Before nighttime fell, Felicia’s husband, Ted, had already called everyone to find out the whereabouts of his wife. He had overlooked the note on the kitchen table until he ventured to find dinner for the kids. For the life of him, he couldn’t figure out why she would leave. Didn’t he provide for his family? Didn’t he love her the way she wanted and needed? How could she do this? Feeling a sense of anger form in his gut, Ted retreated to the den to let off steam.
On the way down the hallway, the doorbell rang. It was Felicia’s parents. Both had worried, yet grim expressions on their faces. Opening the door, Ted tried to greet his in-laws, but both Sarah and Pete cut into him from the start. How could he not take care of their baby? What kind of husband was he that his wife would go missing? What was happening in that home where they were left in the dark? There were so many questions, and not enough answers. All retreated to the living room to figure out what to do. After sitting a few minutes in silence, all agreed to call the police to file a missing person report.
The sun had begun to go down and Felicia noticed her vision was slightly blurred. On top of that, a headache was starting to begin. She realized that maybe she had had too many umbrella drinks. Noticing her dilemma, the bartender offered Felicia pretzels and a tall glass of water to help “water down” the effects of her alcoholic adventure. When she had sobered up enough, Felicia walked to her room. Upon entry, she decided to lie down. Her mind was racing between the events of the day, what she’d do next, and what her family thought of her at this point. She did make one decision amid the ramblings in her head – she had to cut herself off after 2 drinks.
Drifting off to sleep, Felicia began to dream. She envisioned a garden with beautiful flowers of just about every color. The scenery was reminiscent of the Butchart Gardens in Canada, but more magnificent. The pathway in the center of the garden was made of iridescent stones with a silvery finish. Felicia was in awe. As she walked the path, the sights and scents exhilarated her. The sun and its rays provided a sense of happiness and joy. At the crossroads, Felicia decided to hang a left. The pathway grew dark and dismal. The flowers and bushes looked withered, and there was no sun – only clouds. The ground was devoid of greenery. Instead there was only dirt. Felicia began to feel sad. She turned and ran in the opposite direction.
At the end of the path was a stone bench with two miniature cherub statues on either side. Felicia sat down to catch her breath. As she did so, a female voice called out to her, “Hello! I’ve been waiting for you.”
Felicia turned her head to see a little old lady in gardening attire working with the flowers and soil. “Hi! Do I know you?”
The little old lady put down her tools, took off her gloves, and then stood to face Felicia. As she did, Felicia knew exactly who she was. It was her Aunt Olivia – the fiery presence in the family who said what she meant and meant what she said. Today was no different in her advisement.
Aunt Olivia sat next to Felicia on the bench. “Honey, do you understand what’s going on?”
“Yes, I think so”, Felicia replied.
“Well then, what are you waiting for?”
“I’m scared Aunt Olivia. Nobody listens to me.”
“Well dear, you have to make them listen.”
“But how?”, Felicia questioned.
Without saying a word, Aunt Olivia gave a quick smile and placed her hand on Felicia’s. She stood and then walked back to her gardening spot. As Felicia sat, a vine came from behind and began wrapping itself around her. At first she did nothing, then she started to squirm to break the cords. When that didn’t help, she yelled for her aunt, but it fell on deaf ears. She began to panic as the vines continued around her neck as if to choke her. Then she woke up.
After Ted filed the police report, Sarah and Pete decided to take matters into their own hands. They were still on edge about their son-in-law and his ability to care for their daughter. Besides anger, they felt helpless. They thought it best that they go looking for Felicia on their own.
Ted in the meantime, retreated to the den. He rummaged through his puzzled mind wondering what signs he missed. He was worried about Felicia and wished he knew where she was so that he could bring her home. He hated this. And even more so, that feeling of failure that his in-laws had began to plant.
As Felicia sat on the edge of the bed, she thought about the dream and what it could mean. She instinctively knew that the flowers were about her dreams of being a florist and having her own shop. The withered bushes and such were her thoughts and feelings about the state of her home life. And the vines represented the choking out of her identity and happiness – the sacrifices of self that caused her to be in the shape she was in.
Pondering these things, Felicia knew what she had to do. Acid built up in her stomach and throat, and she felt like she wanted to vomit. Thankfully, she did not. She got down on her knees to pray. She asked God to give her the courage and the strength to make the best decisions, and for her family’s understanding. By the time she arose, she felt better. She picked up the phone to dial home.
XOXO, Melanie Dawnn
Photo: Closing the Gaps
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