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Rosalina opened her eyes from another sleepless night, tired and yet wide awake. She had not fully slept in days, and yet it was having no toll on her- at least physically. Her insomnia was getting worse than ever she thought, silently rising from her bed and making her way to the empty kitchen pondering what shall she make for breakfast. Life has been lonely without her parents; three months had not been enough time for her to get over her loss. She solemnly finished her breakfast and made her way back into her room, brushing her long curly locks and taking a long look at her empty crystal blue eyes. She did not know what today would bring her, she had not seen her friends in over three months and had not kept contact with them- or even said what had happened at all. But they knew, surely they knew, everyone did after all.
She made her way through the bustling hallways, freshmen scared and excited, sophomores, juniors, and seniors greeting their old friends. The first day is always the scariest she thought, ‘don’t be worried,’ she assured herself ‘it’ll all be okay.’ So far no one has recognized her, her face average looking and easily forgettable, or so she thought. Soon enough whispers crowded the hallways, the points, the stares, the looks of pity. She sighed, knowing that her moment of peace was too good to be true.
“Rosalina!” She turned hearing her name. She was engulfed in a huge bear hug by her crying friends, 5 of them to be exact.
“Hey,” She spoke with a fake smile, “what’s up?”
“We heard what happened, and we’re so sorry. Why didn’t you call or tell us anything? We could have helped-”
“It’s fine, I’m fine,” Rosalina interrupted them, “I’m over it, and I honestly rather not talk about it.”
“Listen I really have to get to class, I’m sorry.” She ran off into the hallway.
She wasn’t ready to talk about it yet, it was too soon. She didn’t think she’d ever be able to talk about it. It’s not that she was going to be sad forever. She would move on one day- not fully, but she would find other things that would make her happy, graduation, a husband, the love of a child. These things would occupy the empty spaces in her heart, and make her feel whole again. She knew this; however it felt like those times were still so far away. But she would try to get better, reconnect with her friends one day, but just not now. She wasn’t ready she told herself, just not ready.
Rosalina returned to an empty house yet again. She was long used to the silence but there were days that she missed her father’s shout of “Honey I’m home!” or her mother’s beautiful singing while making sweet pastries. She thought of them often, and memories of them brought sad smiles to her face. She made dinner, chicken fettuccini Alfredo- her father’s favorite. She played her favorite music, classical piano instrumentals while preparing the pasta. The smell engulfed the kitchen and gave the room a melancholy atmosphere. She hummed the rhythm of the notes, while finishing her meal, and then went to her room to finish her homework. She was more tired than usual, which was strange because whenever she went to bed she couldn’t sleep at all. However, this time she fell into a deep sleep.
The clock read 6 P.M
A bright blinding light surrounded her, rapidly flashing everywhere and overwhelming her being. ‘Is this a dream?’ she thought. Confused and startled, she stood as the light subsided. All that was left was a small fragment of that light, it looked like a star. As her surroundings were dim, she decided to head toward that light, surely there must be something at the end of it. Rosalina ran and traveled for days, her dream felt like it was never-ending. What suddenly appeared in front of her made her completely freeze and halt her movement.
Her mother stood in front of her, exactly as she remembered. Long curly hair like her own and beautiful green eyes. With a serene and inviting posture, she greeted Rosalina.
She smiled softly, “Hello darling.”
Rosalina was so shocked and could not form any words. She simply went up to her mother, hugged her and held her tight. A feeling of happiness washed over her as she woke up with happy tears in her eyes.
“It was just a dream,” she looked down at her hands and sighed, “just a dream.”
Her next couple of nights of sleep happened to be dreamless to her surprise. However, that did not mean that they were good ones. She spent those days restless and unfocused. Her friends wondered what was wrong and often asked her for those last couple of days but she did not know what to tell them, for she did not even know herself. On her seventh day however, she had another dream, but this time with her father. It was strange, he looked youthful and happy, his crow’s feet and tired wrinkles gone. It was peaceful. They ran together past meadows, played on children’s playgrounds, and went fishing like they used to. He explained to her that she had some sort of a gift. She had the power to see whatever she most desired in her dreams, her dreams would feel like reality and she would feel actual emotions like true happiness. As he slowly explained this it all started making sense to her, how she couldn’t sleep when she didn’t have a dream or how she awoke happy when she did. She decided that she would dream every night with her parents to cure her sadness from her loss.
Rosalina dreamt soundly for days and days and days without even realizing it. On the third day of sleep she awoke and realized what had happened. She went to school and encountered her friends who were once again worried.
“Where have you been!?” Shrieked the first one.
“I’ve been at home, sleeping.” Rosalina said indifferently.
“Rosalina, can I talk to you alone for a minute?”
Rosalina nodded and headed away from her group of friends to follow her best friend Elsie in a more quiet part of the school.
“I’ve been worried about you,” Elsie ran her fingers through her hair and sighed. “I know you’ve been having a rough time- don’t deny it. Sleeping for three days though? That’s not normal.”
Rosalina thought about this for a moment and gave a sigh of her own, “I know. I don’t mean to worry anyone, it’s just things have been kind of weird for me these last couple of days.”
“What do you mean?”
Rosalina explained to her about her dreams and what her father told her.
“Rose that’s not good, you can’t replace life with a dream. Maybe if you can’t sleep without these dreams you should seek a therapist or something. It’s clear that you have some sort of depression if you can only sleep while dreaming with your parents.”
“I know, maybe I will in a little while. I just want to give myself time to get better. But I won’t sleep for this long again; I’ll try to control it more.
Elsie shrugged, “If you say so.”
Rosalina awoke to a blue sky. She watched as the birds flew by and the forest animals scurried around. She layed in the grass and watched as her parents played with one of her old dogs she had. That’s all she did, watch and enjoy the scenery. She let the breeze hit her face lightly; she woke up with a feeling of refreshment and enjoyment.
The next couple of months went like this, school then home then sleep. She did not spare any time to her friends or anything else. The only thing she looked forward to was to come home and dream of happy times. The ones close to her were concerned and Elsie confronted her once again.
“Rosalina,” Elsie approached her with a serious face.
“Yeah?” She spoke while closing her locker.
“You need help; this has been going on for far too long.”
“What do you mean?” Rosalina asked confusingly, but she knew exactly what she was talking about.
“YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN!” Elsie yelled. People were starting to stare but she didn’t care. These weird- dream things or whatever you’re having! You barely talk anymore, your grades have been falling, and you aren’t even playing piano anymore! How are you supposed to expect your life to get better if you don’t make it better! You’re making excuses, you’re being lazy because you’re afraid to live and experience and enjoy. I’m not going to try to help you anymore, you need to seek help, and you need to help yourself. You need to get over what happened to you all these months ago and move on, it’s not easy, but you haven’t tried to either. You can’t glue yourself to the past.”
Rosalina looked at her with shame; she wiped the tears away from her face and walked away.
‘She’s right you know.’ She thought to herself while staring up at the gloomy sky while walking home. ‘I do need help, I can’t continue to live like this, this isn’t living. It’s about time I looked for solutions.’
With her mind made up, she changed her course and headed towards a recommended therapists office.
Her therapist told her that her dreams were not a power, simply a sign of depression. Since her mind is sad, it creates those dreams because her parents are always in her subconscious. It’s a type of defense mechanism to try to rid her depression. But it only works for a limited time, because when she wakes up she realizes what she desired and got was not real, which made her depression worse over the months. Her therapist told her to go out and start doing things she liked, go meet with friends, watch a movie, eat ice cream. Do happy things to forget about what’s happened. Go to sleep at a normal time and try not to dream with her parents. She followed her advice over a couple of months, and before the end of the year she was completely rid of her depression. She decided however to have one last dream, a sort of farewell to give her a peace of mind. She got dressed and layed in her bed and drifted off to a beautiful dream, the last one she would indulge herself with.
Rosalina opened her eyes to a peaceful setting, a place radiant of white light with trees and birds and a waterfall in the distance. She could see her mother and father standing in the horizon, and she ran with such a blissful feeling, she had not dreamed with them in months and had missed them terribly. She threw her head and laughed freely as she ran, tears of happiness escaping her eyes. She had never felt this peaceful in her whole entire life. She ran into her parents arms and hugged them as tight as she could. They grinned at her and held her tightly. Soft happy tears running down her face she realized, nothing is more beautiful than life. A dream does not misplace reality and dreams do not bring happiness, life does. She would never take advantage of such a beautiful thing ever again. They parted for the last time, however this time they were not sad. They knew they would meet again in another life. Rosalina awoke again from her wondrous dream for the very last time, happy tears in her eyes.
“This is it”
“I’m finally home.”