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Views: 1633 Created: 2009.11.21 Updated: 2009.11.21

Zeke and Lily - Making a Memory

Chapter 11

“It’s okay,” Zeke said, supportively. “You can tell me anything.”

The abdominal pain had worsened. A slight sweat had broken out over her body and she was getting a little light-headed.

“I can see this is really tough for you,” Zeke said. “But trust that I will understand whatever it is that you tell me.”

She was getting dizzy and took one step forward, bumping into his chest. She stepped back and began to speak when she collapsed on the beach.

To be continued …

Continuing …

Lily opened her eyes to find herself sitting on the floor in a completely white room. The walls, the floor, and the ceiling were all white. There were no windows or doors. She had pigtails, wearing the nightie Zeke often dressed her in for naps or bed time, and a diaper. Her feet were bare.

A man sat on a chair across the room. She wasn’t afraid of him and for some reason recognized him.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“My name?” he asked back in a gentle voice.

He stood up. He was at least 6’6” tall and was a tall, slender individual. He had long blonde hair and wore a white suit. He slowly crossed over to her and knelt before her.

“I have no name,” he said.

“Why not?” she asked. “Do I know you from somewhere?”

The man smiled warmly.

“Do you know me from somewhere,” he said with a slight chuckle. “I should hope so. Much like you elf friend, Mr. Woody, I am a creation of your active imagination.”

Suddenly, the white room changed into a forest. Lily and the man were now sitting and kneeling under a tree. Lily sat up, a little startled and confused.

“What just happened?”

“The scenery changed,” the man said. “Your mind just changed it. This must be a more comfortable setting for you.”

“What do you mean my mind just changed it? Where am I?” she said, looking around the forest. “What is this place?”

“You are inside your own subconscious mind,” he said.

“Well … where is the rest of me? Where’s my body?” she asked, now more confused than ever.

“Your body is currently in a hospital,” he explained.

“Am I dead?” she asked. “The last thing I remember I was standing on the beach.”

“No. You’re not dead,” he continued to explain. “You were taken to a hospital. Your vital signs were good, yet you remain unconscious. You are resting peacefully, but your mind is racing with visions and dreams.”

“And you are one of my visions and I am having one of my dreams?” she asked, starting to piece it together.

“Correct,” he answered.

“And what is your purpose?” she asked.

“Just like Mr. Woody, I come from the part of your brain that creates dreams,” he explained. “So I suppose my purpose is to make dreams for you.”

“Then I’ll call you DreamMaker,” she said. “What are we to do in this dream?”

“You are struggling to overcome an illness,” he said, standing up. “You also need to reveal this illness to someone you love very deeply and you’ve lost your confidence to do so. I am here to help you get your confidence back.”

“How?” she asked, as he helped her to her feet.

“You’ve overcome a lot of struggles in your life,” he said, as he tucked her hand under his right elbow and began walking towards the nearby stream. “I’m going to help you remember how you dealt with struggles in your past.”

They stopped at the edge of the stream.

“Take a look at your reflection in the water and tell me what you see,” he said.

Lily knelt down and looked into the water.

“I see my mother holding me,” she said as a smile came across my face. “On the day I came home from the hospital. I was three days old.”

She covered her mouth with hand as her eyes welled up with tears.

“She looked so young and healthy,” Lily remarked.

Visions formed in the water of her bedroom when she was little. It had the Disney® Princess theme all over the place, Barbie® toys and of course, the heavily-present color of pink. Everything had its place and everything was always in its place. Lily was a bit of a fanatic about being neat.

“You often escaped to your bedroom to be alone,” the DreamMaker said. “Do you remember why?”

“To escape having to listen to Mom and Dad fight,” she sadly admitted. “He was very mean sometimes and when he drank, he yelled. Mom got tired of it after a while and began yelling back at him. It was horrific.”

“But you found safety in school,” he said, taking his hand over the water and changing the image.

“Through the settling ripples, she could see her elementary school. It was an afternoon in the early fall. School had ended, yet Lily sat on a swing, all alone.

“You didn’t want to go home when school ended each day, for good reason,” he said.

“I remember spending time on the playground by myself after school,” she said as she sadly stared at the image in the water. “I always wished someone would push me on those swings…I remember the day I sat there so long that my Dad had to drive to the school to pick me up. I thought for a moment as he got out of the car that he might come over and push me on the swings, but he was not happy at all. He drove me home, scolding me all the way and telling me what a waste of time I was. He was really cold-hearted.”

“Not everyone thought that way about you,” the DreamMaker said, taking his hand over the water once again and changing the image.

The ripples lessened and an image of Lily standing at her middle school locker formed. A young boy walked up next to her. She shut her locker, planting her back to it and looking up at him with evidence of a longing crush in her eyes.

“Do you remember…” started the DreamMaker, only to be cut off.

“…Jeremiah Goodling,” she interrupted. “He was larger than life to me…for two weeks, until he started liking someone else.”

“And how did you handle that heartbreak?” he asked.

“I went back into school and held my head high,” she stated proudly.

“It’s interesting that your love interests always have biblical names,” the DreamMaker pointed out as Lily smiled. “But your mother always loved you and always cared for you, keeping you out of harm’s way as best she could.”

The DreamMaker took his hand over the water once more, revealing Lily sitting by the side of her mother’s hospital bed. Her mother was very ill and appeared to have been weakened by the treatments she had undergone.

“I didn’t think she was going to live through that,” she said. “Her leukemia was so advanced by the time she got treatment, I thought she would die from it.”

“And how did you handle the situation?” he asked.

“I began to care for her as she had done for me all my life,” Lily said proudly. “Dad was almost always drunk by that point and he was either asleep or not at home. It made it easy for me to give Mom the care she needed.”

“And your care for her aided in her recovery,” the DreamMaker remarked. “Do you see a theme forming here, Lily? Every time you have been faced with a challenge in your life, you made a decision or did something that made you stronger.”

“But I’ve always made those decisions on my own,” Lily said. “I never had to rely on anyone like I do now.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“My father cheated on Mom. She eventually found out, but never let me know. And she waited until I graduated high school and made the decision to move out on my own before getting a divorce,” she said, sadly. “You want to talk about struggles? That was a struggle…just finding a way to get by. That was a lonely and sad time in my life.”

“And yet again, you rose above that struggle with a strength you didn’t have before,” the DreamMaker replied.

“Yes, but my emotions started to get hardened, just in time for my own illness to arrive,” she said.

“Yes it did,” he said, taking his hand over the water to reveal Lily sitting in a doctor’s office. “What did they tell you?”

“They said they didn’t know what it was yet, but every indication made them believe I could be terminal. It was too early in the testing to know,” she said.

“And what did you do to handle that situation?” the DreamMaker asked.

“I began to reflect on my life and decided I would purse the one thing that was absent in my life … a loving Daddy,” she said.

“And this led to your internet searches,” the DreamMaker replied, as he took his hand over the water, revealing Zeke and Lily sitting at Damon’s Grille at the Park City Mall in Lancaster, PA.

Lily smiled and touched her fingertips to her cheeks.

“That was the day we met, face-to-face,” she said, watching the screen with longing eyes.

“He seemed to fall right into place at the right time,” the DreamMaker. “That night your mind was racing with thoughts of the future. You made a lot of us work overtime, trying to rationalize all the emotions you felt before they overwhelmed you.”

Lily laughed through her tears at his light-hearted joke. It was a much needed tension-breaking moment.

“We haven’t always been so lucky to stay ahead of your thought,” the DreamMaker added.

“I don’t want to lose him,” she said, staring at the reflection of Zeke in the water. “I can’t lose him. I think I’d die if he wasn’t in my life.”

“And that’s why you fear telling him of your illness,” he said.

She nodded her head and covered her face with her hands as she sobbed. The DreamMaker knelt down beside her. She collapsed into his chest, hugging him.

“Lily, you found him, you talked with him, you dated him, you spent that night at his place where he opened up a world of fantasy for you, and he took you on a vacation where you’ve been in his gentle care every day and night,” he said. “What makes you believe he’ll leave you?”

She sat up and wiped her eyes for a moment, trying to regain her composure.

“When you find someone you love and that person becomes someone you need, you begin to cling to them, desperately,” she admitted. “Then in your quieter moments, you replay all the mistakes you’ve made and all the horrible things you’ve said and all the horrible ways you’ve acted towards him, and you begin to fear when he will leave you, saying he’s had enough.”

“And …?” the DreamMaker replied.

“I know I should’ve told him about this a long time ago,” she admitted. “It feels like I’ve lied to him by not telling him.”

“I see,” the DreamMaker said as he touched her forehead and they left the forest, being transported to the beach where she collapsed. It was nighttime.

Lily looked around quickly.

“I’m back in the Bahamas,” she said, looking up at him.

“Yes, you are,” he said, helping her to her feet. “And there’s a friend sitting over on those rocks who would like to talk to you.”

She looked over at the rocks sticking up in the middle of the beach to see a little silhouette sitting there waiting.

“It’s Mr. Woody!” she said.

“And he’s waiting for you,” the DreamMaker said. “Take care of yourself, Lily.”

“You have to go?” she asked, quickly hugging him.

“Yes,” he said, returning the hug.

“Will I ever see you again?” she asked, squeezing him tightly.

“Whenever you want,” he said as the hug ended. “I’ll see you in your dreams.”

Lily waved goodbye as she saw the DreamMaker turning and walk away, fading into the night. She walked up to rocks.

“Mr. Woody?” she said, looking up at him.

“There you are, LilyGirl,” Mr. Woody said in a cheery voice as he turned to look at her. “Come up. Come up.”

She climbed up and sat next to him.

“I love watching the ocean at night,” he said. “It’s not cluttered with people, yet it’s still busy.”

“I love the nighttime beach strolls Zeke took me on,” she said. “I guess I won’t be seeing these beaches anymore.”

“Oh? You’re never coming back to the Bahamas?” he asked.

“I think I know what happened,” she said, sadly. “I collapsed on the beach and died, didn’t I?”

“Yes, you did,” he said.

“Am I waiting to get into Heaven now?” she asked. “Have I been good enough in life to even get into Heaven?”

“Sure you have,” Mr. Woody reassured her. “You had a heart of pure innocence and love. Sometimes the good die young.”

“At least I was good enough to die,” she said sadly, brushing a tear away from her eye.

“Everybody dies, LilyGirl, but not everybody is good enough to die young,” he said. “And fortunately … you are not good enough to die young.”

“What?” she asked, looking at him with total confusion. “You just said I died when I collapsed on this beach!”

“Yes, I did say that. You did, in fact, die when you collapsed on this beach,” he said. “But you didn’t stay dead.”

“Huh? How?” she asked.

“How I show you what happened,” he said. “Watch over there where you were standing with Zeke.”

She looked over where they were standing and an image of Zeke and she appeared.

“Now, right when you were about to tell him about your illness, you felt woozy, didn’t you?” Mr. Woody asked.

“Yeah?” she replied, studying the image of herself on the beach as it waivered and collapsed.

“Now watch?” Mr. Woody said.

Zeke dropped to his knees and checked her pulse. In a lightning quick fashion, he dug his cell phone out her diaper bag and dialed 911. He hung up the phone, constantly checking her pulse before he performed CPR on her. A minute went by with no response from her, yet Zeke never stopped trying.

The look on his face became more and more desperate as he compressed her chest and blew air into her lungs. The duress on his face worsened the longer she lied on the sand, unresponsive. Finally, as if commanded by God, her heart started pumping again, weakly yet steadily. Tiny breaths started flowing in and out of her mouth. As if she were made of glass, Zeke gently picked her body up and cradled her in his arms, pressing her closely to him so he could feel her every single beat of her heart as if it were her last.

“He just watched you die, LilyGirl, and then he brought you back to life with his own hands,” Mr. Woody said to her. “Do you think that anything you may need to tell him at this point will shock him to the point where he will leave you?”

Lily stared at the image of Zeke as he cradled the image of her fallen body. He rocked back and forth gently. Tears streamed down each of his cheeks so heavily that his face had become stained by them. The look of trauma on his face frightened her. For the first time, she believed.

“No,” she said, watching the paramedics arrive and have to pry his arms from her body as they tended to her. “He’s not going to leave me, is he?”

“LilyGirl, I may just be an elf. I may only be six inches tall, but I know what I’m talking about,” Mr. Woody said. “And I have repeatedly told you again and again and again that your fella guy isn’t going to run away. You really need to listen to Mr. Woody sometimes, young lady.”

“Where are they taking me?” she asked watching the paramedics cart her off on a makeshift gurney.

“To get medical attention,” he answered. “And as I told you early this morning, everything else will take its course. It will begin right here.”

“Yes, but I didn’t think you meant literally right here,” she said. “You also told me on my final night on the cruise ship that six days from then, as I board back onto that ship, my life would have changed in a manner I wouldn’t expect.”

“No, my dear. I told you six days from the, as you boarded back not this ship, you’re life would have changed in a manner you wouldn’t expect.” Mr. Woody said. “But that doesn’t matter now. You survived the greatest struggle of your life. Now you must face the greatest struggle of your heart. It’s time for you to return to consciousness.”

He stood up and touched her forehead with a finger. Her eyes closed and she was transported back to her body.

To Be Concluded…

(That’s right “Concluded” not Continued. The final chapter and the conclusion to “Zeke and Lily – Making a Memory” is forthcoming.)