I had a dream. I was walking through the zoo trying to find my mom. I was a little girl again, but...not. You know dream logic. The zoo was full of people, but no animals. So many people there that I couldn't find my mom. I kept on catches glimpses of her around the corner, but I could never find her.
But I found Derek. He tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Tag, you're it, Karen."
"I'm not Karen," I said.
"Make up your mind then," he said. "I remember back when all you wanted was to be called Karen. Blah blah blah don't call me Grace."
"What are you talking about?" I asked.
"You don't remember?" He laughed and I shivered. "You loved that stupid horror movie. It scared you out of your wits, but you insisted on watching it every time it came on."
I looked around and noticed that there weren't any people around anymore. "Where's Mom?" I asked.
"Where she always is," Derek said. "In the ground, pushing up daisies."
"She was here, I saw her." I turned around and Derek was gone as well. "Derek?" I turned around again and there was my dad, standing inside one of the cages. "Dad? Do you know where Derek went?"
"He's in here, too," Dad said. "Somewhere. Don't worry, my little Judy. I always loved you more."
"I'm not Judy," I said. "I'm Grace."
"Judy, Grace, Karen," he said. "You had so many friends. You were never lonely growing up." He looked at me with wrinkled face and I suddenly remembered scattering his ashes in the ocean and how I wanted to cry but couldn't.
"Dad," I asked, "where's Mom?"
His smile faded. "She's not here," he said. "It's not her." I heard footsteps behind me and I turned again and there she was. My mom. Same faded dress she always wore, same hairstyle, but I couldn't see her face. She was wearing a wooden mask. "Don't go with her," my father whispered.
My mother went to lift the mask from her face and then I woke up.
I don't know why I'm telling this. I just felt the need to write it all down.