Vera walked along the cold rocky shore, her eyes as sharp as the eyes of a thousand owls, looking for her little girl. Just a moment ago they were enjoying the sunny beach at low tide.  Abby carried her little beach bag and jumped over rocks, and stuck her fingers in watery holes, causing Vera to stop or have her arm yanked off.

Abby had let go of Vera’s hand to pick up a shell or take something out of her bag, while Vera had been gazing at the far off horizon, lost for a moment in the seamless connection of sky, sea and sand. It was the same ocean she knew in America, but now seen from the English coast. She never thought in a million years she would live in England. She felt a little like an adventurer. She wondered how her mother had felt crossing another ocean. They had both done it, for different reasons but ultimately to have better lives for themselves and their families. Vera had been overwhelmed when her husband told her about the opportunity to move, but she had done it. And now she had lost Abby. But how?

“Abby, Abby, where are you? Abby, Abby!” shouted Vera anxiously.

She felt as if her right arm was missing, her hand hung uselessly without Abby’s hand in it. Her fear made her brave; she couldn’t bear for Abby to be frightened and looking frantically for her.

She called again and again, turning in a slow circle and looked at every rock and patch of sand, near and far. There was no one else on the beach except for a lone figure with a dog, far off.  The sound of barking carried on the salty wind along with gull cries and the breaking waves.

As she gazed carefully and concentrated on everything that moved or stood out, she heard another sound rising above the beach din.

“Mommy, up here, here I come Mommy, look at me!”

Vera looked up and saw her daughter, astonishingly, sitting cross-legged on the little bathroom rug Vera had bought for her when Abby said all she wanted for her birthday was a magic carpet. She clutched the sides and soared straight towards Vera, her face full of infectious joy. Confused gulls squawked and darted out of her way.

“I must be dreaming, “thought Vera as she watched her daughter circle her teasingly, then lift higher until she was gliding on a current of air over the sea, hundreds of yards away.

“Abby!” She screamed with all her motherly authority and might. “Get. Back Here. Now! Right Now!”

Pausing for breath, arms tight at her side, Vera watched her child flying above the earth and suddenly she saw fleeting glimpses, like flashes of light, of the way life could be if it was lived based on magical thinking, love, joy and faith. It could be lived as simply as child’s play.

The child in Vera watched Abby, heard her laughter and was filled with such love and joy, she thought she may burst. It wasn’t the first time she had felt this for one of her children, but it was the first time she had seen one of them soaring through the sky.

Abby turned around and came flying back towards her, her cap of brown hair streaming behind her. Vera ducked slightly although Abby came to a smooth landing directly in front of Vera’s feet.

“Mommy, get on! Let’s go somewhere! Anywhere you want Mommy!”

Still not sure if she was dreaming, Vera decided to play along; she had come to the beach to play with Abby, so she was going to play with Abby!

She ran her hands over the top of Abby’s head and down her sturdy little arms, over her jeans and rested them on her sneakers; and looked at Abby, smiling.

“Let’s go to Paris and get a croissant and then to the pyramids in Egypt,” said Vera her green eyes twinkling.

“Ok, get behind me Mommy,” directed Abby.

Indulgently, Vera sat on the rug which seemed oddly bigger than she remembered. For a magic carpet, it wasn’t too exotic, but Vera had searched for one that seemed magical and found a little furry bathroom mat with a pattern of the earth, stars, planets, the sun and the moon.

“Hold on to me,” ordered Abby importantly.

Right, as if I’m not clutching you to my body like you were my own skin, thought Vera, as she obligingly gathered Abby to her.

“Not too tight, Mommy,” said Abby.

Vera peered around the back of Abby’s head and saw her daughter’s eyes closed tightly and then shockingly the carpet lifted and rose diagonally until they were high in the sky.

This is a lovely dream, thought Vera and decided to enjoy it.

“Where have you been flying to Abby?” she asked.

“Well, I went to a jungle because I wanted to see monkeys, that was really fun, they jumped on the carpet with me and then I wanted to see a lot of flowers in a meadow, the kind you tell me to think about after I’ve had a bad dream, and I think I was in Holland, there were tulips everywhere and then I also went to that mountain, like in ‘The Sound of Music’ and I visited penguins, they’re so cute and…”

As Abby cheerfully prattled, Vera relaxed recognizing the places and characters from Abby’s favorite books and movies.

Years later, long after they had moved back to the States and long after her children were grown, Vera often dreamed she was on a rocky beach searching for Abby and couldn’t find her. Abby was lost or she was lost. It always disturbed Vera, she never had those types of dreams about her other children.

She forgot what had really happened all those years ago, or she had forgotten the rest of the dream. The dream she did have made her anxious and worried, even though Abby was now an adult.

Now, many years later Vera was clearing out her kids’ closets for the umpteenth time and saw in the dark far corner of Abby’s closet the little beach bag she used to carry. How had she missed that before?

She opened the bag and pulled out a much worn out bath mat, Abby’s flying carpet.

That day at the beach or that dream of that day at the beach came back to her vividly. She reached again into the bag and there was one of Abby’s diaries, the kind with a little lock that came with a key. The lock easily pulled apart, but she didn’t read anything yet.

Vera sat on the bed, the rug and book in her lap and closed her eyes. She saw Abby and herself flying on her little carpet. They had reached the Egyptian pyramids first; they flew over them so high they could see an oasis settlement in the distance. They had walked together with people from all over the world speaking many different languages. Vera heard her parents’ language being spoken by an older couple and she introduced herself and Abby and then had a pleasant conversation with the couple about the old country; they now lived in Turkey.

After they were finished with Egypt, they had settled back onto the magic bathmat and were soon sitting in a Parisian café, people watching and eating croissants and drinking café au lait. Vera told Abby that in France all children drink creamy coffee and that her mother let her drink it too.

“Isn’t this fun mommy?” asked Abby.

“It sure is!” said Vera.

Now Vera opened the diary and read her daughter’s big lettered entries. She wrote of her travels with Vera, not only the dream Vera remembered but other travels too.  Abby wrote of trips she had taken her sisters and brother on, and even her father; but she mostly flew her carpet by herself or with Vera. Each tale of a mother and daughter trip began with Vera calling,

“Abby, Abby, where are you?”

And Abby would answer,

“Mommy, up here, here I come Mommy, look at me!”

The diary ended about two-thirds through.  Vera guessed Abby had outgrown the carpet and moved through another phase of childhood.

She closed the diary with a smile on her face; neither one of them had been lost, only leaving for a little fun and adventure. Vera laughed as she pictured her daughter and herself flying on Abby’s magic carpet.