I always seemed to find some sort of peace in the dark. It brought a gentle freedom, with every dream reminding my inner child that anything was possible. It wasn’t often that she got to come into reality, my inner child. Today was the exception.
When the rays of the early morning sun crossed my face, I was awakened from my nightly meetings with that young girl. I blinked my eyes, trying to adjust to the brightness. I laid on my back, staring at the blank ceiling above my head. A smile crept across my face when I remembered what today was. I lifted my left hand from under my blankets and let the sunlight dance across the gem that adorned my ring finger. Today, I would add yet another ring to that finger.
The morning was filled with appointments and socializing, so I sprung out of bed to ready myself for the day. I managed to get ready in record time and left my apartment with coffee in hand. I locked the door behind me realizing that tonight it would become our apartment.
I strode over to my car, unlocking it and hurriedly getting in the driver’s side. As I drove out of the parking lot, everything seemed brighter. The shade of the blush pink sky fading into blue, the vibrant purple of the flowers scattered around my apartment complex sign. I felt like I was in one of the princess movies I grew up watching.
Music filled my car as I happily sang love songs that reminded me of pivotal moments in mine and Tyler’s relationship. I drove to the house I grew up in where my mom and my bridal party would be waiting to start preparing themselves for the occasion.
The swarm of cars outside my childhood home reassured me that everyone else remembered the importance of today as well. As I mounted the front stairs, I heard my girls yell from inside. They opened the door before I could even touch the knob and smothered me in hugs and laughter. Perfectly manicured hands pulled me inside and traded my coffee for a mimosa. My childhood friend who I hired to capture the magic of today was already snapping photos.
After a quick breakfast, we piled into my old bedroom and shared beauty products like we were getting ready for a school dance. In a matter of hours, we all looked runway ready. I wore a simple white dress that would soon be traded for the dress I dreamt up as a little girl. We posed for photos and ate a light lunch then piled into vehicles headed towards the church where Tyler and I first met.
I rode alone with my mom. We reminisced about the days when I would flaunt around in a play wedding dress with my stuffed bear dressed as my groom. She looked at me with tears in her eyes as she told me that she was proud of the women I had become. I told her not to make me cry my makeup off before the ceremony.
The next hour flew by. It was no time before everyone was seated and I was standing outside the doors to the chapel. The pianist started to play the song I picked out after mine and Tyler’s one month anniversary.
The doors opened and I spotted the love of my life on the stage. He turned to face me and when he did, his face lit up. A wide grin crossed his face causing me to chuckle a little bit. My father and my mother interlocked their arms with mine and proceeded to walk me towards my future. Halfway down the aisle, I looked up into my father’s eyes to see them lined with tears. To my left, the tears had overflowed my mother’s eyes and gently rolled down her cheeks. Seeing them tear up and looking ahead to my groom, the fantasy that my inner child had been clutching to crashed into reality. I realized that this was my dream, it was coming true.
My father captured me in a bear hug, like he just realized that his little princess was all grown up. The hug that my mother pulled me into was a lot gentler, but it held the same love. She planted a kiss on my cheek and released me to my groom.
I made my way up the stage and stood in front of him. I placed my hands in his and I gazed into the eyes that I would forever stare into.
The ceremony was short and sweet. I didn’t pay much attention to what the minister said. It was like I was in a daze and I was lost in the eyes of the man I loved. We recited our perfectly prepared vows. The words spoken were as sweet and sentimental. At some point, our ring bearer came on stage and a ring was placed on my finger.
But the moment that we kissed, my revere broke. It was final. We were husband and wife.
After the ceremony, we were immediately pulled into lots of hugs and handshakes, thanking our family and friends for celebrating our day with us. We were carried off by our wedding party for photos in the park and then finally arrived at the reception.
A loud cheer filled the hall as we entered the double doors. I blushed a bit, grabbed my husband’s hand and started walking towards our table.
The hall we rented was carefully decorated with tulle and fairy lights. The tables were garnished with flowers and lace, creating a dainty bohemian chic vibe. It was the party I had dreamt up as a little girl.
We all sat down to a simple but filling meal, followed by lots of dancing. I danced until my feet hurt and then made my rounds, catching up with old friends.
When ten o’clock hit, I was exhausted. The night had been so beautiful, I wished I would be able to remember all of it in vivid detail the rest of my life.
Tyler and I said goodbye to everyone we could and made our way to our car. We would stay at our apartment tonight and leave for Bali tomorrow morning, bright and early.
The car ride seemed to fly by despite the hour drive we had back to our apartment. We passed dozens of bars which all seemed to look the same, filled with those who worshipped the night. People walked to and from the nearby bars seeing who could cause the most commotion.
But that didn’t matter. I had the man of my dreams by my side and there he would remain.
Our journey ended at our apartment where we turned in for the night. We had a long day of traveling ahead of us and a night of partying behind us. So when my head hit the pillow, I was out.
My nightly meeting with my inner child came right on schedule. Something was different though. The dreams I had weren’t the normal fantasia that enchanted me while I slept. The nightmare felt so real. A flash of light. A hospital bed. The murmur of doctors around me and the beeping of heart monitors. It was so tangible, I felt like I could reach out and touch it.
But like all things, the night came to an end. Rays of early morning sunlight kissed my face and stirred me from my slumber. A beeping noise shortly followed and forced me to open my eyes. I was staring at the stark white ceiling above me. I looked at the walls around me, but they weren’t the ones I had decorated. The sheets were stiff and sterile and my husband wasn’t next to me.
My heartbeat quickened and so did the beeping noise. I looked to my right where a heart monitor was busy in taking data on me. There were IV’s that ran from my wrist to yet more machines.
I heard footsteps coming quickly towards my door. My heartbeat raced. The door burst open revealing a man in a white coat and two women in scrubs. He looked at me startled and came to my bedside.
“Amelia Sterling?” He questioned.
“Yes?” I stammered.
“How do you feel?” he said cautiously.
“I’m okay.” I said shakily. “Where am I? What happened?”
“You’re in Saint Michael’s hospital. You were in an accident.”
“What?” I was perplexed. “That’s not possible. I went to bed in my apartment and I woke up here. How did I get in an accident?”
“Mrs. Sterling, you should rest. We can talk about this more later.”
“No.” I said firmly. “Tell me what happened.” I grabbed his arm to stop him from leaving.
He sighed and sat down on the edge of my bed. The nurses scurried around him, taking information from the machines and checking my vitals.
“On the way from what I assume was your wedding, a drunk driver hit your car. You were found lying on the road in a wedding dress. You were ejected from the car.”
My head spun. This wasn’t possible.
“But why do I remember going to our apartment? I don’t remember getting into an accident.”
“Mrs. Sterling, you’ve been in a coma for the past week.” He paused. “That was all a dream.”
I felt reality shatter around me. The disbelief drowned me, I could barely speak. My mind was racing, trying to process it all. But my mind returned to my love.
“Where’s Tyler?” It came out more as a whisper than anything.
“Mrs. Sterling, you’ve been through enough today. Try to rest for a little bit and we’ll pick this up later.”
“No. Tell me.”
I saw the hesitation in his face.
“Please…” I begged. The tears started rolling down my face. “I just want to see him.”
The doctor hung his head. I started to put together the pieces and began sobbing.
“He didn’t make it…” He whispered.
I put my face in my hands and wept uncontrollably. The man I loved was dead. We didn’t even have one day together. The reality that I was a widow settled on me and it felt like a ton of bricks was placed on my chest.
The doctor continued to speak but I didn’t hear it. I felt something inside of break. The weight of everything crushed her, my inner child. It’s like I felt her die.
I was left in complete and utter,