bitter Chocolat: flash.black
“Mom, I had the dream again.”
It was 4:00 a.m. in the morning. Leila’s mother woke up immediately because it had been awhile since Leila had the nightmare. “Do you want me to come down? I can make it by late afternoon." Not wanting her mother to make the long drive on short notice, Leila declined. She still needed her mother's help to wade through her confusion, so she asked if they could just talk about it over on the phone. Leila’s mother didn't want to push or risk Leila leaving out any details so she agreed. Internally, she decided she'd drive down if the conversation became too much to bear. Leila's mother felt a lot of guilt for dropping the ball on her daughter's emotional upbringing. Her and her husband was not brought up in a culture where emotional intelligence was fostered so Leila was left to maneuver a lot of issues on her own. When the nightmares started it was a wake-up call for Leila's mother and she swore she would become the mother she always wanted for herself and the mother Leila deserved.
Leila was sixteen years old the first time she had the nightmare. It was the day of prom so she decided to take a nap before getting ready. Her mother pulled accessories out of her closet for Leila’s dress while she napped. Leila's mother was heading upstairs to wake Leila when she heard her muffled, but bone-curdling scream. Running the rest of the way up to her daughter's room, she opened the door to find Leila laying on her stomach. Leila was gripping the sheets so hard her fingers were beginning to change color. It seemed like some unseen force was holding Leila down. Her mother rushed to Leila's side and flipped her onto her back. Leila's mother could see that Leila was still asleep but she had tears streaming down her face. After grabbing a bottle of water off and a face towel from Leila's nightstand, she pulled Leila’s body towards hers in a spooning position. She poured cold water onto the towel and began patting Leila's face with it. Leila's mother began whispering how much she loved her daughter, over and over again. Soon, Leila started to calm and awaken. When she was lucid, Leila was surprised to find her mother looking down at her and holding her in a tight embrace. Leila had never seen her mothers eyes filled with so much emotion or affection.
”What happened mom?”
Leila's mother explained that she heard Leila scream and how she found her. She asked Leila if she remembered the nightmare. Leila could only recall the pain she in her stomach, not being able to move, and everything around her being pitch black. Her mother maintained her silence not wanting to alarm Leila. Leila's mother wondered if Leila had been harmed. When she was about to suggest she stay home, Leila jumped up as if nothing happened shouting "PROM!" She really wanted Leila to stay behind so she could keep a watchful eye but could not bring herself to dampen Leila's shift in spirit from panic to pure excitement. Instead, she rose from the bed and helped Leila get ready for her first prom.
Leila had the dream again the night before her scholarship award ceremony. Leila’s mother, worried for her daughter's mental health, arranged therapy sessions to determine the nightmare's source. She feared a day Leila would be away from home and unable to help herself during an episode. Worried about Leila suffocating or other harm, she and Leila learned waking techniques and some coping mechanisms from the therapist. Although the therapist still had yet to determine the source of the nightmare, she was able to pinpoint a pattern. Whenever Leila felt an overabundance of excitement, the barriers protecting her subconscious relaxed causing the nightmare to surface. Leila's next episode was before she moved out of her parents home to move into her new place on campus.
“Talk to me dear, are you okay?”
Leila said she was fine but confused because the dream seemed different. The nightmare began the same as always, but this time she saw a white light through the black abyss. Her mother thought Leila may be remembering and asked if anything new could have triggered a change. Leila shared that something very special happened to her earlier that night.
“Mom? I can't explain it but think I met the love of my life.”
TO BE CONTINUED.
bitter Chocolat (2017)