Excerpt: <em>Saving Each Other: A Mother-Daughter Love Story</em>

Everything begins with fire. Then me alone, age 14-and-a-half. Not used to being all on my own. I'm in a dark place, a very dark place. Everything is burning around me, just burning. I run.
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A mother and her teenage daughter hugging.
A mother and her teenage daughter hugging.

Excerpted from Saving Each Other: A Mother-Daughter Love Story by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy. Available from Vanguard Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2012 by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy

Where It Begins

"I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened." -- Mark Twain

FIRE.

Everything begins with fire.

Then me alone, age 14-and-a-half. Not used to being all on my own.

I'm in a dark place, a very dark place. Everything is burning around me, just burning.

I run.

I run so fast for the window it's like I'm flying! But I don't seem to get there any faster. I see
the tree, my escape, my only means of survival. My heart is pounding in my ears, throbbing repeatedly like the sound of bass drums.

Bum-bum-bum-bum!

The glass shatters and down I fall; but wait, where is everyone?

I turn to see all I hold dear, burning, all that I love wasting away right before my eyes. The
pain is too much to bear. I'm so helpless. How could I be so helpless? The tears begin to swell -- with a pressure behind my eyes -- fighting so hard to break down that dam I've built, to let the flood run through.

In the dream, I can't stop the force and finally give in, breaking as the steady flow of giant-sized tears make their way down my face.

In my safe and secure life, I shake myself awake, slowly lifting my head off my "sweet dreams" pillowcase as I reach for the ready box of tissues at my bedside.

The bewildering part is that this isn't the first time I've had this nightmare. But it is the first time I let the feeling of loss coax the tears from my eye sockets, opening the floodgates I've been so desperately holding back for days.

Just a bad dream, I tell myself, catching my breath.

Just a bad dream.

Of course. But then why do I keep dreaming about fire? And why does it seem so real, like a serious warning -- a symbol of looming danger, a sign of impending doom?

I mean, dreams rarely come true in real life, right?

They rarely, if ever, come true, that's fair to say.

Except in our family, apparently. For better and for worse.

Before You Go

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