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Adventures in Akadia

Chapter 18

The Mirror


     As Elizabeth opened her eyes, the once-flowing blue waves within the magical arch had seamlessly transformed into a bustling scene of a school hallway. The hallway was filled with kids that appeared to be about 10 years older than Elizabeth. The students were rushing in every direction, eager to get to their classes. Amidst the commotion, the focus of the scene narrowed in to one particular girl.

     The girl was collecting a large stack of books from her locker. With a solid thud, she closed it and peeked at her watch, checking the time and realizing she needed to hurry. Elizabeth's mouth dropped open as she caught a view of the girl’s face. She almost blurted out "Hannah!", the name of her older sister. But as she got a closer look, Elizabeth realized that while the girl looked a lot like her sister, it wasn’t Hannah after all.

     "Who is that?" Elizabeth whispered to herself, her eyes wide with curiosity. Searching the scene for any hints, she started noticing the other kids. Their faces were also familiar, and then it struck her – she knew each of them; they were older versions of her classmates! Her gaze snapped back to the girl struggling to manage the tower of books in her arms. With one more look at the girl's face, it confirmed what she now suspected - Elizabeth was being shown an older version of herself!
     Elizabeth focused intently, eager to see what her future looked like. The scene being shown to Elizabeth stayed for a few short moments, up until the older Elizabeth had finished rushing through the hall and made it to her classroom just as a school bell began to ring.

      With the magical waves of the archway, the old scene faded and seamlessly transitioned to a completely new one. Immediately, Elizabeth recognized it – she was now being shown the dance studio she had started going to last year! Her older self was in the middle of a routine. A surge of pride welled up in Elizabeth as she watched her older self dance gracefully across the floor until the routine was finished. Elizabeth expected to see the same feelings of pride and joy on the face of her older self. Instead, Elizabeth could clearly see that the older her was looking unhappy.

     The dance teacher, the same one she had now, approached Elizabeth and attempted to offer some encouragement. The young Elizabeth watched closely, unable to hear what was being said between them. She could see her older self pointing to different spots on the floor and making frustrated hand movements. The young Elizabeth now knew what was happening. She could tell that her older self was pointing out everything she had done wrong in her routine.

     The scene in the archway changed once again, now showing Elizabeth’s bedroom. It was the same room she had now, just with some different decorations and pictures. Elizabeth could see her older self working hard through the same stack of books she had been shown in a previous scene.

     Elizabeth’s mother appeared at the door, seeming to invite her to join the family for an activity. Elizabeth watched on as her older self shook her head and pointed toward the books. Her mother displayed a disappointed look but allowed Elizabeth to continue with her studies. The scene continued on much longer than the others, allowing Elizabeth to watch her older self continuing to work on her homework well into night.

     As the night progressed, Elizabeth saw her older self slowing down, propping her face up with one hand. She could sense the fatigue and, to her surprise, noticed that her older self had tears running down her face. The scene suddenly faded away and Elizabeth was once again staring at the soft, slow-flowing waves of blue in the archway. Elizabeth desperately wanted to know more. "Why was she crying?" she began to wonder before immediately correcting herself, “Why was I crying?”. Feeling somewhat unsatisfied and unsettled, Elizabeth slowly returned to the group.

     “What happened?” Jamari asked eagerly as Elizabeth approached.

     Gabriela followed up, “What did you see?” 

     Before Elizabeth could respond, Rosy said quietly, “She see what she need to see.” Rosy then turned to Lukas before saying, “Lukey, you nex’”.

     Approaching the archway with the same caution as Elizabeth, Lukas climbed the stone steps and gazed into the flowing blue waves. He was first shown an older version of himself at his family's dining room table.

Seated at the table, he was working hard on some homework, though Lukas couldn’t tell which subject he was working on. It was clear to Lukas that his older self was frustrated. Suddenly, the older Lukas crumpled up the paper he had been working on and threw it across the room. Lukas's mom approached from behind, placing her arm over his shoulder. As she started saying something to him, he immediately recoiled and refused whatever she had offered. His mom stepped away and the older Lukas crumpled a few more papers before the scene shifted.

     In the new scene, Lukas saw himself in a classroom, now even older, surrounded by other students his age. It looked like the teacher had just given the class instructions on a project they would be working on. The assignment seemed to be using simple materials to build a bridge capable of holding something heavy.

Lukas watched on as the other kids buzzed with excitement, forming groups and gathering materials for their build. Meanwhile, the older Lukas chose to work alone. At first, it looked like he was moving faster than the others and making quick progress. However, as time passed, Lukas noticed something interesting. The reason the other groups seemed to be going slower on the project was because they, rather than immediately starting to build, they spent the first several minutes discussing the different ideas they all had before settling on the one they thought would work best.

     The teacher eventually came around to the groups, handing them a heavy object to test their bridges. Lukas watched intently as the groups that had worked together had been able to create bridges strong enough to hold the weight. But when it came time for Lukas to test his bridge, it crumpled almost immediately. 

     After the scene faded, Lukas walked away from the stone arch feeling mixed emotions. Even though he was amazed to have seen a bit of his future, he really wished it had been more encouraging.

     When Lukas returned, Rosy instructed Jamari that he would be next. Jamari moved more quickly to the arch than the others, excited to learn for himself what the mirror was going to show. When Jamari stood before the stone arch, it quickly revealed a scene of a thrilling basketball game. Jamari was quickly able to identify himself among the players. He was older in this game, probably in high school. Jamari smiled wide and joy radiated from him as he watched the older version of himself playing with finesse and moving really well on the court.

     Before he could see how the game ended, the scene swiftly transformed. Now, Jamari and a few friends sat in the same gym, except this time there wasn’t any crowd and most of the lights were turned off. Dressed in graduation robes, the group of friends laughed together and enthusiastically acted out some of their basketball highlights, passing and shooting an imaginary ball. 

     Over time, the conversation seemed to change. The others maintained their same level of excitement, but they weren’t talking about basketball anymore. Jamari could see that his older self wasn’t really engaging in the conversation anymore and was starting to show hints of sadness. As his friends prepared to leave the gymnasium, they urged Jamari to come along. He simply shook his head and chose to stay. Jamari’s older self gazed over the basketball court and then down to his feet. The scene began to fade and Jamari was left wondering why he looked so sad. He had become an awesome basketball player, what was there to be sad about?

     As Jamari walked to rejoin the group, he noticed Gabriela standing a few paces in front of the rest of the others. She was clearly aware that she was the only one left that needed to visit the mirror.

     Approaching the arch, a nervous flutter entered Gabriela’s stomach. She managed to stand tall in front of the mirror, bracing herself for what it might show. 

     Rather than being shown multiple moments from her future, Gabriela was shown a memory from her past. She looked into the archway and could see her old house. It was a beautiful summer morning and there was a big moving truck in the driveway. She immediately knew what day this way. As she continued to look over the scene, Gabriela found herself standing near the front door, holding tightly to her grandmother. 

     She remembered this moment well—it was when she had to say goodbye to her grandma. Her heart ached as all the emotions from this difficult moment came back. She watched on as she saw her grandma stroking Gabriela's hair and whispering something to her. Gabriela reached into her memory to try and remember what it was that her grandma had told her in this moment. 

     With some effort, she was able to recall that her grandma had actually talked to her in Spanish. What she had said translated to mean something like, "You have so many people here that love you. So many people will love you at your new home too. Be open to loving them in return." 

     The memory remained focused on Gabriela and her Grandma for a moment longer before fading away.

     Gabriela lingered at the arch for a while as she wiped away tears. Eventually, she turned and walked down the stone steps to return to the group.

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