The Bride

Picture her, a mixture of Vivian Leigh and Lynda Carter, with skin like cream, large, thickly lashed eyes, and full lips.  Sculpted into a spiraling and curling work of art, her hair rivals the most intricate of powdered wigs, but it is dark, the color of richly brewed coffee.  In the dream, I am living inside her skin.

Her gown is white, tier upon tier of antique lace, which rises high, encircling her delicate throat.  At the center, she has pinned a cameo featuring the three muses.  The sleeves, bodice, and skirt overlay are a pale blue silk with a faint sheen, and it all drapes over a hoop skirt and tulle petticoats.  Under all the fabric, her body is bare.  She wears three-inch, black button-closed boots.

She sweats in the Caribbean summer heat, irritated that her fiancé wanted to have a Victorian themed wedding in a tropical setting.  The ceremony and reception are over, and she waits in the shade of a building awning, waving a lace fan at her painted face, and praying her new husband hurries so they can adjourn to the honeymoon suite.  She glances down at her ring, a fat hunk of emerald that matches her eyes.  She likes the ring, diamonds being overrated and over-priced.  The groom arrives, but she pays him little mind other than to take his offered arm.

She looks out across the lagoon.  There stands the collection of bamboo and grass huts that make up the honeymoon suite.  To get to it from the shore, she must cross a plank and rope bridge.  Her feet hurt.  Tired and hot, all she can think is to get in the shade and cool of the hut and get out of the dress.

When her husband turns back to speak with straggling well-wishers, she releases him and starts across the bridge.  She makes it halfway.  A strong wind sweeps across the lagoon, and she stumbles.  Her ankle twists, and she falls against the rope railing.  In a comical way, she flips feet-over-head over the railing and takes a nosedive into the lagoon.

Here, the lagoon is already twenty or so feet deep.  She stares up at the surface of the water as she sinks.  She tugs at the dress, tries to wrench off the boots, but still sinks until she finally touches the bottom.  The bottom is smooth, almost like a concrete swimming pool but made of sugar-white sand.  She tries to push off the bottom and digs her fingers into the water as if it could be used as a rope to pull herself to the surface, to blessed air.

When her lungs fail and her blinding vision of the surface above goes dim, I pop out of her body and shoot into the sky.  My spirit spreads until I am the sky.  I am the clouds, the birds, the very sun.  I watch as the people scream, and the young husband, realizing what has happened, dives into the water.  I smile down at them, happy to be free of the dress.


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