October 30, 2011

Only little cozy things secure inside their dreamland…

It's Christmas time and the mall is filled with people. I'm staring up at the blinking lights of the sparkling Christmas tree. It is probably close to 25 ft tall, but because of my much smaller stature, it seems mountainous, I can barely see the top. At it's base, it is surrounded at its base by piles of fake snow and presents, each in color coordinating wrapping paper and bows. The rich golds and metallic reds and forest greens reflect the twinkling lights from above-it is looks like a dream, a picturesque Christmas fantasy.

I am pulled from my reverie by my mother gently tugging at my hand, urging me to follow her into the department store. I am in elementary school and my brother is just barely a toddler, following behind us a few steps, causing us to wait every few seconds before he catches up. He continues to get lost in the crowd, my mother pulling him arm to speed up his pace as we begin to browse through the racks of dresses and shoes. My brother and I entertain each other-playing in the racks, darting in between the harried customers picking up last minute gifts.

Eventually, my mother realizes we must go to the second floor of the store. We navigate through the throngs of people, cutting in between them as they wait to check out with their purchases, until we come to the elevator.

It is packed with people, between the bags and the people themselves, the three of us are barely able to fit. But we manage to squeeze in and take the quick ride up one floor. As the doors open, the force of the people getting off behind us pushes us into the hallway. My mom begins walking towards the home wares, with me falling into line behind her.

I turn around to make sure my brother has done the same, and as I do, I notice the doors to the elevator closing. He is in the far corner of the elevator, distracted by the lights on the ceiling and the Christmas music being pumped through the speakers. I go to grab him, but the door shuts-dividing us.

Frantically, I push the button on the side of the elevator, over and over again, willing it to come back. The few minutes it takes to make a round trip feel like hours, every second spent agonizing, hoping he is in the same place when the doors open again.

Finally, I hear the "ding" of the elevator making it's stop and as the doors open, I scan the crowd.

He's not.

Suddenly, I'm awake. My breathing is hurried and shallow. No longer in the idyllic Christmas store, but safely in my own bed. I can hear my parents watching television on the other side of the house, as my brother snores softly in his room next to mine.

When we leave later that day to do some shopping, my brothers hand remains firmly held in mine. I'm not taking any chances.


May said...

I hate nightmares! Always...it is always like yours. Someone I love is hurt or lost. I hate it! But...your writing was terrific because it stirred up this strong reaction in me!

Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy said...

Wow...you described this so vividly. I felt I was living it with you...or dreaming it with you. Such a scary thought! Great job at bringing it to life...and thanks for linking up!

Anonymous said...

Oh god, yes, I once got lost in a clothing rack in the department store. I don't even remember it. My Mom says it felt like forever. I really felt so connected with you, the little girl responsible for her brother. And I loved the conclusion - that you weren't taking any chances, like maybe the dream was a warning of what might have been. Great post! I found you through The Lightning Bug's Dare to Share linkup.

And on an unrelated note - I love your blog's name.

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