When I got to the bus stop, the bus was still waiting there. I was actually surprised because it usually leaves 10 minutes earlier than when I arrived. Just as I stepped onto the bus, the driver followed right behind me, still talking on his cell phone. It sounded like he was talking to his wife. I heard him say, “Well sugar, I got to get going now, running a little bit late. I love you and I can’t wait to eat a wonderful late dinner with you.” I then heard yelling on the phone and it sounded like she was saying, “Don`t you dare hang up! You bastard!`` He then quickly hung up the phone and turned it off.
I was not sure what to make of this predicament, as I always thought the bus driver was kind of mean, but according to his wife it sounded like he was the devil. At first I thought he must have been a real jerk for her to yell at him like that but then I turned back around to the front of the bus, and tapped him on the shoulder. He had the saddest looking eyes I had ever seen. I decided to give him the flowers. He either needed it or his wife desperately did. I thought he was going to give me heck for standing up on the bus and bothering him but he grinned from ear to ear, and said very sweetly, ``Thank you.`` I knew then that he needed and perhaps deserved the flowers more than my mother did.
Again, Stacy saved me a seat, even though I was late. ``You’re late. I almost gave your seat up for a chocolate bar, you’re lucky, `` she said to me with a smirk on her face.
``Thanks. I had some things to do after gym class. ``
``Oh yeah, what are these things you speak of?” she asked curiously, with one eyebrow raised as usual.
I couldn’t think of an answer so I just said, “Well I will tell you tomorrow, I feel pretty tired.” And I was actually tired, so I wasn’t lying.
“Okay. I will let you get away with it this time, but no more, you hear me?” she said with slight sarcasm. She always liked to pretend to give me heck. Maybe it made her feel powerful because she couldn’t get away with it with anyone else. Or maybe she just found it fun, as did I.
I played along, “Okay, I agree. Can I have the window seat, so I can take a bit of a nap?”
As she stood up, she said, “Sure thing Liz, anything for you.” She seemed disappointed that she had to move, but agreed probably because she got the window seat in the morning. Not many things in our lives are fair, so we try to keep things between us fair. That way we know there is at least a 50% chance of getting what we want. Well, when it comes to matters between us anyways.
I plopped down beside the window and, as the side of my head rested on the cold glass, I fell asleep. Normally I can’t sleep very well on the bus with the hard window against my face and all of the bumps along the way, but my eyes were so heavy that I could not help but fall into a deep sleep.
This time my dream didn’t have any “travelling” involved. I dreamt that Todd and I announced to my parents that we were getting married. The dream was incredibly joyous. All of my family was inviting, kind and extremely happy about the announcement. My mom was not drinking and my father did not have a dark cloud over his head. My brothers and sisters seemed more than content, and my sisters were fighting over who was going to be my maid of honour. I could remember every detail of it.
Todd looked similar except now he had a 5 o’clock shadow and he was even taller than he was now. I also looked the same, except pudgier, and my skin was glowing and my hair looked healthier. Most people always comment on how frail and pale I look. I often get the comment, “Oh, you look sick, are you okay?” And usually I am not sick at all, well not physically anyways. But in my dream I looked healthier, happier and more beautiful than ever. My family also looked healthier and happier. This dream was presenting to me a miracle. I believed in miracles, but not ones that can change people so drastically.
As soon as I made the announcement, my mom came up to me, looked me in the eyes with her eyes watering, and said, “I am very proud of you, and you make me proud to be your mom. I knew you would find someone who would have a heart as big as yours.” I started crying, and my sisters came over and created a big group hug around me, while saying things like, “You deserve this”, “Your beautiful”, “We love you”. In my dream, I expected these reactions, as if my relationships with my mother and the rest of my family were healed with unconditional love.
I woke up with tears running down my face and a big smile. “Oh my gosh, Liz. Are you okay?”
“I am amazing. I had such an incredible dream. Everything was perfect Stacey, everything!” I exclaimed to her with warm tears still streaming against my cheeks. A few people around us glanced over, but it did not bother me. Nothing could steal this feeling away from me.
“It was just a dream Liz, you know that right?” Stacey asked with a suspicious look on her face, like she thought I had gone crazy.
“Yes, of course Stac. But I feel like it could be real, that it could happen. I feel it in my heart.”
“Feel what Liz? What did you dream about?” This time she asked in a curious and exited manner.
I looked into her eyes with the utmost compassion and said quietly, “Love, Stacy. Love. Unconditional, pure, happy, overflowing love.” I said as I raised my arms up into the air.
Her eyes became teary as she asked, “From who? Your family?”
“Yes. From my family, and what felt like the whole world. It does seem impossible and this is why I had never even tried to imagine it before, but it felt so real. So real, that it has made me believe Stacey.” It felt as if my heart was filling up after being dehydrated for hundreds of years. I couldn’t believe what I was feeling or saying! A part of me always believed it could happen but maybe just to other people and not me. My dream showed me what it would look like if the people in my life opened up their hearts and changed. I now had a brand new hope- a hope that would encourage my family to come to this place of joy and love.
“Well, I don’t know if I can believe Liz. And even though I desire that too, so badly, it still seems impossible to me. You better wake up Liz, it is your stop next.”
I was saddened by Stacy’s response. I was hoping that I had an impact on her because I felt if I could dream that vividly about it, it must be possible. After discovering what I already had about the other dimensions, this ultimate dream seemed closer to reality than it ever had before. As soon as I got off the bus, I stopped on the side of the road in a field and sat down in the grass to pray. I didn’t know why but I felt I had to, that it was absolutely necessary. I mostly prayed for Stacey. I prayed for her to have that same dream, that she too can be filled with and surrounded by a very incredible love.
I was walking up our laneway when I noticed a tree that was not there before. I thought that maybe it wasn’t our laneway because there was so many in the outskirts of town that looked identical. I looked back at our mailbox to check if it was bright orange and after assuring myself that it was, I concluded that it certainly was our laneway. The tree was not that big but it was not very small either. In fact, it was the perfect sitting tree. I climbed up to test it out and, as I predicted, it was indeed a comfortable tree to sit in. I decided to wait there until my other siblings came home. They always showed up later because the junior high school and high school were located farther away than the elementary school. Sometimes they didn’t even show up until dinner time, because they hung out with friends after school.
The first to show up was my brother Jordan, since he was the only one in junior high. I was going to call out to him and walk home with him but I decided to sit quietly in the tree, instead, to see if he would notice I was there. Of course he didn’t, since he was too busy inventing new dance moves while listening to hip hop music on his iPod. He acted like he was a big city guy, when really he grew up on the outskirts of a very small town. It was very amusing to me, and I started to laugh. On the other hand, I was slightly impressed by some of his dance moves. I thought he definitely had potential.
Maybe listening to music and dancing is how he kept is more happy-go-lucky attitude. I always thought it was just his pure denial of our family life, but maybe he was more aware than I thought and he just chose to not let it bother him as much. In that moment I gained a little more respect for Jordan, and as a result I made a promise to myself that I would dance and listen to music more often. It definitely seemed to make him happy, so I thought I would give it a try.
Next were my two oldest sisters, Samantha and Christine. I couldn’t hear clearly what they were talking about, but I could tell it was something juicy. I could hear a few guys’ names, ones that I have heard before. They kept giggling as well, so it must have been about some guys they liked. I thought that maybe they had spotted me because they continued to talk in very low tones, but they had not even looked up once. I then concluded that it must really be serious gossip if they were taking extra precautions.
A part of me was jealous of their closeness. They trusted each other more than the cycle of the sun rising and setting every day. There was nobody in my life that I could trust that much, not even Stacey. I mostly told her family secrets because she understood and she would most likely find out anyways, but a part of me did not trust her completely, nor did I believe we would be there for each other forever. I knew it was a passing blessing. But my sisters’ trust for each other was undoubtedly an eternal blessing. I wondered if they would ever let me into their circle of trust or if I would be an outcast forever. I think my other sister, Ruth, felt the same way, which is probably why she kept to herself so much. Her situation is even worse because there is no one that she confides in. I wished that my older sisters would reach out to her even if though they don’t reach out to me.
I, on the other hand, had to look in other places for guidance and trust, and that guidance and trust usually came from Mother Earth and all of her creatures. The surreal tree that I am sitting in spoke to me about its own secrets. I knew, no matter what I told that tree, it would not tell the wind passing by, the clouds above, the grass below nor the squirrel resting in it. It would most certainly not tell any humans. Even so, I could not help wondering what it would be like to have that type of connection with another human. I was jealous of my sisters for having the connection I so desperately craved.
Instead of embracing that negative feeling, I thought it best to just let it pass. I found that jealousy does not do any good, and never gets you what you want. For example, I was always jealous of other people’s families and the love they seemed to have, but all of these years of jealousy had only made my life miserable. So, instead of continuing to be jealous of my sisters, I decided to admire and love them.
I looked down the lane to see if my other sister, Ruth was coming, but I didn’t see her anywhere. I hoped that she was just getting a ride from one of her friends and not up in her room still sleeping, but most likely it was the latter.
While waiting for my brothers to show up, I waited peacefully in the tree. Matt went to the community college that was in the larger city of Vancouver just a half hour to 45 minutes away. Jamie also worked in the city, and was supposed to be staying home, but he preferred to just hang out in the library or with his friends then be at home and I certainly didn’t blame him. Matt’s day of classes ended earlier than any of the other schools, but since it was farther away, they got home around the same time.
Just as I started to drift off to sleep, I heard a very loud booming noise from a distance. It was so loud that it shook the tree I was in. Just then I spotted a red sports car speeding in my direction. I expected it to fly by, but it halted to a screeching stop at the end of the laneway. My two brothers hopped out the car and started running down the laneway as the car bolted off.
As they passed me, they were laughing hysterically, pushing each other and trying to run but kept stumbling over their own feet. They looked so ridiculous that I started laughing hysterically too. A few moments later my brother Jamie stopped dead in his tracks. He then whispered to Matt. They both turned their heads, looking right in my direction. They started to run towards the tree. Neither of them said my name or anything, so I did not know if they had seen me yet or not, but when they approached the tree my brother Matt called out, “Holy crap! Liz? Is that you? And wow! Did you grow this tree yourself because I do not remember it being here before, do you bro?”
“No way man, this definitely was not here before. And you know what?... Liz definitely wasn’t living in a tree before!” He smacked Matt’s back and we all laughed uncontrollably at Jamie’s lame sarcasm. Matt even began to jump up and down with unexpected excitement.
I slowed down to take a breath then said, “Yeah, I thought I was the only one that noticed! And I definitely didn’t think you guys would notice me sitting up here. The others just walked right by!”
“Well, we wouldn’t have either, if it weren’t for Jamie’s freakishly good hearing. Man, were you a dog in your last life? Oh wait. You still are one! Ha!” Matt again began laughing, except this time he was the only one.
Jamie’s eyebrows pushed together as he said, “Yeah, okay Matt. Maybe I was a dog, but at least I wasn’t a pig like you!”
Matt stopped laughing, stood up straight and scratched his head, “I don’t get it.”
“You aren’t supposed to get it dumb ass. I am just saying that you act like a dirty pig, that’s all.” Jamie then looked at me, half smiled and shook his head while pointing his thumb (hitchhiker style) at Matt.
“Oh. Well uh, yeah… there is some truth to that.” Matt said as he nodded in agreement.
“I am sorry to break up this incredibly intelligent conversation but I think we should head home now.” I prompted.
“Good thinking, sis. Hey! Want a piggy back ride, for old time’s sake? Damn, I just called myself a pig! Haha” Again Matt was the only one laughing.
I now thought for sure he had been drinking, but instead of questioning I just smiled and said, “Will you be able to carry me Matt? You looked like you could barely walk just a few moments ago.” I said as I finally hopped down from the tree.
Matt pulled his sleeves up, flexed his biceps and said, “Are you kidding me? Of course, you see these muscles? Come here, I’ll prove it to you!” He then crouched down waiting for me to hop on his back
I rolled my eyes then walked closer to him nervously. I then realized most of my good memories usually involved his silliness. When I was only a toddler he used crawl around the floor and pretend to be my horse. It never failed to make me giggle. Remembering these past memories and smiling, my inhibitions faded and I hopped up on his back. Immediately I slipped and grabbed tightly to his shirt. “Wow! Hold on there Liz. You ready?!” He said with a burst of enthusiasm.
“Ready as I will ever be!” I called out. We dashed off down the lane towards the house. I thought for sure I was going to fall off, but we both held on tight and made it to the house. Matt practically threw me off his back and then collapsed on the ground. “Phew. That was harder than I thought it was going to be, but I made it, didn’t I?”
“Haha. Yeah, you sure did. That was fun, want to do it again?” I asked, just trying to get him going.
Matt’s eyes grew as big as pancakes as he said still trying to catch his breath, “One time was enough for you. You are lucky I did it the first time.”
“I was only kidding Matt, but thanks for the fun while it lasted.”
“No problem!” he said then fell back onto the grass again. As we were talking, my brother Jamie was walking slowly behind us laughing the whole time. “You really out did yourself this time Matt! Haha. That was awesome.” When Matt didn’t answer, Jamie turned to me and whispered, “Is he dead?”
I giggled then replied, “No. I think I just tired him out.”
“Well come on, lazy ass. You too Liz, let’s go inside.”
“Okay. C’mon Matt, before dad gets home.”
It looked as if he rose up from the dead, as he said, “Alright, alright, I’m coming.”
When we got into the house we all went our separate ways as if we were all strangers that had met for the first time. Although our interactions might be childish, I knew if I was going to spend any time with them, I would have to participate in whatever crazy activity they had up their sleeves. Unlike my two oldest sisters, they did not divulge in their personal experiences or secrets, or even other people; they made lots of jokes, and played sports together. It was their way of showing their love to each other, and anyone else for that matter. I think that’s because it was safe. If they tried to express any feelings, my dad would give them heck, call them girls, then give them a good smack.
I usually always felt sorry that they could never express their feelings, but I found out they were expressing their feelings, just in very different ways. I actually felt privileged today because they included me, and that meant to me that they didn’t forget about me, and they still loved me.
I was still confused about that tree. I have no idea where it came from, and even my brothers saw it, so I knew it couldn’t be something I just created. I wondered also if Oochoo or Goasila put it there, as if they wanted me to sit there and wait patiently. Whether or not they did, I am glad it was there, and I did sit and wait. I learned some new things about my siblings that I normally would not have taken the time to learn, and for that reason I was very grateful for that mysterious tree.