Day of Dreams

A Short Story

by Cobus Vermeulen

SARAH de Young divorced ten years ago. If you look at her face carefully, you’d
easily see how the hard time in life had cut into her life. She’s a woman with fine threads of
grey in her hair and bags under her eyes.
Her energetic daughter was the reason why she kept on going. Together they
struggled through deep waters and enough problems, living their everyday lives. Her
daughter’s spirit as with her blood-red hair was one of the things which gave her that strong
drive. Although her light-blue greyish eyes were her biggest allure – not always visible,
glittering.
Michelle, Sarah’s daughter always planned to study further; she had great potential in
doing just this. Her dream was to become a veterinarian – she absolutely Loved animals!
“What a brilliant one she’d have been!” Sarah told herself regularly.
This was one of many dreams that Sarah could not help out with, her finances would never do
– this was a painful problem for her. Luckily there was always something to be done. They
tried everything, but with all the red-tape, there seemed to be on luck!
Michelle, as energetic as she was, looked for work, without any resentment. She
landed something fast enough. She didn’t wait and worked as hard as she could in reaching
further.
Every month when Sarah De Young received her salary, she used some to help the less
fortunate than what they were. She was their very own Mother Teresa. Without any regret,
she helped many a person and enjoyed helping. The joy of helping someone else…
“Mark my words, the day that I win big money; I’ll give each one of you a day of
dreams…” Sarah promised Clara and the rest.
Clara was a sixty-year-old lady, who had one of the warmest smiles ever. This for a
lady well beyond her prime. Always ready to entertain someone with a lesson from an aspect
of her own life. With her appearance, no shop would allow her inside – but then who wanted
to spend money. She had a more significant gift than money itself. She was happy with her
life. It was for these people that Sarah enjoyed helping out, for those who had struggled and
lost the battle against life. As she found, many lost this battle. Looking at the people she
helped, she saw there was always something to be done and to learn from anyone.
At times when possible, even the Pastor visited them, with Sarah and Michelle. They
were fortunate when there were more people of the Church attending and helping the
homeless. Mostly done when there was a birthday or something like that. They’d be singing,
and useful gifts were presented. Where the Pastor could, he’d be spreading the word of the
Lord as well. The Congregation close to Pocholms Haven did all they could do for these
people in need. There were more good thoughts, but more could always be done.
Even though Sarah and Michelle did all they could in helping the people there, they
could manage only that much. Sarah believed that the person who had the will, they would be
able to survive the seven toughest years.
There’s written in the ‘Great Book’ that there would be good years as well. It was
these days in which Sarah was working for so hard. Michelle was excellent at support for
Sarah, especially in those days when your will and faith reach a low point…
Sarah made sure to partake in various competitions, not for herself, but hoping that if
and when things change, she could help out where her heart needed to.
It was this idea which many people she spoke with, thought she was wasting her time. Not
only helping Michelle to further her studies but as well, giving hope to everyone around her.
Sarah knew very well how much Michelle wanted to study, yet there was no way for her to
even utter these words to her mother.
The dream Sarah shared with her daughter.
Michelle did all she could for Sarah. If and when Sarah was able to taste those good years,
she would for sure, share her good fortune with everyone at Pocholms Haven, the day
whenever this did happen.
Sarah learned very soon after her divorce that Michelle’s father had no intention of helping
her with money raising Michelle. To say the least, helping her to study further. Living his
better life, the only thing as cold as he was, would be the winter’s cold rolling steadily in over
the country again.
“I truly hope we’ll be able to do more for Pocholms Haven’s people this year than
what we did last year…” she said softly, knowing that like her voice trailed off, so to would
the support and help trail off with the coming cold.
“I hope that the weather would be softer on the homeless this year. Hopefully that the
helping hands wouldn’t feel the cold that fast and leave them to their own fate.” Michelle
said, seeing the dread in her mother’s eyes.
Knowing Michelle’s good spirits all the time, Sarah picked up on the cold mood her
daughter had fallen into. Worrying what could have pulled her down so far.
MICHELLE didn’t talk too much with Sarah, running always helped her work
through her thoughts and thus, it was the best for her to do. She didn’t train for any specific
reason as to use it as a coping mechanism, looking at life around her as well.
Barely five minutes after she’s left, Sarah heard something from the front of their small
house. Someone was knocking at the front door.
Sarah walked to the door, had Michelle forgot her key or something else?
“No… no… it's Pastor Frank. Why would he be here at my house? I’ve given my
monies for the month… Could it be Michelle, did something happen to her, is that why he’s
here?” she asked loudly, ripping the door open at the same time; “Pastor Frank, please tell
me, what happened to Michelle?” she shouted a little too loudly, shocking the poor
unsuspecting man, having just knocked at her door.
“No… no… Sarah, there’s nothing wrong with Michelle that I know of.” he told her,
“I’m so sorry if that is what you thought.” he told her, trying his best at calming the poor
woman down.
Tears welled in her eyes, unsure if he was telling her the truth, neither registered that they
were standing still and silent in the door for the moment.
“I’m so terribly sorry,” she told him, seeing the truth in his eyes, “Please come in and
sit down. Where are my manners.” she said, shaking some and walking in behind her,
“Would you like something to drink?”
Walking into the house, Sarah didn’t even hear what he started to tell her. The poor man had
no idea she could react as she did, having the wind-blown from his sails. It’ll only be human
for him to have a drink at the end of the day… just being human.
The poor man tried his best at doing so much for his congregation.
“If it’s not Michelle… then to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?”
Sarah cannot sit still, nothing happened to Michelle, her greatest fear was siphoned, so why
would the man come to visit her at this time in the afternoon?
“Could I really have won the cake-baking competition this year?” she wondered.
“Sarah, I’m truly sorry to have to tell you this… I do have some bad news for you.”
he started to tell her, “Not about Michelle as I said.”
He looked at her for a moment, allowing her to steady herself for the news to come.
“The old lady at Pocholms Haven, I think her name is Clare?”
Pastor Frank told her, seeing that Sarah did know exactly who he was talking about. The
more he sat there, speaking to her, the more he could see the happiness once more drained
from her face.
He saw now the tears were running while she sat listening to him.
“Yes, Pastor Frank… do I remember her very well.” struggling to keep her emotions
in, unable to stop the flow of her tears, “Over the past few months… I’d gotten to know her
very well… we became good friends.” she told him, struggling to get her thoughts past her
pain and uncertainty, into understandable words.
“Did something happen to her then?” she didn’t want to ask.
The poor man couldn’t muster the courage to tell her what he suspected she knew. While he
sat there, unwilling to give her the terrible news, she studied his face and saw the news in his
eyes.
He moves to the seat next to her, just holding her hands in his, while the tears now
freely rolled over the older skin. Each tear looked like it was racing against the other, while
she sat there, lightly shaking and trying desperately not to entirely fall apart.
MICHELLE determined in reaching the gymnasium, she’d been too busy, but on this
day she wanted to get there. She most of the time enjoyed the challenges which arrived in her
way; thus, it was a challenge in reaching there. Five miles was a bit far, not that she was
running every day, doing her best at keeping fit enough. She never reached the gymnasium,
but rather met-up with a friend along the way.
“Hi there, it’s Clare, isn’t it? You and my mother Sarah know each other?” Michelle
asked when she saw the woman, “What are you doing so far away from Pocholms’ Haven?
Are you okay? Can I help you?” she asked concerned, seeing the woman just stood there in
the middle of nowhere.
“I’m waiting for you dear. You and your mother are always giving as much as you
can there at Pocholm’s Haven. Not asking for anything in return. How can I go without at
least saying
goodbye?” she said, totally surprising Michelle with this.
Where was the old lady going?
Did her children at long last find where she was?
What is going on here?
All the question ran at the same time through Michelle’s mind, yet she never had the chance
to ask any one of them.
“I just need for you to do this old lady one favour,” she told Michelle, handing her the
envelope; “Tell your mother this is from me.” holding the envelope out to her, “I’m going to
miss the both of you very, very much.” she said, while the tears rolled over her old sunburnt
skin.
Most of the tears just vanished into her skin, a hard life she had lived. The rest created a
contrast on her skin, looking as she did and sounding like a saint.
“Tell her she was like the daughter I never had and you, the granddaughter which I’m
so proud of.” she told Michelle, smiling her warm smile – while a weird little wind ripped the
envelope form Michelle’s hand.
In the time it took Michelle to finally get a hold of the envelope, she looked but didn’t
see the old lady anywhere.
Having almost reached the gymnasium, it was a long way home. Michelle jogged as hard as
she could, unsure of what just happened, but knew that she needs to get to Sarah as soon as
she could. Only when she turned into their street, did she have to start walking.
She saw there were a few cars parked outside their house.
“Mom… what could have happened now?” she shouted, then ran full out, getting
there as fast as she could.
Michelle didn’t have the energy for anything else strange or bad for the day, yet, all the cars
didn’t make any kind of sense either.
“Why had all these people suddenly arrive here?” she asked fearful, opening the
garden gate.
Walking to the front door, she saw some of the church members talking to one side. It
didn’t help for them to stop talking the moment they saw it was her walking past. Fearfully
she saw in their reaction there was something terrible going on!
Without her knowing it, everyone was looking for her, and now, suddenly she was there!
Walking through the front door, the first person she saw; “What is going on here,
where is my mother?” she asked, shocking the poor woman, who just stared at her.
She walked through the house, listening where the most noise came from. She wasn’t going
to wait and see which of the people there was going to react, giving her the answers she
needed!
She barely stopped in the kitchen.
“Mom… where are you?” bumping into the kitchen table, seeing her standing with a
few of the women in the kitchen.
“What is going on? Why are you so distraught?” Sarah asked, not worried about
anyone else around her.
Michelle looked at her, seeing the tearful red eyes of her mother.
Sarah took hold of Michelle, just standing in the kitchen with everyone around them.
Breathing deeply, Michelle cannot help herself and burst out in tears, letting go of a lot of
stress and emotions at the same time. Sarah only held onto her, not sure what was going on
and knowing that she may not have heard the news yet. She’d held her daughter, wait until
the right time and find out what was going on.
For the time being, Sarah gave Michelle something to sleep, hoping things would be
better when she did wake later.
Sometime later the guest left there, leaving a great deal of food behind. Pastor Frank said his
goodbyes and Sarah had to make space of the food she’d never engulf all by herself.
Before she knew it, just past sunset, still in the kitchen, Sarah saw Michelle walked into the
kitchen. She was still very drowsy, but couldn’t sleep anymore.
“Why were all the people here today? Did I miss out on any of your plans?” she
asked, pulling out the chair, sitting hard.
“Can you remember the old lady there at Pocholms’ Haven which I met at least two
years back?” Sarah asked, not entirely sure she’d remember.
“Clare, yes I can remember her, why?”
Sarah kept quiet and slowly turned, looking at Michelle.
“I didn’t think you’d remember her,” she told Michelle, “Sometime after you left,
Pastor Frank arrived here. I thought something had happened to you.” Sarah continued, “Only
it was about Clare.” keeping quiet for a moment, trying to control her emotions – “He came
to tell me that she passed away last night in the Hospital. That’s the reason why some of the
church congregates was here.” she finally said, placing her hand on Michelle’s shoulder.
Sarah didn’t know how Michelle would react, struggling with the news herself still.
“I have something you should see…”
Michelle ran from the kitchen, again shocking her mother, reacting far stranger than Sarah
would have suspected.
“It’s bizarre if what you told me is true,” Michelle told her, “Seeing that I spoke to
Clare on the way to the gymnasium this afternoon. She gave me this envelope to give to
you.” she told her mother, just standing shocked and pale in the face; “This cannot be, seeing
what you just told me of her passing, who did I then speak to this afternoon?” Michelle
asked, slightly shaking – “There as someone, seeing here is the envelope still.”
Sarah took hold of the envelope, looking wholly astonished at what she saw and felt
in her hand.
“I run past the park, the one closer to the gymnasium. Then suddenly I saw her there,
spoke to her a bit. The wind blew the envelope out of my hand, and when I got a hold of it, I
didn’t see her anywhere.” Michelle told her, seeing that Sarah didn’t listen to her.
Sarah didn’t have a thing to say. She sat hard on a kitchen chair and just looked at the
contents of the envelope in her hand.
“I’m not sure what you or I did right. But there is a cheque in the envelope. It looks
like a life policy which will pay out… ten million rand – made out in my name!” Sarah
shouted so loud, completely waking Michelle from her fatigue.
THE next days were full of business and excitement. Sarah made sure that Michelle
was able to go study, full-time without any troubles to think of. She also made sure to
upgrade what she could at Pocholms Haven. Making sound financial investments with the
help of her old-time Bank Manager.
One of Sarah’s greatest regrets was, Clare couldn’t ever share in any of it, yet – there
were many more which Sarah was able to help in her honor.
“The day of dreams, at last, arrived for all of them.” Sarah told Pastor Frank who
stood with her, helping the homeless at Pocholms’ Haven.