"I had the strangest dream last night." I said, walking into the kitchen where my mother was making breakfast on that Saturday morning.
"What was it about?" Mom asked. She always wanted to know what happened in my dreams these days.
"I was obviously a few years older and I was carrying a stack of books. Suddenly, I heard someone shout, 'Hey Linda!' I dropped my books in surprise. I turned to see a blonde girl with a kind face walking toward me. She smiled at me and suddenly, another person was there--a tall, lithe boy with a mischievous grin and a sparkling pair of brown eyes was picking up my books. I think his name was Todd. He said hi too. And wanted to know if Jerry and I were still on for the movies with them. And I said yes."
"Jerry?" my mom asked, "Who's Jerry and who's Todd and this other girl?" My confused mother asked.
"I don't know Mom, but apparently I was running late for class and I was pulled into the muscular arms of a dark-haired boy and I called him Jerry. I slapped his arm and told him to let me go, but he asked if his 'future wife' would play hooky with him instead. Jerry lifted my hand to his lips and that's when I saw the diamond shining on my left hand. Before I said anything, he kissed me. It was weird to watch myself kiss another man, but at the same time, I could tell he really did care for me."
"You dreamed you were engaged to this guy?" My mother raised an eyebrow. I nodded and continued on with my dream.
"Then, I saw my right hand for the first time and on it sat the beautiful silver ring. The one Mike gave me last month, right before… I might move on, but Mom, I can't ever forget him." I didn't tell Mom, but I knew I didn't actually think I could be completely happy with dream Jerry, but it was a hope. Plus, the girl and Todd were good friends with me. I would be all right if I decided to go to college right after graduation, wouldn't I? I didn't tell Mom how I overheard my two dream friends talking to each other as they watched Jerry and I walk away.
"She cried herself to sleep again last night," the girl said to Todd.
"Again? Do you think she'll ever get over this mysterious ex?" he asked, sounding concerned.
"I doubt it, but Jerry will sure try to help her."
"Linda, Mike's only been gone a few weeks. No one is trying to make you forget him."
"I know, Mom. It's just…we're only seventeen. He and I should have been making plans for senior prom. I should be buying a dress and wondering when's he's going to ask me to go with him. Instead, I had to watch him be buried. I had to watch my boyfriend's body crumple on the court like a rag doll!" Tears sprang to my cheeks.
"Why? Why don't I get to be normal? Why did he have to be taken away?" I turned and ran to my room, closing the door and throwing myself into bed, into my dreams. Only in these dreams, Mike hadn't had a heart attack while playing for our high school basketball team. In these dreams, Mike was still there, holding me and telling me that it would be okay. Tears rained down my cheeks as the day he died replayed over and over again in my mind.
"Why him? We are so young, Lord. Why did you have to take him? Why not someone who had lived their life already? Mike and I were just getting started." My mother heard me continued sobbing and came in to comfort me.
I jerk awake at the memory of the week after Mike's death. The tears are still fresh although many years have passed. It's odd that I should remember that dream now, as I lay beside my husband, watching his chest rise and fall. Jerry's a good man ( I did meet Jerry in college) and he has taken good care of me. I love him now. Not the way I loved Mike, but Jerry has given me a home, a life…and now, a family. I smile as I look down at my protruding stomach. I rub my baby's temporary home with my right hand, but the moonlight plays across that silver ring.