A true story
FOUR HEAVEN’S SAKE
By Lori McNeilly
When I was three years old I was adopted. When I was four years old I had a dream. My dream is as vivid today as it was when I dreamed it, fifty-three years ago.
Fresh out of the tub I stood in my jammies with my hair wet and combed back like a little boy. I found myself standing in a watercolor meadow. Cotton-ball clouds in a pure blue sky, and emerald green grass on rolling hills. It felt and looked like the most beautiful place in the world. In my dream I switched from looking through my eyes to looking at myself as another person. My red hair was redder than ever because it was wet. Fat cheeks splattered with freckles and blue eyes, bright with delight. I was holding my favorite teddy bear and we were about to take a ride. As in the way of dreams, things can suddenly appear, and I was now standing at the bottom of a stair case. A moving stair case, much like the fancy stairs they have in the malls called escalators. These stairs were wood and although at four I wouldn’t have known they were oak, as a grown up I am able to describe them as such.
I could not see the top of the stairs as they ascended up into the heavens. I was not scared, and neither was teddy. With my right arm gripping the fuzzy bear, I stepped onto the first step and took hold of the rail with my left hand. We started going up slow and steady. I looked around at the wonder of it all. It felt wonderful, it felt right and I was completely happy. I took in all the beauty around and (now) below me and thought the colors must be straight out of my favorite crayon box.
Me and teddy, we were getting pretty high and heading for the sky. I lifted my face to look up in the direction we were heading and there was still a long way to go. I didn’t feel fear as I looked up, I never even wondered where I was going, I was just going.
And again, as in the way of dreams, I switched from watching myself outside of myself, to looking through my own eyes again. I turned my head and looked down. What I saw shattered my dream, shattered all my good feelings about where I was and where I was going. At the bottom of those stairs a tree had appeared. Not a green leafy friendly tree, but a big black knarly dead tree that seemed to be sending it’s vicious branches up to get me. Long knotty limbs were moving towards me, reaching for me, and grabbing at me. In that one horrifying moment I felt the worst fear I would ever feel in the subconscious or conscious world.
I screamed, and the scream woke me up. I was sobbing and shaking but I was not alone. My new mommy was there for me, holding me and rocking me gently. Time has never erased that dream.