Since I was a child, I’ve had dreams that come true. Some have been very specific, others more symbolic. A few have been clearly prophetic and emblematic of my life. This dream is all of those and is vital to Loved As If:
I was on a white beach, the taste of salt on my lips, the smell of it in the air. A cerulean sky met a sea of the same colour. Foamy waves lapped against the shore and at the sides of a narrow rock spar that formed a land bridge leading to my home. I had built a many-tiered sandcastle. Elaborate tracery highlighted the top of each Gothic window. Curved mouldings, deeply impressed in the sand, highlighted doors, decorated each tier. An arched roof with trellised walls covered the cloister. I must show my family. Then I saw, the tide had come in and the land bridge was now beneath the brilliant blue sea.
A tunnel, now filled with water, cut through the rock beneath the bridge. I’m a strong swimmer, I thought as I dove into the in, remembering I had already passed my Water Safety Instructor’s certification which required me to swim twice the length of the pool under water. With powerful strokes, I began to traverse the underwater lane. I must be nearly there. My muscles began to ache at the prolonged effort. My lungs heaved against my chest: I need air, Lord. I’ll have to go back. When I tried to turn, I saw many people were swimming behind me. I’ll never be able to get them all to turn and swim back in time. They’ll drown and so will I. I must go on. The pain in my chest and limbs increased with every movement. I won’t make it, Lord. I lacked the energy to pull my arms back once more; my feeble whip kick moved me only inches forward. I knew I would drown. At that moment, a hand reached out, caught hold of me, and pulled me to shore.
I found myself on a thickly wooded island. Open, brass-studded treasure chests lay beneath many of the trees. They held gold coins, held set and unset gem stones. The rubies and emeralds and sapphires were vivid, rich in colours like newly-dyed silk velvet. I made my way into the mouth of a deep cave lit with candles in ornate holders and torches set in gilded brackets. More open chests spilled treasures about the floor. A dais in the center of the cave held a carved golden throne which faced away from me. A man, robed in a green velvet cloak with ermine trim, sat on it in silence. This man’s head, his profile, had haunted me since the day I had snapped on and found myself in the midst of the strangers. I knew those hands, knew the feel of those arms holding me close as we rode through the rush of briny wind on the back of a cantering horse. I stepped toward him and touched his arm and wakened.