“Lillian? You don’t think I’m crazy, do you?” Elle spoke her question softly, almost as if she didn’t want Lillian to actually hear it. Lillian looked up from the tea she was preparing and looked at Elle with narrowed eyes. The words hung in the air like a fog.
“No”, Lillian said finally. “I don’t think you’re crazy. I’ve seen many strange and amazing things in my life, especially involving you. You aren’t crazy, you’re special. And somehow we’ll figure out how to manage these gifts of yours.”
Elle snorted dismissively. “Well, I feel crazy. Normal people don’t have visions of themselves as babies. Normal people don’t leap into other people’s bodies and experience that person’s life. Normal people see what is right before them, no more no less.”
Lillian jumped at the mention of Elle as a baby. When Elle had initially spoken to her about her visions and experiences she had only seen events that were relatively present-day. This was her first jump into her past.
“You saw yourself as a baby? When did this happen?” Lillian sat at the table and pushed a mug of mint tea over to Elle. She watched Elle over her the rim of her mug. Elle looked down at the tea for a moment, as if contemplating how much discussion she wanted to have. Generally she was completely open with Lillian but something about this particular episode affected her. Eventually she reached down and pulled a small bundle out of the bag at her feet. Lillian instantly recognized the pale yellow sleeper she had purchased all those years ago. It was the only baby related purchase she had ever made in her life so it had stuck with her.
“I went to that storage facility the lawyer told me about. The one that Dad had and never mentioned? It’s a disaster, by the way. As I was leaving, I knocked a bag down and it spilled open. Inside was this”, Elle spread the garment on the table. “When I picked it up I was sucked into a vision. I was in a room with a bed and some hospital equipment. You were there, and my parents, and a doctor. I realized I was seeing myself moments after I was born.
The oddest part was that you looked quite solid. My parents and the doctor were faint, almost like they were ghosts. And the baby…me…blurred before becoming very solid looking. I heard my Mom name me and saw you give the doctor the sleeper and then I was pulled back out. When I woke up I was in the storage locker again.”
Lillian considered this before answering. She had been working with Elle for months now, trying to figure out what her visions symbolized or what message was being sent. This was the first time she had definitively recognized people.
“I think”, she began slowly, “that the reason I appeared solid and your parents were faint is that I’m still alive while they have both passed away. And I would assume the doctor who helped deliver you has passed away as well. Why the baby version of you flickered…perhaps it has something to do with you being there at all. We’ll only know for sure if you have another vision from your past.”
She stood and walked over to a large trunk in the corner of the room. She pulled out an old ornate key from a drawer and used it to open the lock on the trunk. Elle watched with interest. Lillian had spent much of her adult life travelling and studying modes of life that were outside the norm. She had worked with people who had psychic abilities, telekinetic powers, practiced meditation, studied reincarnation, mediums, and witches. As a result she had a vast amount of knowledge that could potentially answer the questions Elle was faced with.
Finally, Lillian turned and held a small item in her hand. It was a teddy bear, worn and tired looking. And also, Elle noted, sticky looking. Lillian sat and placed the bear on the table between them.
“I’d like to try something”, she said. “I want you to pick up this bear and see what happens.”
Elle took a deep breath and reached for the bear. A split second before touching it she felt a jolt and was instantly transported into a vision.
She was standing in a hall. In one direction she could hear voices speaking. In another, the giggles of a child echoed. She turned toward the laughter, hoping it was herself. As she entered the room she could hear footsteps coming down the hall. Elle turned just as her father walked right through her. He was faded, like in the other vision.
“Hello, sweet girl! How was your na…Oh my lord! Becca! Becca come quickly!” Jason said. Elle stepped back out of her mother’s way as she burst into the room.
“Jason? What’s wrong? Has something happened to Elle?” Becca stopped, her face in a panic. Jason stepped aside and Elle took a good look at her toddler self. Becca stared at her child and then burst into laughter.
Toddler Elle was covered from head to foot with a mixture of baby powder and diaper cream. Her hair stuck up in all directions and a thick white layer coated her face. Splotches of cream dotted the fabric of her sleeper and the dust from the spilled powder still lingered in the air. The empty containers were in her crib. She jumped up and down in her crib, crowing with laughter, one hand gripping the rail for support, the other waving a teddy bear that had received a similar treatment of diaper cream and powder.
In between giggles, Becca stuttered, “How are we going to get her clean? That stuff is water-proof!”
Elle watched her parents dash around the room, grabbing baby wipes, extra clothes, and special soaps before plucking Toddler Elle out of the crib and into a bath. She smiled at the memories this must have brought to her parents when she was older and not as likely to get into mischief.
Listening to the splashes and laughter from the next room Elle started to walk out of her childhood room and stepped on something soft. The teddy bear, forgotten in the excitement, was lying on the floor, its small face staring up at her with a perpetual grin. She leaned down to pick it up and felt that same jolt as she was transported back to the present.
This post is part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. I chose the prompt What did they get into now? Describe a time your toddler got into something they shouldn’t have.
This is based on a true story. My oldest, 18months at the time, managed to get a hold of some diaper cream. We were so concerned with getting it off her and her clothes we never took a picture!! I so regret that. This is also a continuation of my post last week for Red Writing Hood. For more on Elle you can click over to here