Only Temporary

The soft breeze wafted the fresh scent of rain throughout the field, and ruffled the bright orange and brown leaves of trees. A solitary figure dressed all in white sat under the smallest tree, knees drawn up to her chest and her long, light brown hair fluttering in the wind. Her fingers played with a tiny white flower by her feet, absently noting the papery texture of the petals. Dark gray rain clouds covered the sky completely, and it was impossible to tell whether it was dawn or dusk. A glistening black beetle was crawling its way up a blade of grass, and she watched as it reached the top and turned this way and that, bewildered at the disappearance of the trail that had seemed so eternal before. She placed a pale, slender finger next to the beetle, offering to lower it back to the ground it was familiar with, but the beetle twisted around and toppled off the blade in an attempt to get away. A small laugh bubbled up in her throat, before she cut herself off, afraid to interrupt the tranquil silence in the very air of this dreamland. She realized what this field was. It was an escape from the world’s troubles. It was an imaginary world. It was the essence of peace.


Slowly, carefully, she stood up, leaning against the strong trunk of the tree behind her as she surveyed the land before her. The grass was long and wild, and pale yellow butterflies fluttered anxiously around a vast patch of the same white, papery blossoms that she had touched earlier. She cautiously took a step forward, but jumped back in fright as a razor-sharp, impossibly loud snap cut through the still atmosphere. Wildly she turned, left and right, left and right again, trying to find the source of the startling sound. A tiny, stifled gasp escaped her as she located the source of the noise. Seated at the very edge of the patch of flowers, deep in the shade of the overhanging tree limbs, was a boy. He smiled apologetically at her from beneath his long, shaggy blonde hair. “Sorry about that. I didn’t realize there was a twig near me, and I broke it when I moved.” He smiled, and she returned the gesture shyly. Deciding that it was safe to talk – that doing so would not make the newfound dreamland disappear – she assured him that he hadn’t scared her. “It’s just that it’s so quiet here,” she explained. The boy nodded. “I know, it’s weird how silent this place is. It’s just…us.” He whispered. “Do you have any idea how you got here?” she asked him, slowly moving forward, watching the ground to make sure she wouldn’t step on anything and disturb the peaceful world. He shook his head, his forehead wrinkled in confusion. “I don’t know. All I remember is being really angry and stressed out, and the next thing I know, I’m sitting here.” The girl nodded. “I don’t remember anything either. I was just really sad, and then I blink and here I am.” She sat next to him, bringing her knees underneath her and smoothing the plain, white skirt.


They sat in companionable silence for a minute, each absorbed in their own thoughts as they watched the leaves on the trees twirl around each other as they fell to the earth in a graceful dance. “Do you think that maybe this place is some sort of sanctuary? It’s so calm and beautiful here, and the real world is so chaotic. Maybe we’re supposed to stay here to sort out our lives, and then when we’re ready we just disappear. We just return to our lives.” She mused in a low voice, almost as though she were talking to herself. He looked at her. “That makes a lot of sense. But then why are we the only two people here? We can’t be the only people in the world who are stressed. Can we?” She shook her head, sighing in frustration. “No, we can’t. You’re right. I just don’t see any other reason we could be here. Unless maybe we’re here together because we have something in common; maybe great minds think alike. Do you know what I mean?” she asked him, turning toward him. “You mean that both of us understand the way the other thinks? But how could that be, when I’d never even seen you before until I showed up here?” He ran a hand through his hair. “No idea. But I think this place is working its magic, because I feel a lot calmer than I did before I arrived here.” He agreed. “I know, I feel it too. Wait, does that mean that once one of us calms down and returns to the real world, we’ll never see each other again?” She shrugged and plucked a leaf from the grass, shredding it in her fingers as she spoke. “I don’t know. I was just throwing ideas out. I don’t have a clue what’s going on, and that annoys me. But if I was right, then maybe all we have to do to end up back here is get royally ticked off at something at the same time.” She grinned at him. “But then again, maybe this is all a dream and you don’t exist and I’ll never see you again no matter how upset I get in the real world. Maybe this is only temporary.” He smiled and joked, “What makes you think I’d want to see you again?” she gasped in mock offense, grabbed a fistful of leaves from the piles that surrounded her, and threw the foliage at him, laughing as the multi-colored rain settled in his hair and caught at his clothes. He grinned and gathered a plethora of fallen leaves in both of his hands, deliberately dumping them on her head. She rolled away from him, crunching the leaves underneath her. “This is definitely a dream,” she decided. “There’s no way anyone in real life would be this nice to me.” He sat up and stared at her. “Why not? You’re so fun to be around.” She shrugged. “My family moves a lot and I’m an only child, so I never have enough time to get to know anyone properly. Besides, I’ve never managed to fit in at school. I’m too weird for most of the kids to handle.” He plucked one of the remaining leaves from his hair, and told her, “Well, those kids really don’t know what they’re missing. This is the most fun I’ve had in months.” She blushed and looked down, embarrassed. “Thanks.” There was a long, slightly awkward silence, which was broken by a contented sigh from the boy. She looked up, about to ask him what he had been so angry about before he had appeared in the clearing, and blinked in shock when all she found was empty air. “No way,” she breathed, reaching out to make sure he wasn’t just somehow invisible.
He was gone.
He had departed from the dreamland.





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