"I thought that he'd be here!" Rati said into the daisy flower, the petals cupping her mouth.
The morning's drama made her shrink into herself. Her mother's shrieking anger bounced off the limits of her mind, creating even more uncertainty and confusion. Was this reality? Was her mother the dream? The family that tried to reach her with words that seemed like noises. Emptiness. The utter emptiness in which their pleas and threats sounded hollow. The love that they spoke of could not reach her. What was this love that couldn't understand her lonely confusion of so many years?
"Rati? She belongs in dreamland." an aunt said.
"Earth to Rati!" her cousins would shriek, suddenly, as Rati carefully watered plants, feeling an energy that connected her to their sturdy green stems.
"She's a good student, but she gets lost trying to help others. And she day-dreams. Did you know that? I could be screaming and she won't notice. She just looks at me, as if she's waiting for more." her teacher said, exasperatedly.
"The children are just fine when she's around. After she leaves, they're even harder to manage," said the supervisor of a special needs center where Rati volunteered her time. "She seems to be able to communicate with them. She doesn't say a thing! Yet, they understand."
None of this brought her family any peace. Her father let her be. She was special. She could be anything she wanted to be. Including crazy.
Rati did live in her own world. A world full of pain and an unsolved mystery. She had seen Him every single night since she had turned five. He had appeared, in her dreams, as a child of her age, scattering sand on a sea shore, a teenager who looked at her with eyes melting, yearning; she caught glimpses of his profile, straight backed, chest out thrust, disappearing into the mountains. The very mountains that rose in front of her now, encircling the valley where she waited. For that oft glimpsed face, expressions that spoke to something within her.
"I can't explain it Mom!" she had said, pleading for understanding. "I have to go and wait for him. He said that he would come."
"Who is "He", Rati? Who is this person that you keep talking about? I thought it was a childish fantasy. A figment of an over active imagination. But you've carried on with it. You're seventeen now. Get over it, there is a life to be lived! Your education, the few friends that you have...it's all waiting. I'm getting another appointment tomorrow. And I promise to slap another person who declares that there is nothing wrong with you." Her mother turned to her father and said, "It must be some terrible psychosis. Or maybe the beginnings of something worse...we have to stop this!"
Rati's father sipped at his coffee, watching the marigolds gleam outside the kitchen window. The deep blue skies evoking feelings of calm happiness that did not exist in his household. He did not, in all honesty, believe that there was anything wrong with his daughter. His wife and the rest of the family were hell bent on getting Rati help. He watched her, as she ignored the breakfast her mother had plopped in front of her. The only way, he thought, that she would let go of this obsession with a man she had never met, would be to actually wait for him. When he would not show up, she would understand. And, the dreams would stop too. The love and past life connection, that his mother discussed with him before she passed away, could have some bearing, he decided. But he wouldn't tell anyone that. There was a certain quality to his child that did not cater to available logic. She was better off finding her own way. If it involved meeting a strange man in a valley that everyone could see from their windows, so be it!
|pic credit - frederico stevanin;freedigitalphotos.net|
Rati's parents looked at each other; her angry mother never said what really preyed on her peace of mind. What if there really was someone? What would he want to tell her?
As Rati waded through daisy fields, she wondered if the dream was yet another empty one, one that she caused to happen from thinking of it ceaselessly. Of him. Of the soft eyes that called out, or the lips that never moved while she heard, in her mind, the words, "Wait for me tomorrow. I'll be there." He had disappeared into the mountains again.
Morning warmed into the afternoon. The soft grass bore her body, as she dreamed. Only this time, he pulled her into the rocky pass that she could not see from her daisy filled valley. As she stumbled behind him, he turned full face.
Rati's eyes opened in shock. There were no daisies. There was nothing but an orange glow. No field below, roads around her, or houses in the distance. The glow passed through her, as if she were transparent. As if, she thought suddenly, she was like the light particles. As if there was no form to her, nor an identity.
"Doesn't matter now," she said out loud, feeling an unbearable lightness. She flew toward a vortex like everything else around her, and then she saw him. She moved toward him with a single thought and for an instant, nearly merged into his form.
Suddenly, the world righted itself. She sat up, looking around.
The daisy valley had roses. Slight green mounds rose in the distance on an otherwise uninhabited, lush, landscape. He knelt by her side and kissed her.
"You've been gone a long time! Do you remember?" he asked, looking worriedly into her eyes.
Rati stared in confusion.
"You wanted to know. You wanted to know what it was like," he said, the grip on her arm tightening. But his lips didn't move. Like in her dreams. He didn't talk, just spoke with his eyes, and his voice that echoed in her mind.
"Rati, you've forgotten. Of course my lips don't move. You wanted to know life before now. You declared that it was what you wished. The life that our elders deemed so flawed captivated you. You said that we had misunderstood them all and that it was a matter of proving that they could listen. That their minds were open. That consciousness was expansive even then."
His attire was basic enough to make her blush.
"Darling, you're embarrassed? You've been away too long. I told them that I had to keep seeing you, at least in your dreams, otherwise you might be lost in that other world. You've been sending universe petitions since you were a baby. You couldn't understand them. The needs, the noise, the fight and the secrets. I tried to reach out. I'm so glad you're back Rati. Don't be shy! This is your home sweetheart. This is your world!"
Her eyes were still, searching inwardly for answers.
"So much unhappiness and fear," she said, her lips never moving. He melted in relief. "They...they lie. To cheat themselves of truth. They fear the power. The fear the silence. I was so confused! I thought that I lived in a dream!"
"No, child, you did not!" The Elder stood now, hovering over the ground that anchored Rati. "It was no dream. Just a view of the life that came before ours. The fear that caused their existence to crumble. The power over others they sought rather than power over themselves. Rise, you belong here Rati. You belong with us."
As Rati rose, hovering over the ground with Him by her side, she thought of those who were still different in that other world.
"We will try to bring them. Perhaps we can, though only after their time is up. But they must be kept hopeful." The Elder said, looking meaningfully at the two beings in front of him.
That night, after searching frantically for his daughter, Rati's father slept fitfully on the couch. They would find her, he thought, determinedly ignoring his chest pains. He smiled, unconsciously relaxing as he dreamt of her, holding hands with a soft-eyed, straight backed man.
She seemed to glide toward him as he heard, "I'm fine Daddy. Everything is alright now. Wait for me. I'll be in the daisy valley tomorrow." She disappeared into the mountains with the man
Even as the family tried to deal with Rati's disappearance, her father vanished too. Rati's mother screeched her anger and dismay, insisting on some terrible outcome. Others began to dream of the valley. They began to camp out there in groups. Somehow, they fell asleep and awoke to find one of them missing. It was usually someone termed the craziest among them.
The daisies grew with abandon. The grass grew greener than anywhere else. And even if they didn't disappear, people came back with a different sense of life.
They walked feeling like they hovered over the ground.
Unburdened and suffused with light.
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