I was among women friends, women I do not know in real life. We were all preparing for our weddings, on the side of a cliff. I could see down to my left, see the waves not crashing, but gently lapping at the hill.
Three or four of them went in to a bridal salon, to re-emerge in white glory. I then worked up the courage to go inside myself. I saw many wedding dresses I wanted, dresses that I thought would set off my figure to best advantage. But the only dress put apon me? My dress from my wedding to my first husband, fifteen years ago.
"No", I cried. "This isn't right, I don't want this." But still, the long tight sleeves envelopped my wrists, I looked down on the pointed lace on my hands. I craned my head back and saw in the mirror the way the bodice hugged me, saw in a clear light the beads, the pattern it made on my body.
I recognized that it fit me in a way nothing ever could, but at the same time it all felt slightly wrong, like I had failed to check off some elusive step on my way to greeting my second husband-to be.
I remember saying, "I don't WANT this, make it STOP", and then somehow I was out of the sleeved and stifling gown, and in a strapless dress. My hair was no longer loose and free, but held out of my vision by a loose braid.
And there was Husbandly One.
He didn't seem exceptionally happy to see me, but he wasn't turning away, either. He clasped my hand and laughed quietly. Without me wishing it, most of my wedding to my First Husband flashed before my eyes.
But at the last minute, that moment before I repeated what My First Husband had said? Husbandly One chuckled, and somehow got ahold of my hand. And then it was nothing but him. I knew I was experiencing many things at once, knew I was both marrying First Husband AND declaring vows to the Second... but only the Second Husband mattered in that moment.
I hope that, someday, I will have the honour of pledging myself to him for real.