A Short Story

The Dream

I was running in the hallway as fast as I could. I could feel that adrenaline rush inside me. I feel excited, but at the same time nervous that I might not make it on time. There were people in the hallway and I try not to bump into anyone. I can’t hear anything but my breath and my heart beating fast. I know I’m getting closer. I’m reaching the end of the hallway. I could see the garden at the end. Suddenly, I heard a bell. I looked around while I was still running. The bell rang again, and I feel myself slowing down. The sound of the bell’s becoming louder and louder.

I woke up. I pressed the snooze button and let out a sigh.

1956

I was young when I found out that my father isn’t my real father. I could tell… from the way people treat me, and the way they look at me. My mother, bless her soul, loves me as much as she loves my older brother and sister. 

“Maria, come here, it’s time to pray”,  I was outside looking at the stars “yes mama”.

I knelt down beside her and closed my eyes, “God, I know you have better plans for me. I leave everything in your hands” I prayed.

2017

Neurologists say that your long-term memories are stored in your hippocampus. I think the memories that are there had a great impact in your life. Unfortunately, it may not be as clear or as accurate as before, or it could change over the years.

I only had seventeen years with my mother, that’s all I have. I only have seventeen years’ worth of memories with her. No more, no less. Some are starting to fade, some – I’m not even sure if it really happened, or if it was just a dream. I write because I want to remember. I write because I don’t want to lose those precious memories I had with her.

1972

I left the convent a year ago, and it was time for me to explore the world. It was a Saturday afternoon when two nuns from my old convent came to my house to visit. I’ve told them about me moving to London to work as a governess for now. I don’t know what I want to do yet in my life, I don’t know why I left the convent. I knew there is something more for me out there.

My mother passed years ago, and then years after, I entered the convent to be a nun. I remember I prayed to God one night “God, I know you have plans for me. I’ll leave everything in your hands”.

“Have you met anyone yet?” sister Martha asked me while I pour them a cup of tea.

“No, I haven’t”, I said. I sat down next to sister Anne, she took a sip of her tea, and put it down. Her hands on my right shoulder, “I know someday, you’ll meet someone, who will change everything -” I opened my mouth but she continued “-someone who you will love, and will become your life.” 

I let out a sigh, and smiled “in God’s timing”.

Present

Every time I think about how he and I met, it gives me butterflies in my tummy. I remember how each day we spend together, I fall deeply, madly, truly in love with him.

Before I met him, I was guarded. I’ve built my wall so high. But he knew there was something more in me. He saw right through me, when no one else did.

I never knew I could love someone this much. All I knew was the love I have for my family – my sister and my mother, what I would do for them, how I would give them the world.

I did pray for God for someone like him, and I told him that one night. I told him that I prayed for a heart like his, and a family, and I still think up to this day, that I might’ve done something right in my life to have both. His heart, and a family – our family.

1990

I’ve been back in my hometown eight years ago. I’m a kindergarten teacher now, and been helping my sister-in-law raise the kids… my brother lost his battle to cancer, and I’ve been supporting his kids since.

I still pray to God and say that I leave everything in His hands, at the same time I still think about what sister Anne told me years ago…

“I know someday, you’ll meet someone, who will change everything – someone who you will love, and will become your life.”

I was having my lunch break in the office pantry, when one of my colleagues knocked on the door “you have a phone call”.

Present

10 years ago, I remember when I saw her lay down in the sofa. She was so weak, but when she saw my sister and I, she smiled.

I sat down in front of her, and held her hands, “hi mommy”. I kissed her on the cheek. She let out a sigh and whispered “hi lovey”.

I put her left hand on my face and started to cry. I was sixteen that time, about to enter my senior year in high school.

While I was looking at her, I looked back on the memories we had.

1990

I found out that my niece is giving birth to twins, but she’s giving them up for adoption. She was considering of separating them, one goes to one family, the other one to another. She is young and didn’t know what’s right from wrong. The father’s out of the picture.

I went to see her and the babies. I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but I knew… in my heart, that was God’s plan. 

“Are you sure about this?” my best friend Christine asked
I smiled, “Yes. I can raise them both”.

Ten days later, I brought them home. It was a Friday night when I had them two in my bed. I held their hands, touched their cheeks… and I felt tears fall down my face.

“You two, changed everything. You are my daughters. You are my life… I love you both so much.”

Sister Anne was right. I will meet someone, but God’s plan was different. In God’s perfect time, I met these two girls – who were a stranger to me, whom I love, who are my life.

Present

When she passed, that moment with her, became a memory. A poignant moment that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I thought that her being sick was the hardest part, but that doesn’t compare to what it’s like after she passed.

She was always there for me, you know. And what’s hard is that every moment, happy… or sad… she won’t be there anymore.

Not a day goes by that I don’t wish that she’s here with me now. She would’ve loved him, my person. I know that she will treat him as if he’s her son too. I know that she will cook for him and will tell him about my childhood, and I will be embarrassed, but none of it matters as long as I’m with the people I love.

He and I went through a lot, and we fought hard to be together. We had good days, we had bad days… what I like about our story is that, even if it’s not perfect, it’s beautiful. Our story, even if we face the storm, there’s always a rainbow and the bluest of skies after.

He makes me see the beauty in this world. He makes me look forward to tomorrow, and thankful each night.

The Dream

I was running in the hallway as fast as I could. I could feel that adrenaline rush inside me. I feel excited, but at the same time nervous that I might not make it on time. There were people in the hallway and I try not to bump into anyone. I can’t hear anything but my breath and my heart beating fast. I know I’m getting closer. I’m reaching the end of the hallway. I could see the garden at the end…

She was there sitting on the bench, with him – the man I love. I hugged her so tight, “you’re here! You’re actually here! I can’t believe it mom” I cried and smiled. Two of my hands on her arms, I looked at her, and then to him. I saw him, a huge smile on his face, the smile I adore. And then hugged them both. “Mommy, I can’t believe you’re here, you have no idea how much I’ve missed you”. I felt her hand stroking my hair, “I’m always here. I’m always here.” And she whispered something in my ear…

I looked at her, and I said “wait, mom. I’ll call my sister. She should know you’re here too. Just wait here.” I looked at her and to him “just wait, please. I won’t be long.”

I ran and ran, and when I saw my sister and told her, we ran as fast as we could.

When we got there… she started to fade. It was just him standing. I could see how sorry he was. I came near him, hugged him, and I started to cry…

But I remember what she whispered before I left “when I’m gone, the person who’ll be next to you will be that someone. He’s the one you will love. He will be your life”.

I looked at him. He was smiling and I felt relieved… safe… content… happy…

I woke up.

Present

And next to me, in the real world, it’s still him…right next to me. I touched his face and kissed his forehead.

The song Moon by Sleeping at Last suddenly “played” in my mind.

As I’ve said earlier, I think the memories stored in your hippocampus are the ones that has a great impact in your life.

I write because I want to remember. I write because I don’t want to lose those precious memories in my life. I treasure the seventeen memories I had with my mother. She may be gone, and some of the memories I had with her are starting to be a blur, but I will never forget how she made me feel. The love she gave me and my sister…

My mother have been through a lot, but she always trust God’s plan. That’s one of the things I’ve learned from her. To have faith.

And now, with him in my life… I can’t remember the last time I felt this kind of happiness.

He is my rock, my person… my soulmate.

He is the person who changed everything. Who I love so much. Who is my life.

I love the memories we’ve created so far, and I’m excited for the memories we’ll be making in the future.

He turned around, and hugged me from behind. Our hands intertwined. I smiled, and closed my eyes, “thank you God”.

I feel safe, happy… content… and loved. Wrapped in his arms? That’s my home.

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