It was time for Isabelle to go to sleep. Mom took her to bed, pulled the blanket and gave her a kiss on the forehead. The girl had a fever. Okay, when you wake up you feel better. That’s what Mom promised. Mom was always right.
The girl was wrapped up like a present. She wore white pajamas with pictures of blue chrysanthemums, her favorite flower. Her hair was pigtailed, even at that time. She looked back at Mom and smiled. Then, mom gave her a kiss too.
“Now, you sleep well” Mom said, with that quiet voice of her.
Isabelle was very fond of Mom. Well, which five-year-old girl doesn’t think her mother is the best in the world? Gently, she blew the girl a kiss. Isabelle giggled. Finally, Mom stood up and turned off the light. She left the room and closed the door.
Some minutes passed. Isabelle was burning and sweating. It was difficult to sleep. She rolled in bed, trying to find a comfortable position. Then, she heard someone whispering.
It was not Mom. Nor Dad. It was someone with the voice of a child, inside the room.
Isabelle rubbed her eyes, trying to figure out who was calling her. But it was too dark. She jumped off the bed and opened the curtains. The moonlight invaded the room, painting everything with silver.
She finally could see it, but it was hard to believe. It was her doll (whom she secretly had named Jenny), who was whispering. Curly yellow haired, big green eyed, slender and long armed, Jenny was speaking.
“Get off the bed, Isabelle. Come over here!”
“But I …”
“No but, please. I need you to come with me.”
“What? Where? I don’t know if I…”
What Mom would say if she saw her talking to Jenny? It was impossible, but the doll was there anyway, whispering with insistence.
Somewhat reluctantly, Isabelle did what Jenny asked. The doll jumped off the six drawer dresser and, with her arms made of cloth, opened the door of the big closet. Isabelle was amazed. That door was very heavy
Inside the closet, it was possible to see the clothes and toys that belonged to Isabelle. However, there was something else. The brightest light the girl had ever seen in her life was shining at the bottom, where her shoes were supposed to be. Okay Isabell was just five years old, but still, the light was very, very intense. She wondered if Mom would enter the room because of that brightness. Nevertheless, it never happened.
“When I count to three,” Jenny was saying, her green eyes flashing, “we’ll dive into the light.”
“But I’ll beat my head in the bottom.”
“No you will not, Isabelle. Trust me.”
And so they did.
“One, two and… three.”
Isabelle never knew how much time had passed. When she woke up, she was back in her room, but lying on the ground. She sat down and rubbed her eyes. The night had passed. She had no fever anymore. A new day had arrived.
She was a little confused, though. Something was different. It really looked like her room, but some things had changed. Her dolls had disappear from the upper shelf. Her paintings of pets were not stuck on the wall as well. And, more intriguing, Jenny wasn’t anywhere either.
Isabelle got up and went to her parents’ room. There was no sign of them. She ran towards the kitchen and, relieved, saw that Mom was sitting by the table, sipping coffee, her sight lost somewhere invisible.
Before the girl could say a word, she noticed something weird. Mom looked a lot older. Her hair had been painted gray and she had wrinkles around her eyes. How could she aged so much in just one night?
Suddenly, Dad appeared from behind the refrigerator. He too was changed. A lot of his hair was gone.
Until that moment, neither of them had noticed that the girl was there.
Then Isabelle called: “Mommy! Papa! What’s happening?”
There was no answer.
They talked only between themselves. Mom gave Dad a faint smile and started to say something about a friend. Then she changed the subject to a TV show she had seen the night before. Dad only nodded and, again, Mom’s smile faded away as if it had never existed.
“Why don’t you talk to me?” Isabelle shouted.
Again, silence was the answer, as if the girl was invisible.
Suddenly, two boys came running into the kitchen. They never noticed her presence either. Mom smiled at them.
“Who are you?” Isabelle cried, once again to be ignored.
“Somebody give me an answer, please!”
“It’s a glimpse of the days to come” Jenny said, appearing out of nowhere, just like that.
“They can’t see us, Isabelle. Only because we are not part of this scene.”
“You’re saying it’s a dream?”
“Sort of,” the doll replied, opening her expressive eyes wide. “It’s a dream to make you feel better.”
Isabelle watched the boys. Soon she realized they were her brothers. That would be cool. Brothers … She was pleased. She smiled and felt at peace. Without realizing it, the girl closed his eyes and everything faded away.
Mom and Dad were up early. It was seven years now. They left the boys at Grandma’s and took the way to see Isabelle.
When they got there, silence fell over them, as usual.
The day was beautiful. The sky, shining blue, without even a cloud.
Mom and Dad stood in front of the place where Isabelle slept forever.
Mom, as always, began to weep. Dad hugged her without saying a word. It would be useless, anyway.
They were about to leave, when a girl with curly blond hair passed by. She leaned slowly and gently placed a flower in honor of Isabelle. It was a blue chrysanthemum.
Then she smiled timidly at them, her big green eyes sparkling with tears. So she was gone.
Translated from the Portuguese Version by the author.