Thursday, October 13, 2005

Just a dream?

Music is playing. An organ I think. Or maybe a few strings. I'm standing in the back, amongst a throng of activity, flowers are everywhere. The procession begins. I start to move forward, following a man and a woman, as they walk down the aisle. The audience stands and turns toward them, in anticipation, cameras at the ready, flashes go off left and right. I see many familiar faces, family and friends. Some of them have tears running down their cheeks.

There is a young man waiting up ahead, looking excited, with just a touch of nervousness on his brow. I see him smile as the man and woman approach the altar. The woman turns, smiling, with a tear and a slight sadness in her eyes. She is beautiful. She is my daughter. And she is radiant. She turns to the man beside her, who gives her a kiss on the cheek, and a warm embrace. At first I see his smile and I think the man is me, her father, giving his lovely daughter away at her wedding.

But the man is not me. It is the face of a complete stranger.

I panic. I am overwhelmed. I look around, suddenly realizing that even though I stand in the middle of the aisle, no one has noticed me. Frantically, I scan the crowd. Surely I must be here! At my own daughter's wedding! My vision starts to blur.

And then I see it. A picture frame sitting on a table at the base of the altar. A picture of me, sitting in a wheelchair, smiling. It is many years from now and I am not at my daughter's wedding and I am not the one to escort my daughter down the aisle and the man who is standing there must be my wife's new husband and I can't believe what I am seeing and in fact I am no longer alive. I start to scream.

I wake up. I am shaking and covered in sweat.

I lie awake for hours, realizing it was just a dream. Just a dream of some imagined future, one possible future among thousands, my brain getting the best of me in the middle of the night. Surely it was just a dream I tell myself. Over and over. Just a dream. Just a dream...

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