A boy goes on a journey with a mysterious girl through an out-of-body experience.
“I hate you! I hate this family!” Timothy yelled before he shut his door.
The slam sent vibrations that shook the curtains on the window. Timothy dropped flat out onto his bed, burying his face into the pillow. He didn’t want to cry because it would have shown that he was sad and not furious, so he just screamed endlessly into the pillow. It was a way to let out his rage. A few seconds after he stopped screaming, the door slowly opened.
“Timothy?” a woman in a red sweater alerted.
She had curly long black hair, and her eyes were blue like the clear sky. She slowly sat on the other end of the bed where Timothy’s feet were at.
“What?” he replied while he kept his face embedded in the pillow.
“I know you didn’t mean the things you said,” she smiled. “You don’t hate me or your father. You love this family, and some people don’t get to have a family like you do. There’s people in this world who don’t have a mother or a father. I’m sure they wish they do, so be thankful for what you have.”
Timothy didn’t reply. He knew a response would’ve provoked his fury that he kept hidden.
“Timothy.” She moved her hand towards his shoulder. “You may say you hate me, but I will always love-.”
“I told you I hate you!” he barked as he turned to face his shocked mother. “Now get out of my room! I don’t want to see you or dad anymore! I wish you were dead!”
Those wicked words took the breath right out of her mouth as her eye lids rose. She stood up and walked towards the door. Before she left, she faced her son and revealed with an annoyed tone,
“You should be thankful for what you have, especially around Christmas time. You know there’s kids suffering in the world. They don’t even know what a bed feels like, or a loving family for that matter.”
With that, she left the room for her son. Timothy turned to his back to face the ceiling as he laid on his bed. Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t born, Timothy thought, so I wouldn’t have to put up with this stupid family. With the silence in the room, he could hear the talk down the stairs.
“Tom, are you really going to let our son talk to us like that?”
“Diane, he’s just a kid. Kids get angry all the time. It’ll settle down, and 5 days from now we’ll be celebrating Christmas.”
“He’s just a 7 year old kid, but it’s not good to have those emotions inside of you. What if he starts feeling that way towards anything that doesn’t give him what he wants?”
“It’s not because he didn’t get what he wanted. He’s just a child, give him time.”
Timothy stopped listening in. He didn’t care for what his parents had to say. He saw them as aliens examining a different world. To him, his parents never understood him. It was a terrible feeling to have no one to relate to.
“Hey!” an unfamiliar female voice called out.
Startled, Timothy shot up from his bed, looking around. The fright in his body overwhelmed any anger he previously had. His heart was beating tremendously.
“Hello?” he hesitantly wondered.
He wanted to know where the voice came from, but he was also afraid to find out. He wished he could have went under his covers and closed his eyes for the rest of the night, but he knew the voice would have not left.
“I’m right here.”
Looking up towards the ceiling, Timothy gasped at the sight of a floating girl above him. He felt his stomach crashing down inside of him due to the unreal image in front of him.
“Who are you? How did you get in here? I must be dreaming,” Timothy pestered.
“You are not dreaming. This is very real.”
He started to become more curious than scared, so he tried to touch the girl, but his hand went right through her as if he touched steam. Backing his hand away quickly, Timothy was in total disbelief.
“Why can’t I touch you? I can see right through you. It’s like you’re a ghost,” he revealed.
“I’m not a ghost. It’s called an astral projection.”
“What’s an as….tral….. pro……jec……..tion?”
“It’s something that allows you to see the world without having to move from your actual body. You can go through walls and fly; it’s pretty cool.”
Patience and confidence filled the girl’s voice. She became a mom teaching her son how to ride a bike, hoping that he would try and succeed.
“It sounds cool. I wish I could try it. That would be better than staying in my room,” Timothy presented.
“Actually you can.”
The girl tapped her finger on Timothy’s forehead. He felt a huge force that knocked his wind out of him as if a sledgehammer had rammed into his stomach. The next thing he knew, his feet were off of his bed. He was looking at his physical body that rested on his bed.
“Oh my god. I’m floating!” he cheered as he amazed at his flesh-less hands.
He looked into his mirror; everything was the same. He had his pajamas, dirty blonde hair, brown eyes, and a few missing teeth, but he felt weightless as if he could leap over entire cities.
“Yes, isn’t it wonderful?” the girl mentioned.
For Timothy’s age, it was crazy, but also fun. It was happening all so fast, but his mind was able to take it all in. The wild fantasies that Timothy kept in his mind made it easier for him to accept what was happening.
“My name is Timothy, what’s yours?”
“Riley, won’t my parents know I’m gone.”
“No. They will find your physical body sleeping here. No one will see us. Let’s go have some fun.”
“Where are we going?”
“Anywhere you want, follow me.”
They ascended through the roof until they were outside above the house.
“I can’t feel the cold,” Timothy amazed. “This is cool!”
Timothy followed Riley in a glide towards the Empire State building. As they flew towards the top of the building, the snowdrops just went right through him. I can’t believe that I’m actually flying, Timothy thought. He didn’t stop and wonder how any of it was possible. All he cared about was the fun he was going to have.
“Take a look at it all,” Riley suggested as the two stood above the Empire State building.
From the vantage point, Timothy’s eyes captured the entire city. It seemed like one big flare to him. He saw the bright lights of the skyscrapers and streets.
“It’s beautiful,” he revealed.
“What were you doing looking so sad when I found you?” Riley asked.
“My parents. They got me in trouble.”
He took a deep breath, knowing he needed someone to vent to. Someone, somewhere had to listen to him. To have someone know what he was going through would have meant he belonged, and that was what he wanted to feel.
“They always get me in trouble. It’s so lame.” He stared at the city below him. “I had one bad grade, and they decided to take one of my presents away and give it to the shelter.”
“Well, you still have your other presents. Besides, it could be worse.”
“I doubt it.”
“Come on, we have other places to go to.”
They glided through the streets of lower Manhattan that was crowded with traffic and pedestrians. All Timothy could hear were the engines of cars on the streets. As they continued in the air, Timothy glimpsed at people. A man holding a woman very close on the sidewalk as they shared a kiss. A taxicab driver shaking his head angrily behind numerous cars. Even during the holidays, the spirit that swept the streets was that of everyday life.
Separating from the traffic, they went towards the less busy part of the streets. They arrived at Central Park where dozens of people were skating on the ice. The people smiled as they went in circles with others around the ice rink.
“Have you ever ice skated before?” Riley asked. Her eyes were positioned heavily on the rink that sat below them.
“Yes, plenty of times!”
In excitement, Timothy took the lead to the ice rink as Riley followed. They went countless times around the rink with laughter of joy. Time became still in that moment. For Timothy, it felt like he had all the time in the world to enjoy the ride. It was the first time he smiled that night. All his worries and troubles were completely washed away by the happiness from the adventure.
As he closed his eyes to take in the moment, he realized Riley stopped cheering with him. He turned around where Riley was staring at a family.
“Riley, what’s wrong?” Timothy went over to Riley where she stood above a family of 3.
The father was tying the skates of his little daughter as the mother watched.
“I wished my family could tie my shoes.” She watched over the family with melancholy in her hazel eyes. “That way, I could walk with them again.”
The family took off skating in cheerfulness as Riley’s eyes stayed positioned on them.
“I don’t get you,” Timothy began. “It’s just a family skating. Why is it such a big deal to you?”
“Some people don’t have a family.” Her eyes then off of the family and on Timothy.
Those words sounded familiar to Timothy.
“My mother told me something like that,” Timothy remembered.
“It’s the truth. What people have every day, others do not.” She was gazing at the stars. “Come on now. There’s one last place we have to go to. It’ll be the best.”
They went to Rockefeller Center that was only a few minutes away. The enormous Christmas tree stood in the center of the area that was lit up by blue lights. People gathered to watch the show on stage where a man dressed up as Santa Clause danced alongside a band.
“Ho, ho, ho!” the Santa Clause man greeted as he waved at the cheering crowd.
After watching the remarkable show, Timothy turned to Riley as they stood above the scene.
“It’s magnificent,” he declared. “Thank you for finding me and taking me out here. I wouldn’t be enjoying myself right now if it wasn’t for you.”
She just smiled as her eyes fixated on the crowd.
“It was my pleasure, Timothy.”
Suddenly her eyes widen with her mouth. The graceful look on her face went away.
“What’s wrong?” Timothy asked.
“I have to go.” She started to fly away.
“Wait, where are you going?” He followed her away from the area.
“It’s something important. You can find me tomorrow, but right now you should go back home.”
“How am I supposed to find you?”
She went back closer to Timothy and spoke softly,
At that moment, she quickly took off, leaving Timothy alone in the city. Why would she takeoff like that? He wondered. Nevertheless, joy was still in his mind on his way back home. The experience he shared with Riley captured everything he dreamed of, pure wonder. This was the best night ever!
When he got back home, the lights were off in his room, and his bed sheets were on his physical body. He figured his parents tucked him in bed. They still care, he thought to himself as he entered back into his body, going into a good night sleep.
The next morning, he rose out of his bed. He didn’t pay attention to the growling of his stomach. All that was on his mind was Riley, and miraculously, he had a feeling on exactly where to find her. Still in pajamas, he ran down the stairs without causing alarm to his asleep parents. Outside of his house, he took off on his bike while the sun was still rising. He pedaled endlessly through traffic, streetlights, and different neighborhoods. I don’t know how, but I know exactly where to find her, he thought. It was like something in his mind that told him when he was getting closer. He was tired, but he kept on pushing it with a goal in his mind. I have to see her, I just have to see her one last time.
He arrived to New Heart Hospital when he felt like he was getting his closest. He threw his bike down and ran into the hospital. Maybe she’s visiting a friend; she has a kind heart, he thought. He went past countless doors until, finally, his mind told him he was at the right door. He slowly approached it and stood on his toes to see through the small window in the door. Inside the room, he saw a man and a woman sitting on the bed. The child laying in the bed was Riley. She had a tube in her nose, and her hair was shorter than before as if it was shaved off. Tears came from the man and woman’s eyes as they hugged onto Riley. She opened her eyes and caught Timothy looking in. She simply smiled and put her hand out while she was being hugged. All the excitement Timothy had went away as he looked into Riley’s eyes. He could see that she was suffering, but he admired the fact that she remained to be happy. It was all bittersweet for Timothy. He slowly waved back with a smile before leaving his friend to be.
As Timothy arrived back home, he saw police cars outside of his house. His heart started to beat faster as he worried about what was waiting for him. He rushed through the door and found police talking to his parents who sat down on the couch. His mother put her hand over her mouth at the sight of seeing her son again.
“Timothy!” she screamed as she stood up from the couch.
Timothy stood next to the door with a blank expression on his face. He was ready for whatever punishment he was going to get. Now, I’m going to get it, Timothy thought as his mother rushed towards him. His mother wrapped her arms around him as she kneeled.
“Timothy, my baby.” Tears ran down her face. “We were so worried about you.”
His father looked at the police officers.
“That’s our son, officers.” He walked over to his wife and son. “Timothy, where were you? Your mother and I freaked out. We even called the police.”
With the warmth of his mother’s hug, and the concern from his father, Timothy broke down in tears.
“Mom,” he wept, “I’m sorry!”
More tears went down his face as he bawled.
“It’s alright, honey.” His mother kissed him on his head as she kept her arms around him.
As the father let the police out of the house, Timothy’s mother kept hugging him. The father placed his arms around Timothy, causing Timothy to remember Riley and her parents. A smile went across Timothy’s face.
“I love you, mommy and daddy.”
He had wanted it all without realizing he already had it all. Now, everything he wanted was right in front of him. Many people weren’t fortunate enough to have what he had, and he wasn’t going to let it go to waste. Finally, he understood, it truly was a blessing to be alive for just one more day.