We would like to congratulate Kelly Loomis for her short story contest submission “Life is Butter Dream.” Thank you to everyone who participated!
Life Is Butter Dream
By Kelly Loomis
Rachel was adrift in a peaceful sea. Gentle waves rocked her little boat. She wasn’t sure where here was exactly, but she wasn’t afraid. She’d been here before. She could hear Mommy’s voice, though Mommy didn’t seem to be able to hear her.
“I couldn’t wake her up this morning. She was fine last night,” Mommy said.
“Tell me her history,” a male voice said.
A doctor Rachel guessed; she had lots of doctors.
“She has seizures, cerebral palsy; she’s 32 with the mind of a six-year-old,” Mommy
said. Rachel heard Mommy listing her meds, her surgeries, and on and on.
Rachel had heard all of this many times, so she amused herself by singing. Row, row,
row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily; life is butter dream.
She giggled. Butter dream –I’m so silly.
“Yes, you are,” said a musical voice in her ear.
Rachel giggled again. “I wondered when you would get here,” she said.
“Little Lamb, you know I’m always here,” said the voice.
“Yup.” said Rachel. “That’s why people think I’m so brave.” The voice had always been
with her –especially when she found herself in this little boat. Mommy couldn’t come on the
boat, but she was never really alone.
Every so often, Rachel thought she could hear Mommy’s voice, but it sounded farther
and farther away. She thought she should be going back the other way by now.
“Where’s Mommy?” she asked.
“She’s still with you, holding your hand,” the voice assured her.
“Is she OK?” Rachel asked. “She sounds different.”
“She’s just worried about you.”
“Does she know I’m OK?” Rachel wondered.
“Little Lamb, I have a surprise for you,” the voice said. “All your life you’ve never been
able to do the things that other people do.”
“Like Jessie?” Jessie was her little sister, but she could do everything –even drive the
“Yes, like Jessie,” said the voice. “Would you like to see what it’s like to be able to walk
and talk and –”
“Dance!” Rachel said.
“Of course, you’ll dance!” said the voice, laughing.
“But we will come back to the boat,” Rachel said.
“Don’t worry, Little Lamb, this gift is very special. It will only last a moment, though it
will seem like a lifetime to you. You won’t really ever leave the boat.”
“You’ll be with me?” Rachel said.
“I’ll be right here, but you won’t hear my voice as often. You’ll be a grown-up girl like
Mommy and Jessie.”
“OK, I guess,” said Rachel.
“Off you go, Little Lamb.”
There was a blinding flash of light and six-year-old Rachel Lamb suddenly sat up in her
bed. The sun beamed through the window, directly into her face. Jessie was asleep in the next
bed. It was their same old room, but she was different.
“Girls, it’s time to get up for school!”
Mommy! Rachel ran downstairs. She ran. down. stairs! Mommy was making breakfast
and she was young again. Rachel loved school. She found she could read and even do addition!
Everything was so exciting –now that she could participate fully.
She learned to ride a bike, swim, and play the piano. Her grades were good. Well, not
really in Algebra. She and Jessie were best friends. They talked about everything. Sometimes
they even liked the same boy. Rachel could drive a car!
Not everything was rosy. Rachel’s heart was broken a few times; and one time she broke
her leg, skiing. She watched her sister unravel when her husband left her with two small
children. She discovered that life was not always easy –even when everything on your body
worked. Some pains went deep. Some wounds were slow to heal.
And then –it happened. Rachel fell in love. His name was Noah, and he was her true
soulmate. They danced under the stars, they walked on the beach, they talked late into the night,
until each knew they could never be completely whole without the other. The date was set and
soon Rachel and Noah found themselves sitting under the full moon on the beach. It was their
They held hands and kissed and talked and made plans for the rest of their lives.
“I think I am happier than I’ve ever been.” said Rachel.
“I’m so happy for you, Little Lamb,” said a musical voice in her ear.
She jumped. “What did you call me?” she said to Noah.
Noah didn’t answer, he seemed to be mesmerized by the moon. She looked up to see that
the moon was racing toward them and becoming blindingly bright. In the brightness, she could
see a familiar little boat on the waves, and in a flash, she was in the boat.
A man was shouting, but she couldn’t see him. Ouch! Was someone standing on her
Mommy was crying.
She sighed with relief. “Is Mommy OK?”
“She’s just sad. You’re leaving her.”
“No! Take me back!” Rachel cried.
“It’s your time to leave.”
“But, I don’t want Mommy to be sad.”
“Mommy will be OK, I promise. Did you enjoy your dream?”
“Yup,” she said. “But everything wasn’t as easy as I thought.”
“No,” the voice agreed.
Rachel realized she was no longer on a boat but was standing on a white, sandy shore.
Someone was walking toward her. Heart pounding, she ran to meet him.
“Noah!” They embraced and fell to the ground laughing. “But how are you here? I loved
you in a dream.”
“Noah was like you –trapped in a body that didn’t work right. He was dreaming, too
–when you found each other.”
“Are we dreaming now?” asked Rachel.
“No, Little Lamb. Now, I’m going to be with Mommy. She needs me. You and Noah
have each other.”
“For keeps?” asked Rachel.
“Forever, if you want.”
“That’s exactly what we want.”
“Yup,” said Noah, as he took Rachel’s hand and smiled. “Exactly.”