The lights were so bright that everything looked white. Feeling blinded, she closed her eyes tightly, then opened them again. Her vision was blurry, and her eyes, burning from the light, stung with tears. A panicked cry startled her before she realized that the cry had come from her own mouth, which felt numb.

She tried to speak, but could only make a choking sound. She felt a chill run through her body and more tears burned her eyes and her head swam with confusion. Her ears even hurt, and every sound seemed to assault her.

She felt movement around her, and heard people speaking purposefully and calmly. Someone was examining her; she felt so sore and tired. She then felt them gently tucking a warm blanket around her, and she felt a minimal comfort as the warmth flowed through her skin.

She jerked her head to one side as she felt movement at her shoulder. She tried to ask “what’s going on?” but it came out as a stifled cry. Now the tears flowed as fright overcame her.

She tried to remember what she’d last been doing, but it was so hazy. The trip, that was it, she was planning for her trip. She had been so excited and so prepared. The next thing she remembered were the blindingly bright lights, and the loud noises. A flicker of memory came to the surface; there had been a tunnel. She’d been traveling through a tunnel, and she remembered seeing the light at the end.

Had something gone wrong? Had she had a near death experience?

Just then she felt herself being lifted through the air, and the motion made her dizzy. They were moving her… okay, so nothing was broken. She closed her eyes and an image of her friend Jonathon floated into her mind. He was smiling.

She remembered being home, and she’d been looking around her room, wondering how to prepare for her trip. She wasn’t one to travel much, and was happy staying home in the embrace of those who loved her. But after a while she’d started to become restless as she’d listened to her friend talk about one of his recent trips.

“I don’t know what to take?” She’d smiled at Jonathon. He was the reason she’d finally committed to going. He told her he would go with her, and they would have such a great time discovering new places and seeing new people. He laughed at her puzzled expression.

“You’re going to be fine,” he said, “ I’ll be there the whole time.”

“What if I can’t handle it though? What if it’s just too busy and hectic? What if I get lost?”

“What if, what if, what if,” he laughed. “Just breathe. Just take a deep breath, feel you are centered.”

She did. And she had to admit, it had worked, she’d felt better.

So now she struggled to block out the sounds and movements around her and focus on her breathing. At first it seemed she was wheezing, even choking and coughing a little. But as she centered herself and felt her breathing calm, her body relaxed.

She heard Jonathon whispering gently to her, and she felt him put his hand over her own.

“You’re going to be okay,” he whispered, and she opened her eyes to see him smiling at her. She immediately felt more relaxed, and the lights around her didn’t seem to burn so brightly anymore.

“Remember what we talked about?” His bright green eyes sparkled, “remember what I told you?”

She nodded her head.

“Good, now just relax. You’re off to a good start.” He smiled and seemed to fade into the background.

“There you go Mama,” a gentle voice announced, and she felt herself being held safe and warm.

“Your bouncing baby girl,” The nurse smiled and walked away.

“Good morning my little Julia,” the voice was the sweetest sound she had ever heard. She opened her eyes to see the bluest eyes she’d ever seen, and a smile so gentle and hypnotic she couldn’t help but feel warm and happy.

She reached an arm toward this beautiful face, but found herself clumsy. The smiling woman laughed and leaned over to kiss her face gently.

“My beautiful baby,” the sweet voice cooed, “my beautiful baby girl. You are going to have such an amazing life.” The new mama’s eyes filled with tears, and Julia finally felt herself get comfortable in her new body.

She saw a pale green light floating behind her new mother, and knew that Jonathon was close by.


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