Free and Gone
Zelena knew that feeling well. She was not tall like the other kids her age; she lacked the confidence young adults so boldly proclaim; and she often perceived the world much differently than others tend to. Having a name that began with the last letter of the alphabet often did not help at all. She was always last on the list.
So she found an escape in daydreaming.
She could do this anywhere and at pretty much anytime.
Like the other day when she was sitting by the window, rolled up in a cozy armchair when it was pouring outside. In her head, she was living an adventure in a mountain with real friends and they were going on excavations for a lost medallion that would bring power to the person who wore it, as long as their heart was pure. The cabin was a wreck and they had to take cover from the thunderstorm and rain. And suddenly, the bad people (there are always some of these in every story) tracked them down and they had to hide. And the adventure ensued…. Well, until dinnertime. Food had to disrupt the dream.
In the summer, when the stifling heat and humidity did not permit for a lot of time outside, Zelena would lie on the cool sheets in her bed and as the fan cooled her down, she would dream of being on an exotic Caribbean island, swaying on a hammock and indulging on a tropical iced juice.
A little while later she would spin off, bare feet in the golden sand tickling her toes, and she would rush playfully towards the tide into the arms of the man she loved. They would swim together into the tranquil ocean; snorkel to gaze at the fish and corals that decorated the ocean’s depth; and even play around with a couple of dolphins that would join the fun.
Daydreaming was Zelena’s thing. And it all seemed so real. So true. So different from the world she lived in. In her fantasies, Zelena could do and be exactly what and who she wanted. Without restrictions, without concerns, without limitations.
The only problem was that she could get so enraptured in a dream, feel it was so real, that she could not tell the difference between the dream and the real world. Something like being caught in The Matrix. Only maybe worse, because even that was a fantasy.
“Getting lost into something that is not real will make you lose yourself.” That it was her beloved uncle told her. He was the one who made her fantasies so real, for she grew up with his exciting, swash-buckling stories.
Zelena did not pay attention to the severity of the warning. When she had been unemployed for over a year, still living in her childhood room, and still dreaming of what she wished her life was like, Zelena disappeared.
Her final daydream was of bungee jumping over a cliff to feel the freedom and adrenaline rush of flying.