Tag Archives: dreams

The Spot Writers – “My Life Beyond the Hills” by Chiara De Giorgi

Welcome to The Spot Writers. The August prompt is based on a photo taken at a local zoo. There was a fence leading to a “no admittance” area, but about 12 inches at the bottom had been bent upward, allowing admission of… people? animals? And where does it lead? The Spot Writers’ task: Write a story involving a fence that has been snuck through—as a major or minor plot point.

This week’s story comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara dreams, reads, edits texts, translates, and occasionally writes in two languages. She also has a lot of fun.

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My life beyond the hills

by Chiara De Giorgi

 

“If you want to know what my life will be like, you have to follow me.”

“Where?”

“There.”

The girl pointed to the top of the hill.

By then, I was pretty sure I was dreaming. Where and how had I fallen asleep, though?

 

My friends had wanted to go paddling on the lake, but I had felt such an urge to go explore the woods behind the B&B, that I had quickly packed a waterproof jacket and a bottle of sunscreen  – you never know what the weather’s going to be like in Scotland, after all! – and had started hiking up the hill.

Fluffy, white clouds were scattered across the sky, and a soft, warm wind was blowing, leaves rustling under its fingertips. The air smelled sweet, birds were singing, flowers were blooming all around, and my heart was about to burst with joy. This place was so beautiful, and somehow familiar. Where had I smelled that sweetness before? When had I seen such colorful meadows?

My hike abruptly came to an end when I reached a fence. I glanced right and left and saw no one, but I’d never climb over it: I was too well behaved for that. I squinted in the sunlight, trying to locate the end of the fence: maybe I could just go round it, and find the path again on the other side. I saw nothing promising, though: the fence just climbed all the way up the hill and disappeared beyond the top.

“I can show you a way through.”

Her voice startled me. Where had she come from? She looked about my age, small leaves and grass blades were entangled in her hair, that was long and dark and matted. Her sparkling green eyes made her dirty face look pretty, and she watched me with wariness and amusement.

I didn’t know what to say, I just opened my mouth and asked: “How?”

“Come with me, quick!”

She picked up her long, ragged skirts and started running up the hill, along the fence.

“What? Wait!”

I started after her before I even had the time to think. Who was this girl? Where had she come from? Why was she so shabby? Where was she leading me, and why?

“Okay, stop. Stop!”  I cried.

“What’s wrong?” she asked. “We can’t stop now. They’ll catch us! Come on, run, we’re almost there.”

She started up the hill again, and I couldn’t help but follow. I stopped again when she did. I thought I’d be out of breath, but I was not: that’s when I realized this must be a dream.

“Now what?”

“Look”, she said, pointing to the ground. The fence had been wrecked.

“We’re too big, we’ll hurt ourselves. Besides, what’s the point? Why not simply climb, if we have to get to the other side?”

She grinned.

“Let’s do that!”

With one leap she was beyond the fence and had started running again.

“Wait, stop!”

She kept running, so I climbed the fence, much less nimbly than her, I admit, and ran after her.

She finally stopped and crouched behind a big, thorny bush. Sweat was leaving white streaks on her dirty brow and cheeks, her breath was heavy. She looked at me, terror in her eyes.

“What? What is it?” I asked, grabbing her hand.

“Shut up, don’t talk! They might hear us. Oh God, will they catch us? Where are they? Can you see them?”

“Who are you talking about? There’s no one here, it’s just the two of us.” Dream or not, I was starting to feel uncomfortable. “Now calm down and tell me: who are you? What or who are you running from?”

She looked at me with sad eyes.

“Don’t you remember?” she asked.

I gasped. One moment I was myself, the next I was the girl in front of me. Chased by men who wanted to burn me as a witch. By men who had burned down my village, killing or capturing all my friends and family. I was left alone in a dangerous world. Running for my life, but where?

My head was spinning.

“What…”

“Now you remember”, she muttered. “We fled”, she added, nodding to herself, her eyes lost in the distance.

“Did… Did they catch us?”

She shook her head.

“They did not. We ran for days, climbing hill after hill after hill. We were all alone. We shed tears for all the people we had lost. For all the beauty of this place, wasted on evil people. For all the magic that was lost.”

I didn’t dare break the silence that followed, so I stayed still, crouched next to her, waiting for her to speak again. At last, she glanced at me and smiled.

“It wasn’t lost, not all of it, at least. The magic, I mean. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I am you, you are me. That much you know, right?”

I nodded quickly, before my mind had time to process the thought and convince me it was nonsense.

“I am here right now, but you are not. Not really, at least. You are my future. I needed a scrap of hope, and I called out to you. Now I know it’ll be worth it.”

I slowly stood and lifted my eyes to the top of the hill. She did the same.

“If you want to know what my life will be like, you have to follow me.”

“Where?”

“There.”

One heartbeat. Two, three. I shook my head.

“Go on and live your life”, I said then. “I’ll go on and live mine. Come see me some other time, if you wish. Let me know how you’re doing.”

She sighed, but kept on smiling.

“I will. Take care, and be wise.”

She turned and started running again. I stood there, watching her becoming smaller and smaller until she disappeared beyond the top of the hill.

I rubbed my eyes, trying to wake up, but realized I was already awake.

The sun was about to set and I must run if I wanted to be back at the B&B before dark.

 

***

The Spot Writers:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

 

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It’s a Boy!!!

Today, December 30, 2015, just in time to ring in the New Year, I have a new grandson. As of this moment, he is unnamed, but one name in the running is “Parker.” I kind of like it—a lot, actually—so I hope that’s it. Another under consideration is Benjamin though my son says Parker is “growing” on him. And since he couldn’t remember the other name(s) they were contemplating, I’m thinking it’s safe to say Parker is it!

“Parker” weighed in at eight pounds fifteen ounces. My daughter-in-law had a scheduled section (she wasn’t due until January 3), and the baby’s head was so big the doctor said it was a good thing she had a section.

“He looks like a sumo wrestler,” my son told me. But what does he know?

“You were nine pounds one ounce,” I replied. Bragging, I added, “and I had you naturally.” I neglected to tell him I was in labour, shrieking and in pain, for three days. With numerous drugs. After that experience, I swore I’d have no more. But time brings forgetfulness, and eight years later, I found myself pregnant again. By choice!

Needless to say, my last two children were delivered by C-section. Good thing because my second, another son, was ten pounds six ounces.  Ouch! My daughter, who followed eighteen months later, was “only” eight pounds eleven ounces (if my memory is correct).

My son and daughter-in-law, to quote a cliché, are truly blessed. They married when my son was forty; my daughter-in-law-to-be was thirty-eight. Neither had been married previously, nor had either of them had long-term live-ins or children from prior relationships—a feat in this era. It was as if the two had waited for each other.

I had stood beside my daughter-in-law’s father in the receiving line at their wedding. Someone congratulated him, saying, “She waited a long time to get married.” Her father replied, “And I’m glad she did.” My heart swelled.

You have to know the entire story to “get”the gist. My son, even as young as fourteen, had always said, “I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to bring children into this world.”

I had been sad for him, with that perspective on life. But at the time, I hadn’t realized the repercussions on me: a potential grandmother. And back then, I hadn’t even thought of ever being a grandmother. Too grey-haired and decrepit for me!

But later, when the proverbial ton of bricks hit me, when I realized I might never be a grandmother, I was devastated and endured many sleepless nights. (I’ve written previously about my pain, but in a nutshell: My daughter had trouble conceiving; my younger son was in a relationship with a woman who already had a child from a previous relationship and she didn’t want more; and my oldest, the subject of this writing, never wanted marriage let alone children.) That was when I realized I was doomed to never be a grandmother. And, of course, when something is denied, isn’t that when you want it?

Fast forward a few years: My daughter announced she was pregnant just a few days before my younger son’s partner did. They each delivered a girl, three weeks apart (girls are now eight). Both my son and my daughter married shortly after the births of their children. My daughter regretted not following protocol; my son’s wife adamantly proclaimed she’d have no more.

My daughter suffered a devastating miscarriage about fourteen months after her first child’s birth. Time took (in my mind) forever to pass before she was pregnant again. But three years after her daughter’s birth, she delivered a son, her last child.

Okay, I thought. Four grandchildren (three biological, one step). I’m happy. Elated. More than elated! Four was more than I imagined I’d ever have.

And then my oldest child amazed me. At the time of my two granddaughters’ births, he commented he might like to marry and have children someday—if he ever met the right person.

About five years later, he finally met her. They married a year after meeting, an absolutely, over-the-top, perfect wedding. They had their daughter the following year (a respectable eleven months later!), and eighteen months after that…TODAY…I have my sixth grandchild, my second grandson.

My son and his wife are truly blessed. And so is this Granny, who never dreamt she’d have one grandchild let alone six.

 

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