My Life In Dreams
It was a warm, humid day in late August and Elise was in her kitchen, wrapping the two trays of fruit she had prepared for her small get together. She smiled as she thought of the fun day ahead. It had been 3 months since she had spent a day with her closest girlfriends. In May, Tina had asked the group of women if they thought it would be fun to have a picnic at the local park. “We can each bring something to eat, and have the whole afternoon to talk and hang out together!” Angela thought they could rent one of the shelters, as it would be nice to have shade and extra picnic tables. Jennifer and Lisa enthusiastically agreed. “I’ll bring the fresh fruit, but it would be great to have some cheese, french bread and wine,” Elise hinted to her friends. The five women finished discussing the details and agreed to keep in touch over the next few months to finalize the details.
August arrived quickly, and Elise could not believe how busy the last few months had been. Work had kept her busy, with constant projects and deadlines. She welcomed this day with a sense of relief, as today was the first day of a two-week vacation. Elise looked around her kitchen, mentally taking notes of the housekeeping she needed to catch up on over the next few days. She sighed and picked up her car keys, then headed to her car.
The women met at the local park shelter and set up their meal. They dined on gourmet cheese, fresh fruit, delicious french bread, and wine. They talked about the days when they were younger; all the pranks they had played and gotten away with in high school, and the trial and error while becoming adults. Elise patted her face with the back of her hand, “I can’t believe how humid it is today, I’m sweating a lot and It seems like it’s getting warmer by the minute!” she exclaimed. Tina warned her friends “My husband told me this morning that we could be in for some rough weather later this afternoon and evening." The women agreed they would pack up within the hour and head home, as they were all feeling drained from the heat and humidity. The hour passed quickly and Elise began to feel a strange sense of urgency. She excused herself saying she had some errands to run before heading home. She gathered her trays and purse and walked quickly to her car. The sedan responded beautifully to her commands, and sped quietly along the main highway. Her thoughts began to race past the hours of reminiscing with friends to the feeling she was having at that very moment. Never before had she felt so strange; it was as if she subconciously knew she needed to be somewhere, but was consciously unaware of exactly where that was supposed to be.
Thirty minutes later, Elise pulled her car into a driveway lined with oak trees. She stepped out of the car and took in a deep breath, smelling the sweet scent of late summer flowers in the air. She marveled at the height of the ancient trees, and her gaze moved past the canopy-covered driveway to the lush greenery of the hillside surrounding her. A sense of peace came over her, and she turned around to face the old house. The wide steps led to a screened-in porch that covered the entire front of the house. The white paint was peeling and the wood was weathered gray. The landscaping was in desperate need of some loving care and Elise nearly tripped from the underbrush while walking towards the house. The screen door creaked as she opened it and took her first steps into the porch. Her eyes immediately traveled upward as she gazed at the 18 foot ceiling. Remnants of a nest, most likely from yellow jackets, hung near the ceiling fan. “The bees are terrible this summer, we will have to be careful until we get rid of them” Elise’s uncle Richard had indicated to her father earlier during the season. “They must have taken care of the problem” she thought, noting the absence of the pesky bees as she carefully stepped toward the entryway door and grasped the old metal knob.
Upon entering, her eyes lit up as she took in the rich, wood floors, and soft, wine colored rugs scattered throughout the kitchen. The granite counter tops glistened from a recent cleaning. Elise spotted a large box filled with her grandmothers summer dishes sitting on the kitchen table “Dad must have forgotten to put this away before he left.” She glanced toward the window and could still picture her Grandmother standing there, looking out the window, making one of her delicious meals, and talking with her grandchildren. A look of sadness briefly touched her face, and then she remembered that even though her grandparents were both gone now, the family was able to keep the old home and the wonderful memories it contained. They had been fortunate that the family had plenty of money to update the kitchen last year, as well as the rest of the home. All that was left were exterior, cosmetic updates, but there was something so comforting about the peeling white paint and gray, weathered siding. “I hope they leave it this way as long as they can” she thought to herself as she walked toward the kitchen window.
She stared out the window at the rolling hills, blessed with summer greenery. A bank of low, dark clouds loomed in the distance. Realizing there was a storm coming and she would need to stay inside, Elise eyed the kitchen to see if there was anything she could do to prepare for autumn at the “cabin” as the family now called it. She smiled and anticipated the fall weekends that her parents and sisters would spend there; hot, spiced cider simmering on the stove, coupled with the warm inviting glow of the fireplace and the love and laughter of family.
“It’s so peaceful and there really is no reason that I can’t stay here tonight” she thought to herself. Glancing at her watch, Elise realized it was getting close to dinner, so she reached into her pocket only to find her cell phone was still in the car “I had better let someone know where I am tonight.” She turned toward the window again and gasped; an angry, black cloud swirled from a mile away, ripping trees and churning its way directly toward the cabin. It was coming so fast, Elise knew there was no time to get in her car and outrun the tornado, or even to get her phone. She panicked, “What am I going to do? Nobody knows where I am right now, so If I make it out of this alive, I will be stuck here for days!” A sense of dread fell over her, and she ran toward the steps to the lowest level of the cabin. She cringed, regretting the family’s decision to enclose the entire north wall of the lower level in glass. Sure, it allowed for unmatched views of the countryside, but all that glass was going to go somewhere from the wind and debris. As she reached the lower level floor, Elise bolted around a corner, looking down a long hallway, and then to her left at the small closet door that was hidden behind the steps she had descended just a few moments before. “Where do I go?” she thought to herself as she heard the wind howling, getting closer. She reached for the door in front of her, knowing the small closet was the best place for her to go. She knew there were only seconds to go until the storm would engulf the house. To be Continued…