Denise Callaway’s Picture Choice: Both
Astrid shoved the short crop of curls from her eyes and glared at her sister. Eliya had once more left her to clean up her mess, and today that mess was their sister. Katya, who lived in a dream world, lost and unaware of the problems her presence created, sat in the awkward chair that seemed out of place in Astrid’s perfectly organized world. Much like her sister, the chair seemed to have popped in from another dimension. Katya gave her a winsome grin. “Do you know what I’m thinking?”
Astrid knew that was dangerous ground. “I can’t even fathom what goes on in your mind.”
“Let’s take a walk. I want to visit mama,” Katya declared as she jumped up and darted out the door.
Damn, I forgot how fast she is, Astrid thought as she chased after her. Up one stairway then the next, Astrid thought dizzily, does she not remember? Perhaps not. The last five years had been a blur of hospitals. Where was she going? Up one more flight of stairs, and they popped out onto the rooftop.
“Isn’t it amazing? Elie won’t let me come up here but this is where mama likes to talk,” Katya danced around the open space and giggled. She was unspoiled and free like a child. A chair caught her eye and she swung around and sat astraddle, her chin propped on her fists. “One of these days, I’m going to escape.”
“What are you trying to escape?” Astrid heard her voice. She hated that she sounded as if she was talking to a child. Katya didn’t appear to notice, however. She looked up in the sky dreamily.
“Mama escaped. She found a way to the other side. I want to join her.”
Astrid shifted uncomfortably. Mama jumped off a bridge. A normal person would have screamed. She laughed. Astrid and Elie had reached frantically after her but she was gone in an instant. They never even recovered the body. “What’s so great about the other side?”
Katya became serious. “I can be me without someone trying to put needles in me to calm me down, without doctors prodding me and telling me I’m crazy. I’m not, you know. I just don’t belong here.”
Her sadness struck Astrid. She hid it amongst manic episodes. “Katy...I would be so sad if you left us.”
“I know...but one day I will be gone. And when I am, I will be with mama. That’s where I belong.” Then, as if the moment of seriousness had never happened, she was up, standing on top of the chair. “DO YOU HEAR ME? I’M COMING TO SEE YOU, MAMA. SOON.”
Astrid reached for her, coaxed her down from the chair. She felt the evening mist start to fall. “Let’s go inside, dear. We’ll get a chill out here in this rain.” Katya turned to follow her. As Astrid reached for the knob, she turned knowing Katya had been ripped away. “Katya!” she called, but she was gone.
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Denise finds herself lost in a field of dandelions. With one blow, her dandelion dreams transform into the words on a page. Some of those dreams have found their way to her website: https://lostinafieldofdandelions.wordpress.com/