A/N I know I published this a long time ago. However, I was re reading different drafts and wanted to make changes. I presented it to my writing group and they gave me some suggestions. Here is the polished chapter. Read and enjoy! :)
September 14, 1938
Here I am with my daily early morning musing. This morning is slightly different than usual as it is the morning of my wedding. That still sounds so foreign to me, "my wedding." I never ever expected to have more than one wedding day in my lifetime. Well, at least not more than one blissfully happy wedding day to a woman I love.
I shall return to my impending nuptials later. First I must mention the utterly bizarre dream I had last night. The dream has me very unsettled this morning, even more so than my impending nuptials. Believe me that is saying a lot.
Allow me to elaborate. I was sleeping soundly most likely dreaming of happier days ahead. As in real life it was the early morning hours on my wedding day.
I suddenly woke up to bone chilling temperatures. There was frost forming on the walls. The subzero feel rivaled even the most freezing of my naval days deep in the trenches.
What was most disturbing was that I was eerily calm. It did not see the bitter cold frost as anything out of the ordinary
I drowsily opened my eyes and I could see a portion of heavenly light. I looked directly into it without blinking or tearing. The strong illumination produced an overwhelming sense of calm bordering on sedation.
I saw the heavenly figure of a woman within the beams of light. Speaking of heaven, it finally became clear to be it was my dearly departed Agathe.
I was not the least bit rattled to see my dead wife standing before me in my below freezing bed chamber. The miraculous part was she looked angelically beautiful like her former pre fever self.
She stepped out of the radiant beams and she spoke to me. She even came close and sat next to me on the edge of the bed. I acted as if it was the most normal thing in the whole world. Well, what man doesn't expect his dead wife to come sit beside him now and then?
She then proceeded to speak to me in her pre fever voice. "I can't help but notice that you are still limiting yourself to your side of the bed." She said with her old sweet vivacious laugh.
I knew she was needling me about my strong habits in her very sweet subtle Agathe way. "Yes, well I'm a creature of habit. No one knows that better than you my dear."
It was the most bizarre scene. Before I knew it, we were involved in our old playful banter as if she was still alive and we were still husband and wife.
I decided to prepare a prepare a clever barb back at her just as I would have when she
"You know my dear it's awfully cold in this bed chamber! I must say it brings back many memories of past bitter cold winter morning in our marital bed; Yes, my dear I remember waking up on many a bitter cold morning feeling chilled to the bone and completely COVERLESS."
I stressed the word "coverless." She deliberately avoided my gaze because she knew I was right.
My ONLY issue in our marital bed was the she was a chronic cover hog. She would literally take all of the covers in her sleep and I would frequently wake up half frozen on cold winter mornings. By the way, I really do mean that was the ONLY issue is our bed. I believe that seven children speak for themselves.
"YES! YES! YES!" She said rolling her eyes through her laughter.
"Well you shall find out very soon if Maria possesses the same chronically bad habit of hogging all the covers. It's September now but winter will be here before you know it."
With that comment my heart jumped wildly in my chest. I actually went into a state of high alert. This may sound bizarre but when she blurted out Maria's name, I felt like an adulterer whose beautiful sweet wife just blurted out the name of his secret mistress!
This does not happen very often but when I went to say something my voice caught in my throat. After making some very unflattering noise I managed to choke out a very hoarse sounding, "MARIA?"
She responded to my utterly pathetic display. "Well, yes of course! Maria is the reason for my visit! Did you not realize that?"
Unfortunately that led to another utterly stupid response on my part, "Oh well yes well of course I did!"
"Of course I realize you are getting married tomorrow or shall I say today." She said with a smile.
"I could see watching you from above these past weeks that you are blissfully happy and that you deeply love Maria! However, there is one problem. I know you better than anyone, perhaps better than you know yourself. I fear that deep down you feel some guilt over deeply loving a woman other than me. I just had to come and give you my blessing. Don't you even realize this is what I have wanted all along? Even in my last days, minutes or even seconds on earth I begged you to promise me you would allow yourself to fall in love again; Yet, you became angry and refused to make that promise." She said with mild frustration in her voice.
I guess that my erratic moods that managed to frustrate her in life also continue to frustrate her after death. I could clearly see the look of frustration that she used to give when she was still alive and I was in one of my erratic moods.
I must admit at that point I responded back with equal if not greater frustration. I was beginning to realize that women can be equally as frustrating after death as they are in life unfortunately.
"Well, of course I refused to make that promise! What did you expect me to do? Did you want me to just give up? You have to understand that giving in and making that promise to you would have meant accepting the fact that you were leaving me very soon. How could I possibly do that? Even minutes or seconds before God took your beautiful soul to heaven I wasn't willing to accept it."
" Yes you are right. I suppose it was unfair of me to just expect you to give up and accept my imminent death. It's just that I knew it was coming and I was so worried about the rest of your life. That is why I was overjoyed when I began to notice from above that Maria was beginning to melt your poor broken and battered heart. Oh, I noticed Maria was beginning to melt your heart long before you did my stubborn man!" I can honestly say that I couldn't have handpicked a more perfect woman for you! Being a mother of children that I love more than life itself, I've always been interested in their stake in this; It warms my heart more than you can imagine seeing how much she loves the children and they love her!" "
"They adore her and she adores them. She showed them from day one that she wasn't giving up on them which showed her true loyalty and concern for their wellbeing and best interests." I could not help but smile when I thought about Maria's devotion to the children.
"Oh Agathe, it is true! I am happy! I'm happy for the very first time since I lost you. It's also true that I love Maria very much! I adore her! Just the sound of her voice or her unique footsteps, cause my heart to leap in my chest every time I hear them! I haven't felt that kind of passion and excitement since…" I trailed off for a moment or two.
"…well since I was courting you. I want you or shall I say I need you to know that nothing absolutely nothing can ever erase what we had! You were my first love you know that. Oh yes, I had a lot of silly affairs before I met you! Oh, but at the time I was too young and stupid to know what real love is! That is until I met you. I'll never ever forget the first time I ever laid eyes on you. The minute our eyes met and I saw your beautiful flowing blond curls, my heart was yours. A man never ever forgets his very first love not matter what happens throughout his life. I love you so much and I always will. As beautiful sweet and angelic Maria is she can't erase what we had nor can she take the beautiful and special place that you and you alone will always occupy in my heart."
"Oh I know Georg." She said with a giggle as she rolled her eyes in mock exasperation. "I never thought for a minute that Maria or any other women could ever take my place. Of course I feel the same way about you. When I first saw you I was struck to the bone in a moment of breathless delight. Oh darling, I was so young, and inexperienced. However, seeing you instantly made me feel warm happy and safe! I remember I was actually afraid I would faint when our eyes met! Oh, Georg you were so handsome!" She said breathlessly.
"What do you mean 'were'?" I said with a laugh deep from my belly.
"If you had started to faint, I would have run caught and protected you in my arms!"
"My love I've accomplished what I needed to accomplish. Now, I must go! You need to get some sleep for Maria's sake. You can be quite grouchy when you are over tired. Unfortunately poor Maria will learn this in time. However, I'd hate to have her discover this so very early on in your marriage. "She said with the sweetest laugh ever.
"Goodbye Georg. Don't ever forget that my spirit will always be with you to be called upon any time you need me. I love you so much now and forever!"
"I love you too Agathe. Thank you for reassuring me and putting my mind at have no idea how much it means to me."
"Of course I do silly." I know you better than anyone, remember!" She gave me one last beautiful smile as she walked towards the bright pure heavenly light.
I do believe that I immediately fell asleep as if I had not been conversing with my dead wife. I drifted into a very relaxed and peaceful sleep that I had not experienced in some time.
I hate to even say this for fear of sounding insane. I have referred to the above as "a dream." However, there is a part of me deep down inside that knows it was not a dream. I truly believe she was with me and offered me her love, support and genuine blessing.