Gale tore through her notes, knocking over her LSU mug of pens and pencils. "I can't find it. It's not here." She abruptly turned, "it's here somewhere. Don't leave." Papers, a mouse pad, and her favorite snow globe all joined the pens on the floor.
"Don't leave," Gale cried as she searched.
From the doorway, Gale's mother watched and contemplated interrupting, but couldn't get her legs to move.
The girl held up a small object, "there! I told you." She smiled, held out her hand, and walked to the middle of her room. "Here. Just don't tell anyone. Mom would kill me. She gave it to me for my birthday."
Upon hearing that, Gale's mother remembered the pewter Pink Panther she'd given her daughter. It was the same pewter Pink Panther that her mother had given her. An heirloom. For a moment her feelings were hurt. A tear swelled in her eye as she watched the figurine fall to the floor. Only, it didn't.
Gale sat down while it hovered. "Come down here," she urged. After a moment, the figurine slowly dropped to the floor. When the figurine stopped moving, Gale said, "I've got to go to bed. You can keep playing. I'll put him away."
Without saying another word Gale climbed into her bed, slid under her covers, and snuggled down. A heart beat later she began snoring, a soft stuffy purring. Her mother stared at the figurine as it danced and hopped on the floor near her sleeping daughter's bed. Though she desperately wanted to run, she kept still. When the figurine stopped moving she crossed the room, picked up her daughter, then walked to her own bedroom.
Gale woke up as she was being put down, "what's wrong, Mommy? I was having a fun dream."
At first her mother bit her bottom lip, "who were you playing with?"
"How did you...? Susie."
"Honey, you can't play with her...she died."
"I know. But, I can when I sleep. She visits. Every night."
Gale's mother leaned back into her pillows, "just tell me she was a dream."
Gale sighed, "we both are."