She woke under a canopy of stars, each one blinking with as much surprise as she. Her hand touched the soft grass beneath her, a breeze caressed her face as it raced across the meadow. She sat up letting her eyes adjust to the dark. The moon was full and the sky clear. She was in a meadow surrounded by trees. It was as if mother nature had built a castle just for her. She heard some rustling now and then as small rabbits or frightened mice moved through the grass.
She looked down at herself and could barely make out a floral house coat. Not a robe but something more substantial. Her hair was dark in the moonlight and her hands seemed so much younger than she remembered. A noise across the meadow made her look up and a large stag broke through the treeline. He was huge and muscular. His crown of bone as long as he was tall. He was magnificent and she felt a tear roll down her cheek.
She stood up slowly. She didn’t want to spook the grand king of this wood. As she did the King moved toward her. He raced quickly from the wood to her in seconds, stopping five feet from her. She saw into his black eyes. They seemed as clear as the purest crystal. She kept still slowly reaching out her hand. To her surprise the King knelt before her and let her touch his proud nose. Her smile was a big as the swelling in her heart as she heard a soft voice somewhere far away.
In the white room the machines beeped and growled. Wires winding across the tiled floor to the single bed. Sitting on the bed was a young girl, no more than seven. She clutched onto a piece of paper that she held up to show the woman lying still beneath her.
“And see Nana. It’s so beautiful here and the King comes to say hi. He is a good King…so gentle. He will let you pat him and you won’t hurt anymore. I love you Nana.”
The girl lay back against the woman, still holding up the picture of a meadow, under stars, with the King standing proud.
It was almost too quiet, no wind or traffic noise, just me staring at an intersection that seemed frozen in time. The sky was dark and full of stars, even with the artificial light shining from lampposts and neon clad store windows. Yet here was a silent peace, a break in the reality of a city night. No cars or humans, no strays or distant roars.
It was a perfect moment that made me hold my breath to ensure it was complete. 1….2….3….4….
I counted as my lungs began to burn. I strained to let the silence live. It was enough to bring a tear. I felt it roll down my cheek, but I made no movement to wipe it away. I dared not, nothing should interrupt this briefest of joys. I stood swaying as the oxygen left my blood, the light-headed dizziness hitting me. I held on…and all went dark.
I awoke to a small crowd of drunken Samaritans. Stooped over me like concerned Grandmothers. They slurred words of encouragement as I ignored their concern. I heard cars and the rush of wind. I heard planes and horns, sirens and screams. I stood and brushed away the human noise, I ran…to find the silence, to find a moment that would never be again.