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Short Story: Dream Vacation

My friend was from a very stereotypical Portuguese family. As the older sister, it was her job to look after her younger sister and helped her mother with domestic duties; such as cooking, cleaning, and mending. Her father was a typical hardnosed working man. Even at his worst, he could put in a day’s worth of work that would rival most. He was a lot like my step-father in that even after catching the worst flu, he would still be pushing himself to get his job done.

She was thirteen and her sister was ten when they made their summer pilgrimage to Portugal. They still had family in the Azores Islands. Her grandmother had a gorgeous house that stood proudly against the edge of a cliff; overlooking the ocean. One night the family sat at a picnic table next to the vineyard in the backyard. My friend’s father had been feeling really run down the whole trip and it seemed to be finally catching up to him. He told his family that he was going to bed for the night to sleep off the slump into which he felt himself slipping deeper. This was a very abnormal action for him but my friend’s mother wasn’t too concerned.

In the worst case scenario, if her father needed anything he could just lean out of the upstairs bedroom window and yell down for help. The night carried on and the stars shone overhead. My friend’s mother began to walk inside to sit with her mother-in-law in the living room. It was then that my friend and her younger sister saw something in the sky. They stared in awe for a minute until the vision stopped. She looked at her younger sister to see if she saw the same thing. My friend saw beams of colored light surging into their father’s bedroom window like a nocturnal rainbow. It was truly brilliant and disappeared as quickly as they had arrived. She looked to her little sibling to find her shaking and crying. My friend asked if she had seen the rays of light and her sister shook her head no. Instead, she said she saw her father lying in a coffin. By dawn of the next day, her father was dead.

It was a couple weeks after the funeral that my friend began to notice changes in her mother’s behavior. At night she could hear her mother sleep talking to her father. She walked past her mother’s room and saw her sitting straight up in bed and hear her saying “Joe, what did you do with it? Why did you leave me? Where did you put everything?” Then she would lie back down and softly cry until she woke hours later.

Eventually, my friend decided to bring it up at breakfast one morning. My friend asked her mother about her dreams. Her mother admitted that she was seeing her husband in her dreams. Each time he would just stand over her and try to fill her with a sense of comfort. After burying her husband and not having a job of her own, she was in a tight spot emotionally and financially. She knew that they had silver, jewelry, and a thousand dollars in emergency cash stashed in the house but had been hidden before they went on vacation to make sure they weren’t stolen in case of a break in. Unfortunately, he never told his wife where he hid them. That is why she was calling out to him, hoping that he would be able to tell her something. The groceries were running low and the bills were due.

A couple days later my friend’s mother dreamed of her father once again. Unlike the other dreams, he actually spoke. He told her that the silver was in the garage behind his workbench in a small toolbox, the jewelry was behind drywall in the unfinished basement and the cash was tucked underneath the rug in the spare bedroom. He also told her that he would always be there whenever she needed him, forever and always. When her mother awoke she found that everything was right where he said it would be. More significantly, he was there for her when she needed him…just like he said he would be.

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