- Rumi

Maria woke up screaming. It had been two years, but the nightmare still haunted her. Traumatising her, over and over. Even in the warm light of day, she couldn’t escape.  

What had meant to be a fun getaway had ended with the death of her best friend, Katie, and a career-shattering injury for Maria. In one afternoon, her dreams of being a prima ballerina had been replaced by guilt - guilt for surviving while Kattie had died.  

Despite her objections, Maria’s parents had decided to celebrate the end of her physical therapy. They had ignored her protests and dragged her to the Nariyah forest sanctuary for a family trip. This was a chance to start anew.  

But five days in, Maria still could not let go. Struggling to fall back asleep, she crept out of the villa and tried to breathe in the crisp, early morning air. Over the trees, the sky was beginning to show the first hues of daybreak.  

Not knowing why Maria started walking. Soon the villa was out of sight, and a sweet fragrance surrounded her. The further into the forest she went, the stronger the spellbinding scent. There was something familiar about it - like a perfume she had smelled before.  

On she walked, until pushing past some shrubbery, she stumbled into paradise. A picturesque glade unfolded before her. Everywhere she looked, wild blooms filled the scene with glorious colour.  

Bending down, she picked a flower with gentle delight. Eyes closed; she inhaled its heavenly essence. Her pain dissipated. A calmness overtook her, and only then could she hear Katie’s voice. It came from inside her.

“Look at this splendour around you,” said Katie’s voice. “This moment has been created for you by the universe. You may not think it, but you are meant to be here.  

“I know you love me, and I love you. I feel your pain; I know you cry for me, dear friend. But while you’re blaming yourself you forget to live.  

“My time had come, but not yours. And that is what it is. I am not angry; I am at peace, and now you must be too.  

“Embrace this gift from the universe. Let go of the past. Live in the now. This moment is all there is.”

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