Bells Rachmaninoff Prelude C Sharp Minor, op.3 No.2

I heard the bells ringing in the distance, long, desolate, and cold.

I was standing at the end of an isle. It led to a black box. On either side of the blood red carpet leading up to it, rows and rows of people stood, their heads bowed.

I took a step forward, wondering why everyone seemed so solemn. As if in slow motion, I was moving down the isle.

A funeral, I thought as I saw the tears that flowed down one woman's cheeks, a woman I recognized. My neighbor.

I called her name, but she didn't seem to hear me. I kept walking down the isle, each step carrying the weight of a thousand years.

The box, I realized, was a coffin.

As I approached it, I continued to wonder whose funeral this was. The bells still rang in the distance.

I was at the end of the isle, but not close enough to see inside the coffin in front of me.

I saw motion in my peripheral vision and looked to my left.

Surprise rocked through me like lightning. There, wiping her eyes with a tissue, was my wife.

Whose funeral is this?

I went to her, trying to reach out a hand to comfort her for her loss, but when I touched her arm it was as if she didn't feel it, and she looked right through me, as if I wasn't even visible. She just kept crying and crying and crying, dabbing her face over and over again from the sadness.

Then my gaze slid toward the coffin, holding this mysterious dead person that everyone I knew was grieving over. I moved forward, making my way to the black box that held everyone's attention.

First it was a foot. Then a leg, then two, then a torso, then a hand, then an arm, then, finally, a face.

I recognized the face. It was one I saw every day. The stubs of a beard, the rooked nose, the brown hair, the bushy eyebrows. The closed eyes.

It was me.

Confusion started to crowd my mind as it tried to make sense of what was happening. How could this be? I was perfectly fine, and now I was watching myself, my unmoving self, as I was laid down in this black coffin at my own funeral.

I turned around, my back to my dead body, staring at all the people I recognized. My mother. My wife. My neighbors. My friends. The tears. The pain. The anguish.

The bells rang.

Tears fell.

The bells rang.

The clouds gathered.

The bells rang.

A bird flew from its perch on a tree.

The bells rang.

A last ray of sun peeked through the trees.

The bells rang.

A single raindrop fell from the sky.

The bells rang.