It’s a bright day. I find myself in a clean, white room. I don’t recall how I got there. The room is neatly decorated with things that I cannot recognize. I’m confused.
I walked down the hall, which has a strange sense of familiarity. Yet, I’ve never been here. When I reach the next room, I see a figure in the expansive kitchen. He is slightly hunched over the counter, looking through a large cookbook.
Suddenly, I’m filled with emotion. My father turned to me and smiled. I am speechless. What do you say to someone you lost so long ago?
“Oh you’re awake! Your mom went out with your husband to the store. We are expecting more guests, so she needed more ingredients. Your brother and sister will be here soon. Your daughter is in the other room sleeping. She should be awake soon, go check on her.”
I stood there in awe. My parents were long gone in my world. They were divorced when I was a young child. At that time in my life, I didn’t think I wanted children. What in the world is happening ? But my father…he was here. I blink back tears and hold my urge to run and hug him. He looked so different from when I said my last good-byes.
My father looked at me quizzically, as I remained frozen. Finally, I managed a small smile and made my way back through the hallway. I wanted to ask him so many questions.
Somehow, I knew which room to enter. There, on a soft white bed sat a small girl. She was no more than 3. She wore a beautiful floral dress and her hair was long and chocolate brown. Her arms rose towards me, asking me to pick her up. I looked at her closely. There was no doubt this child was mine. She looked at me, waiting for my response. Parts of her resembled me, but there was a different look to her. Her eyes were light in color, and her skin was fairer than mine. She was me, and yet she was also part of someone else that I didn’t know.
As I held her tightly, we heard a car door shut. I looked at the window to the front driveway. A dark luxury sedan was there and a woman stepped out of the passenger side with groceries in hand. My heart jumped. It was my mother. Healthy, vivacious and smiling. Alive.
I looked for my husband, but I saw someone else. I saw the figure of a taller man, impeccably dressed with the same dark brown hair of my daughter’s. Though I couldn’t see his entire face, I saw a flash of blue eyes. He went to the trunk to gather the remaining groceries.
What life was this? This large home, a cookie cutter life and people who were supposedly my family, but were not mine. I placed my daughter in my father’s arms and rushed to door.
Before she could had a chance, I opened the door to see my mother. Older than I remember, but still her. She smiled and opened her mouth to say something…
In the next moment, I sat up in a rush. I’m awake and transported back to reality. I look around to see the familiar decor of our bedroom and my husband sleeping soundly next to me. I touch his dark black hair and olive skin. He turns over and continues sleeping. He is not the man in the dream.
I sat pondering – was that an alternate life ? Was that life something that could have been? If my parents stayed together, moved to their dream home, and lived the perfect American life? It was a life far removed from the reality which we lived and experienced. I shut my eyes once more knowing that some things were just never meant to be.