Her eyes startled open. Sweat palpable; damp sheets, damp pillow.
Taking a deep inhale through her nose, she could almost feel the color of the fragrance. Jasmine.
Heavy eyelids flutter and close. A muffled snore rises into the air, followed by a quiet wheeze.
Like the vine itself, and the star-like white with ever so slightly pink trim, the petals tickled her nostrils. Her dream-hand brushed the vine from her face. Her sleeping body rolled onto its side.
Woozy from labored breathing, she drifted more deeply into her night sleep. Again she began following the fragrance. Her eyes taking in every detail of the astounding beauty of the surroundings. Flowering vines dangled everywhere. At every landing, a balcony that hid a scene through the veil of hanging flowers.
Inside the dream she had been climbing for what seemed like years, but measured in only hours. The same scene, in repetition. Around and around she climbed, following the spiraling vines, only to re-emerge onto the balcony of yet another scene.
Each scene itself a repetition, with only slight variants. "Don't you ever (smack) ever (slap) hit your brother again!" Tears streamed down the child's face. Her open hand loomed in front of him. "He hit me first" sniffled the boy. She watched herself recoil. The scene lit up an all-too-familiar memory. She felt a cringe in her heart.
The milky whiteness of fragrant jasmine wafted to her attention once more. Again she brushed at the vine on her face. Drifting again into the climb up the spiral staircase. Once again coming upon the scene of herself raging at her small son. Once again following the vine's spiral climb. Another balcony. Another scene.
She watches again. The deliberate lifting of her hand, the sniffling of the scared child. Entering the scene through the wisp of jasmine. Seeing the vibrant aliveness of the flowers. Feeling the heaviness in her heart. Understanding her desperate need to change the scene and with it, any residual outcome.
Marching up the next spiral, she was ready to face herself once more. Like in her favorite childhood movie, The Wizard of Oz, she began to see herself as the man behind the curtain.
Sweat beading up on her forehead, she began pulling vines out of the way. Carefully, she peered into the new scene. This time, though, she could still feel the agony in her heart from viewing this same scene repeatedly.
Determined, she tried this time to cause a new response. She inhaled. Her body felt the strong fragrance pouring into her nose and mouth. The sheer taste of the sweet smell reminded her of the translucence of white flower petals. The sound of the sniffling child cracked her emotions open and tears spilled into her pillow.
Tears. The ache of the heart trying to heal itself. The sob of the soul trying to teach itself. The yearning of emotions reaching for a new result.
Suddenly a new sound. Chirp! Buzz. A hummingbird appeared. Red head and neck like a ruby in the sunlight, glinting. Long black beak dipping deep into every jasmine flower in its reach. The clicking of it's long tongue after each sip left an energy imprint in her ears. She stared at the scene. This visual she immediately embedded into her heart.
The sound of the bird reverberated. This time, the scene on the balcony had an alteration. The vines around her shivered slightly and she could almost see them growing along the staircase.
"Mama don't hit me" pleaded the boy. "He hit me first, I swear." Her raised hand froze in midair. She could see the light of recognition on her own face as she witnessed the familiar scene. An opportunity.
Finally she harnessed the energy needed to stop that hand. She glared into the scene with a fierce intention. "STOP IT!" She shouted at herself from behind her vines of illusion.
She moved away from the scene and quickly headed up the next spiral of stairs. She marched straight for the new balcony and threw aside the curtain of jasmine. Standing before the scene she saw herself looming over her eldest child, hand raised as if to slap his face.
"NEVER AGAIN!" She screams at herself. Surprised, she looks up from the child. "Remember!" She informs herself loudly; "barter and trade! Natural consequences, bribery is valid - but NEVER, EVER HITTING!" Flashes of recognition move accross the face of her vision. Her hand lowers. A tear slips down one cheek.
Quickly she turns and makes for the stairs. Again she bursts onto the next balcony. Again she demands herself to STOP. Almost drunk on the heavy sweetness of the jasmine flowers, she once again informs the vision-self to use other methods to teach her children.
"Ouch." Looking down, she sees her fingers are digging into her wrist. Pressing harder, she realizes this is no ordinary dream. An opportunity! "YES!" She exclaims aloud.
Her eyes startle open. Her damp pillow betray her tears. She brushes the soft sheets from her face, noticing the delicate vines imprinted on them.
"Mama can Luke and I go out and play?" She looks over at her two young sons standing in her doorway. The cherub chub of her four year old's cheeks and the determined-to-be-seen-more-adult of her six and a half year old trigger an inner smile.
"You know the rules, sweetie." "Just stay inside the gate." She instructs them. "And no hitting."
She throws off her covers to sit up. The sun allowing warm golden energy to fall gracefully onto her face. She inhales. "God I love that jasmine" she reminds herself.
Standing, then moving to the open window, she embraces the morning; jasmine growing along her windowsill, the fresh breeze wafting the fragrance into her room, the sound of her children playing happily below.
A sudden buzzing, and she has an Anna's hummer hanging right in front of her face. It's ruby glint reminding her of the magic of Dorothy's slippers. "There's no place like home" she whispers to herself.