I’ve heard people say they can’t sleep the night before they go to Disney World.
Apparently, it’s like Christmas.
I imagine if you’re a child, sure. I mean, I do remember great times at Disneyland as a kid, even as a teenager it could be fun. Although I didn’t lose sleep over it.
But I did last night.
Of course, I imagine those people who do lose sleep, it isn’t in dread.
I laid in my bed all night, staring at the very white ceiling, wishing for another hospital stay.
Alas, morning came, Jack showed up, and I went full-on sulk. Sitting in the front seat of the Jag, staring at the white topped mountain off to the side, I found myself truly wondering what the big deal was. Robert Palmer was blaring from the radio, and Jack, in my opinion, was smiling just a little too much.
“You know, it was cruel to leave Gwil behind.” I tried chastising him.
“We didn’t leave him behind.” He glanced at me as we pulled closer to the parking attendant. “He just had to take his own car. You know my favorites are the Jag and the Vette, neither one has more than two seats.”
We pulled up to the booth. “Preferred please.”
“Heaven forbid you ever have kids.” I churlishly whispered.
“I heard that.” He scowled at me then turned his head back to the female cast member with a charming smile. “Thank you, have a great day.”
We followed the instructions and parked near the front in the lot nearest the main entrance.
“How did I allow myself to get talked into this?”
~ 1 ~
Jack leaned close to me and gave me big puppy dog eyes.
“It’s for charity, doll.”
I shoved him away.
I didn’t want to be here.
I didn’t really know what I wanted, but it wasn’t this, and the thought of all these people… I mean seriously, you should see them! There were so many of them, all moving in one giant synchronized motion towards the front gate.
“Where do all these people come from?” I wondered aloud as I sat still, refusing to leave the car.
Jack, however, had parked, gotten out, had come around my side and was holding my door open.
“I have no idea. Get out.” He was very forceful.
I gave him an overly dramatic sigh then pushed one leg out of the car.
“We’re meeting Gwil just inside at the black swans. I’ll get your chair, then we’ll start our day of adventure!” He narrowed his eyes at me. “You know you’re small enough these days that I can pick you up and carry you in.”
My jaw dropped at the sound of his threat.
“You wouldn’t dare!” I didn’t think he would anyway.
“Sabrina, you’d think I was taking you to the dentist.” He grabbed my hands and started to pull. “It’s Disney World for chrissake! Now get out of the car.”
The sun was already inching high into the sky, but it was Christmas eve in Florida, so it wasn’t terribly humid or hot. I was wearing black shorts and a lavender tank with a lace overlay. Normally I don’t pay that much attention to my clothes, but nothing from my old wardrobe fit anymore, so Charlotte brought me a few of her things and this one I kind of liked. Especially paired with the beaded sandals I found at the festival Gwil and I had gone to the weekend before at Lake Eola.
~ 2 ~
I finally caved and stood up.
“Hurrah.” Jack’s deadpan tone was a little funny, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of laughing at him.
We began walking in flow with everyone else. It was kind of creepy, really. It was like we were all robots walking on order of our master the great Walt Disney.
Although, I suppose nowadays he’s been all but forgotten. The Disney I knew as a kid seemed different from the corporate money eater that stood today. I don’t know if this was Walt’s dream or not, I don’t really care, but just from a cultural perspective, he certainly created a legacy that was powerful and extraordinarily successful, and I suppose anyone would want that.
As we neared the front gate, I began to hear themed music. Problem was, it was tribal sounding music that only reminded me that Rafe and Feffi went on my African safari.
In a shocking twist…
This did not improve my mood.
We didn’t talk much on the walk to the front gate. I glanced at some of the merchandise set up on carts and by a shop. I noticed some Christmas hats attached to mouse ears that were kind of cute. I saw a tee with giraffes on it that I liked way more than I would ever admit.
I looked around at all the people flooding in. They seemed so happy. But why?
“Hey, don’t forget to shield.” Jack reminded me as we neared bag check.
Shielding is an energetic technique to keep darker energy off your aura.
Yeah, I know, but when I met Rafe, I opened up to a lot of new spirituality and found it to be truly helpful. It wasn’t the stuff I’d learned in church about being good so you’d get into heaven. It was more real than that. And as a result, God had become more real to me. I’ve had these weird gifts all my life to hear angels and spirit guides, only I never realized what that was before. I learned I’m extraordinarily sensitive, and I discovered shielding definitely did make a difference to my energy and mood. I learned to be truthful about what I feel and see in the world, and when it comes to metal detectors and bag check, I get that most people think they’re keeping us safe. But they’re erected in fear and meant to intimidate, and that causes a
~ 3 ~
lot of dark energy to congeal around them. A set-up as big as Disney’s, I could see the dark energy radiating off the area like heat waves off a parking lot. Made me sad more than anything, and I definitely pulled in extra energetic shielding before walking through.
Once we were inside, I saw Gwil right away. Hawaiian shirt, shorts, black socks with sandals. He had a string of Christmas lights hanging around his neck and his hair was piled high atop his head. He was a sight to behold, but nowhere on earth was there a bigger heart than Gwil Meza’s.
I ran up to him and threw my arms around him.
“Merry Christmas!” He hugged me tight.
“I’m so glad you’re here.” I was truly grateful for him to play some form of buffer between Jack and me. I was even hopeful that he’d be my ticket to an early release.
“I was thinking the same about you!” He released one arm and left the other around my shoulder.
“Okay, you two stay here, I’m going to go rent a chair.” Jack walked off, looking back over his shoulder for a minute before he was lost in the flow of people.
“You need to sit?” Gwil looked at me with restrained concern.
“No. I’m fine.” I moved forward towards the fence that kept the swans and spoonbills in their safe island. “Actually, can I tell you something?”
I was a little psyched, and needed to share with someone.
“Anything. Is it juicy?” Gwil lowered his head to be close enough to whisper if need be.
I laughed and shook my head.
“Sadly, no. It’s just, the walk in from the parking lot—” I smiled again as I went over it in my head. “—it didn’t kill me.” He probably wouldn’t get it, but that was a long walk, we had to wait in lines at bag check and at the main entrance, and here I was, still standing. And while that bench right there was definitely tempting, I was trying to see how far I could push it
~ 4 ~
before that damned chair arrived.
“Bri Bri! Oh my God, that’s incredible!” He hugged me again and lifted me slightly off the ground.
Nothing else needed to be said, we both just smiled. He gently punched my shoulder. He was as proud of me as I was of me. It also gave me hope. I could see that my body was recovering. All Raquel’s input was helping and the work was paying off. That meant everything.
“That one’s Svetlana and the one over there is Stacy.” Gwil pointed at two black swans gracefully gliding along the water. “That’s not their real names. I just call them that.”
He grinned as if that made sense.
I chuckled because it was weird.
The sounds of people talking, the occasional sharp bark of laughter, or someone yelling, blended with the music. I could hear loud birds somewhere in the distance. The overall vibe of this park was actually a little beautiful.
I could feel the animals and they seemed content, for lack of a better term. The people, too. Granted, it was the beginning of a day of high expectations for most, but the mood was excited. The African nature music on the overhead sound system was pretty cool, too. I found myself relaxing against my own will.
“You know, if you relax and trust us, I think you’ll have fun.” Gwil started.
“I’m being a bitch. I know I am.” I shrugged.
Gwil pushed back a loose strand of hair that had escaped the band confining the rest of the dull and straggly mess that was still in so much need of attention.
“I think you have a certain right to be. But I also think you’re hurting yourself and you’ve been hurt enough. Maybe you could let today heal you. This park, in particular, has restorative energy. Let it do its thing.” He smiled and raised both his shoulders quick then dropped them.
~ 5 ~
I looked back at Svetlana and Stacy. I took in a deep breath and connected again with the energy all around me. I was fighting what might be magic, probably under some need to be right against Jack, which so wasn’t fair to anyone. But did I have it in me to open up and let happiness in?
“Hey, can I ask you something?” Gwil sounded hesitant.
I turned at looked at him before I answered. I trusted him, but his hesitancy made me wonder just how uncomfortable this was about to be.
“You don’t need advice on how to dispose of a voodoo doll, do you?” I looked at him askance.
“Huh?” His expression was so confused. “Uh, no. And I know guy who takes care of all the bodies.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. Gwil didn’t even let a little confusion stifle his quick and deadpan wit.
“What did you want to ask?” I asked before he could start spinning a tale of intrigue about the bodies.
“Okay, well, I don’t want to step on any toes or fall in any crevices today. Four years is a long time, and I don’t know what you’ve been caught up on and what you haven’t. I’m concerned about what I can say, or should say, but I don’t want the entire day to be us afraid to talk to one another either. Does that make sense?” He tilted his head to one side, staring at me with utter kindness.
I hadn’t really thought about it like that. I mean, it was obvious when I first woke up that I’d know nothing of the past few years, but now, people’s lives had changed. Nora was an award-winning pastry chef, and Charlotte an author, Jack got married, and Rafe apparently went on my African safari without me…
But I digress.
I drew a breath and released thoughts of Rafe and pushed back that same damn straggle of hair that Gwil had just pushed out of my face.
~ 6 ~
“You know what, just say anything and I’ll deal. I’m sure there are good and bad things that have happened. Some will make me sad, some mad. But just be you, Gwil. Say anything and I promise to deal with it the best I can. Okay?”
He looked at me for a long moment, probably trying to decide how truthful I was being.
“Yeah, that’s okay with me.”
We reached a happy middle just as Jack returned.
“All right, honey. I won’t make any chariot awaits jokes, just get yo pretty ass in the chair and let’s go!” Jack pointed to the chair.
It was generic, stupid, and I sighed heavily before remembering what Gwil had asked a few moments before.
Could I let the magic in?
I felt tears trying to sneak up, and I blinked furiously against them.
I sighed as surrender slipped over me and I sat in the damned chair.
“Onward to the magic, men.” I commanded.
“All right!” Jack seemed pleased to fall into line.
Gwil reached out and we squeezed each other’s hands. We didn’t get more than a few feet away when I gasped at what I saw and Jack stopped pushing.
“Oh my god, where’s my phone?” I stood up and grabbed it out of my pocket so I could catch photos and video of what I was seeing. “Oh my god! Oh my god!”
In front of me was a woman on stilts, totally camouflaged like a tree or something!
“This is DiVine.” Jack informed me with a little too much told-you-so in his tone.
I chose to ignore it.
“Oh my god she’s gorgeous!” She bowed and moved with such slow exquisite elegance.
~ 7 ~
I started to cry and had no idea why.
The problem was, once I started, I couldn’t stop. Now I stood there, beside my wheelchair, in amongst a large crowd, my phone out taking video, being totally and completely mesmerized by a walking, dancing, vine.
Gwil leaned close and whispered beside my ear, “And let the magic begin.”
~ 8 ~
Additional chapters can be found below.
The Memory of Magic ~ Samantha Lucas
These next few chapters were simultaneously the most fun and the hardest. I really wanted to give you all an honest feel of being at Animal Kingdom, but my Animal Kingdom, the way I like to traverse it, with heart and purpose.
I’m hoping I was successful.
There’s a lot more to come, so enjoy the ride!
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Hakuna Matata ~ Samantha