Winter wedding, me at 22, slipping on a mask, swallowing back my words, reciting vows at the altar in a white clapboard Baptist Church.
Mama in her lavender dress pinned with a pink corsage, her caramel colored skin radiant, her silvery-black hair glossy, sits in the first pew, stares after me, moves her lips to speak, but halts as if the words would sting me.
Mama dwells in my memory in the land of the haunted. I attempt to hold Mama in that memory, in that winter wedding space, and scream for her to speak, to stop me.
In the reception hall, Sister Sara smooths her hands along the edges of the white linen table cloth.
In my white wedding gown, I stand in the middle of the floor, take Charlie’s hand and together we approach the table.
All my doubts fade away; I am lost in the endlessness of dreams, of promises of forever love. The plastic bride and groom tumble from the top of the wedding cake, land at our feet.
Decades later, Charlie comes back to me in a dream.
He and I in a late summer moonlit night long ago sink our bare feet into the shifting sand. He gathers me into his arms, ocean waves surround us, starlight sparkles and scatters like the light of broken diamonds falling from the sky.
We meld as if nothing in the known universe could ever separate us.
But it did.
And I wake up from the dream.
Jenny W. Andrews, copyright 2019