Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Life Within

Category: Issue 10

Lisa was Nine.  Freckled face, small hands, long curly unruly hair.  Today was her big day.  Vacation.  Mommy, Daddy, Lisa, Africa….Heaven.  They were on their way to the airport; and Lisa was excited.

Lisa had learned a lot in her nine years, she watched tv, read books, played games with her parents; nothing escaped her.  Maybe…just maybe, that is what saved her on this exciting day.

She had fallen asleep in the back seat of the car, to the low rumbling of the engine as the vehicle moved with a rhythmical bump bump bump over the freeway.  She was relaxed and excited, she was dreaming immediately of big cats, elephants, and her favorite game that she played with daddy called “Job Interview”.  Just yesterday daddy had “hired” her, and in her dream, she was a safari guide, showing smiling faces dangerous animals.

Then she was woken to her parents voices yelling for her to get up, hurry, grab a bag – run run run, we’re going to be late.  And they ran; all the way through the airport to the gate, where Lisa got to give the lady her ticket and say “To Africa, please”, just like she wanted to.  They made it!

The plane rolled to the tarmac, Lisa was sitting between her parents, she would switch to the window seat later; but this was her first airplane ride, and she was a little scared – TV can do that to a kid.  The airplanes engines screamed as it started to gather speed, it lifted, it bumped, it lifted again and rose into the air. Lisa let go of her parents hands, proud of how well she had done – not even a single tear!

There was a bang, and then Lisa was thrown sideways into her dad. She looked at him, so he could tell her this was okay, but he was looking at mom.  They both had worried faces and people were screaming.  And then she started feeling like she was being lifted from her seat, like when she rode the roller coaster at the fair, and her parents were leaning over her, hugging each other, making a tunnel for Lisa – keeping her safe.  Their heads were above hers, their arms around her, and mommy said “make a ball, Lisa” and she pulled in her legs.  Daddy said, “head down, honey”.  She heard each of them say “I love you”, and saw her moms calm face and her dads soft smile before tucking her head.

Suddenly, she felt like her body was in one of those funny machines that spin a person around and upside down.  The screaming was really loud now, and her parents were squeezing her so tight.  She wanted to be able to see, but she couldn’t move.  The noise was too loud, screaming and the sound of the metal garbage can when she dragged it outside, except louder; and then there was a lot of bumping and shaking and she felt herself being thrown against the seat belt.
It got really hot.  She tried to look past her mom to see what was happening, but her head hit something hard, and her mom didn’t look right, and then everything went quiet and still and black.

She was in the back seat of their car, and her mom was calling her name.  “Wake up Lisa. Lisa, time to wake up, we’re going to be late.”
She sat up too quickly, bumping her head on the door, crying and shaking.  “Mommy?  Mommy!”  Lisa climbed into the front seat and wrapped her arms around her moms neck.  “Mommy, I don’t want to fly to Africa!  We can’t fly to Africa!”
“Lisa, honey, what are you talking about?” her dad asked.  “Flying is the only way to get to Africa.  Are you okay?”
“No daddy, we can’t fly to Africa, I just had the worst dream, and if we fly to Africa, the plane is going to crash!”  She was in tears, and determined to make her parents listen to her.  Africa didn’t matter; she just didn’t want to get on that plane.
“Lisa,” her mom said in her stern voice, “stop it.  We have to hurry, or we’ll be late.”
Lisa yelled, yelled with all she had, that she would not fly, and pushed the car door open.  Her mom wrapped her arm around Lisa’s waist, hurting her tummy, and she heard her say “help me”, only her moms voice sounded strange.  Then they were out of the car and she was sitting on the ground between her moms legs, with her back pressed against her tummy, and her dad was holding her wrists. 
“Lisa, can you hear me Lisa?”  Her dad said it, she watched him say it, but his voice sounded strange too, and she got scared and tried to get away.  She bumped her head on something again, and the pain ran down her back and legs, and made her eyes squeeze shut.  She liked the dark. 
“Don’t be scared honey, you’ll be okay.”  Her dad?  It must be.  She was lying down, though she wasn’t sure where, maybe in the back seat of the car.  She was really confused and scared to open her eyes, not sure what she would see if she did.  Her mind couldn’t decide if her dream was a dream, maybe because she was still so scared about having to fly, and because she bumped her head. 
So she opened her eyes to tell her parents again that she really didn’t want to fly.  Her mom and dad were both kneeling beside her on the ground next to the car.  They smiled at her when she looked at them and her dad said “It’s okay honey, we can go to Yellowstone instead.  We can drive there.”

Lisa’s life was changed that day. Life was wonderful.  The sky was always blue, except when she was sad.  Butterflies paused so she could see them better; school kids treated her nice; her grades were perfect.  She figured that she was special, that her dream had made her special – it gave her powers. 

Her dad bought her a puppy.  One just like the picture on her wall.  Her daddy understood; he knew that Lisa was always right.  Her mommy still rushed Lisa, but that was okay – she had heard that nobody’s life was perfect. 

Lisa’s life was almost perfect, except for her mommy rushing her and the prickly feeling in the crook of her elbow.  Sometimes it was just hot, sometimes it hurt, but it was always there.  Lisa didn’t think about that much.  Lisa knew everything, and she knew that it was dangerous to think about the prickly spot in her arm.

Then Lisa met an imaginary friend.  She told her parents he was imaginary, because he was only a voice in her head.  But he was real to her.  She started spending more and more time with him, listening to stories he would tell about people she didn’t know.  Since the vacation, she hadn’t met anyone new; it seemed that even the people in the grocery store were all people she had seen before.  He was new – with new stories, and a new voice.

She stopped going to school so she could listen to him.  When he wasn’t there, she would lay in bed and wait for him; remembering things, like her game with daddy, and butterflies stopping, her mom’s face in her dream.  Sometimes she would think about things, like how banana ice cream tasted just like vanilla, or how her best friend at school still had braces, even though she was supposed to have them off last year. How the teacher always knew that Lisa was right.  Thinking was dangerous.  She never thought about the prickly feeling in her arm, or how her back felt so sore all the time.  She never thought about the trip to Yellowstone, which looked just like the forest outside her house. 

Eventually, her imaginary friend told a story about a plane crash.  Lisa tried not to listen.  She thought about butterflies, but his voice wouldn’t stop.  She heard about an amazing little girl; the only survivor, because her parents loved her so much; a little girl with a strong will to live.  About how that little girl lived in a hospital and wouldn’t wake up.  He was sad.  Lisa was scared.  What if…..?  It was dangerous to think.

Posted by TheresaJean on 06/04 at 02:41 PM | Permalink
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