Dream Greeting

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That night at the dinner table, Abigail and her mom sat together quietly as they ate, her mother watching her daughter sadly. The day had taken a clear toll on her daughter, and Diane Wright was weary of seeing her only child suffer like she had.

"Abigail, honey, are you ok?" she gently asked.

"Not really, Mom," Abigail answered. "That dream won't get out of my head, and on top of that, I think there's a conspiracy in my school about Grace Anderson's big sister, Jessica."

"What kind of conspiracy, Abigail?"

"Well, Grace keeps trying to fight against the rumors that Jessica went insane her last semester, and landed herself in Bellview Psychiatry as a result. I heard her say that the reason is Jessica was upset about how her boyfriend dumped her. But that can't possibly be enough to land somebody in a mental hospital, right?"

Diane mused, "Well, no, I don't think so. There's definitely something missing here. But honey, you don't think that this has anything to do with your dream, do you?"

"At this point, Mom, anything goes in my opinion. I can't say that this dream's a fluke, because it's so vivid, and it's been bothering me ever since the school year started. I don't know how Jessica Anderson could be connected to that bathroom, if she is at all, and I won't know anything unless I delve deeper. I'm just afraid of what I might find."

"And I'd be too, Abigail. Even somebody naive like me can tell that your principal's been spinning a very biased version of events here."

"Oh come on, Mom, you aren't naive-" Abigail tried to say before her Mom cut her off with an impatient wave of her hand.

"Yes I am, Abigail. I seriously believed that you being nice and patient would prevent Grace and all the others from picking on you, and that your principal would do something when he has the power to stop it. I was so wrong, and I can't stop beating myself up for being blind back then."

"Mom, it's not your fault that the principal is incompetent," Abigail assured her, reaching across the table to squeeze her Mom's hand gently. "And besides, you know I won't let him and the others stop me."

"I know, honey. I just wish things would be better for you."

"I do too, Mom. Every damn day."

Before they went to bed, Abigail and Diane Wright exchanged tender "I love you"s to each other, knowing that no matter what happened, the two would always have each other's back.

***

Late into the night, Abigail lay on her bed, her mind stuck on the bizarre talk between herself, Ms. Lloyd and Isabelle Williams.

"Ms. Lloyd...she really doesn't like our principal. And geez, I wish Isabelle would've put that anger of hers to better use! I've only ever known her as a timid cheerleader who seems too terrified to speak out against everything Grace does, but after what we heard her say back in the restroom, it's obvious that she's pissed off."

"Like Mom said, we don't know the full story about Jessica Anderson, either because nobody knows, or because somebody's trying to cover up the truth. Grace has to know the truth, but I bet big bucks that she's too ashamed of it to admit it. I'd love to find out what happened and use that knowledge to blackmail her into leaving me alone. Since she's been snitching to Harris this whole time, I have no qualms doing something equally petty to her if that's what it takes."

Abigail's gaze drifted upwards to the ceiling, and she sighed wistfully as her thoughts went to her Dad, her heart aching to be by his side once more. She and her Mom felt that they would never fully recover from his loss, no matter how many years passed since the awful day they lost him.

An idea popped into Abigail's mind, and she slowly sat up in bed, feeling uneasy and sheepish. Diane Wright was all too aware that Abigail had become only spiritual in her beliefs, ever since their church had tried to publicly shame her for her gender identity, a poor choice which had led to Diane publicly humiliating the pastor in turn.

Despite her trepidations, Abigail truly wanted to pray for the first time in years, desperate to find answers after feeling besieged in her dreams and waking reality.

"Uh, God?" she hesitantly began, "What's going on with this dream of mine? I don't know what the message is, and I have a really bad feeling that it's somehow connected to what I learned today in the restroom. I need guidance, and I need answers, no matter how scared I am about what I'll find. So please, help me. Help me get to the bottom of this."

Exhaustion overwhelmed her, and Abigail lay down her bed, wiped out and hoping that she would wake up to a better day.

The next morning, Abigail went downstairs to find a white envelope on the kitchen table, addressed to her in curvy lavender-toned handwriting. Her mother was nowhere in sight, leaving Abigail to cautiously open it for herself.

Within the envelope was a gently folded letter written in the same ink that Abigail struggled to read. Her vision had suddenly worsened, because for whatever reason, most of the letter was nothing but a blurred mess to her eyes.

"What...what is this?" she asked out loud, as she attempted to read through it.

The salutation at the top of the letter stated "Dearest Abigail," followed by a blurred opening paragraph. Abigail squinted as she scanned the letter, finding that she could only make out part of it at the bottom.

"It seems that any person seen as otherworldly and enigmatic contains inherently feminine qualities, which is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, this is who we were made to be, no matter what anybody else says. This world treats those of feminine quality as weak, as less than, but the world fails to recognize our hidden strength: emotional logic, and the latent power that comes with it.

Besides, masculinity doesn't equal complete strength. While one can't be truly human without both masculine and feminine qualities, to deny one is to deny one's own humanity. The men who hated me and harmed me were wretches who tried to destroy their compassion, an 'effeminate' quality, so that they could hurt me without any tinges of remorse."

Abigail eyed the paragraphs with confusion, unable to understand what she was reading. The whole thing sounded Freudian.

"Keep your head up, Abigail, and remember, no matter how daunting this journey may be, no matter how many people try to hurt you, never forget the ones who love you the most, especially the One who's always there for you.

Love always,

Nadia"

***

Abigail's alarm clock yanked her out of her false awakening, making her jump up in fright, clutching at her heart as she tried to calm down. She bolted from her bedroom and downstairs to the kitchen, desperate to see if the letter was still there.

But there was no letter on the table, only her Mom's cup of coffee as she stared up worriedly at her daughter.

"Abigail, honey, what's the matter?" Diane Wright asked nervously.

"More weird dreams," Abigail mumbled, sitting down across from her Mom and trying to process the bizarre dream letter. "You don't happen to know anybody named 'Nadia', do you?"

"'Nadia'? No, dear, I'm afraid not."

"Is this 'Nadia' a real person? What was up with that line about feminine qualities being otherworldly? And...is this the answer to my prayer last night?"

Abigail sat in silence, dreading the real possibility of a new recurring dream.

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