tattered black cloak and a hood about her face, but that didn’t conceal the long crooked nose and yellow teeth. At the same times I could see, hear, and feel the winds of tornados that were sprouting all around us.
He quickly grabbed me in his arms and pulled me close to him in an attempt to protect me, but I could still see the witch and I knew what she held. In her hand was a small paper plate with a plastic, green square sitting in the center. Fear began to surge through my veins, alerting every nerve in my body that danger was near and closing in; that green square was my happiness. The witch had pulled it out of me and was now about to end its life.
Suddenly, the square erupted into a tornado larger and stronger than any of the others surrounding us. I was screaming and the winds were growing ever stronger, he continued to hold me tightly to his own chest. As the witch began to advance on us he uttered a single word into my ear: “Run!” I obeyed. His grip released and I ran for the courtyard, if I could make it that far I would return to my world where I was safe. I ran and I made it, but he didn’t follow. I sat in the rain for hours awaiting his return, but he never came.
Finally, I was forced by the chill in my bones and the ache in my chest to retire indoors. I attempted sleep but it would not come; tears slipped down my cheeks as I endured the painful throb where my heart should be beating. He didn’t make it through the portal—he might not ever be able to come back. I’m all alone again, forever.
It’s been months since I left his world and the pain has not gotten any better. Every night I still cry myself to sleep, there is still a hole where my heart should be, and my longing for him grows more fervent with every passing day. Most of my time is spent sitting on the concrete outside, hoping that he might appear in front of me smiling his crooked smile and tenderly surveying my face with his blue eyes. Some days I try to the point of insanity re-entering his world; I try running, swinging on the rope, even zip lining through, but I can’t break the barrier.
Now I sit on the roof, alone and heartbroken. My mind flashes back to that night: the rain, the dark, his face. My gaze slips to the zip line sitting calmly in its place. I have to try, just one more time. I crawl over and grip the handle bars as firmly as possible; crouching at the edge of the roof, I let out a breath and jump. As my body once again flies through the air I feel tears streaming across my cheeks. Suddenly his voice fills my head: “Now!” he yells. I let go.
My body lands in a pile of leaves—I made it! I had gotten through! When I stood up he was standing a few feet away, tears streaming down his face. I ran to him and he held me tight to his chest, burying his face in my hair. “I’ve been trying to get to you for so long,” he said. “Every day I watched you sit and wait for me, but I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t get out.”
The next day we both stood in front of the portal, hand in hand, looking at my world behind it. He smiled at me and squeezed my hand slightly, I nodded. We both took one step forward—through the portal—and we both came out on the other side. He and I laughed with joy and excitement; he picked me up and hugged me close. We were safe now, together. The pain was gone.