Olivia sighed as she pinned her platinum hair into an intricate bun, she found herself lost in a daydream. Her boyfriend, Alex, had told her that tonight he had something special planned. And this announcement had left her humming an upbeat tune under her breath as she rushed to get ready.
The sound of the doorbell sliced through Olivia ́s distracted thoughts, and she nearly ran to meet the personable figure standing in the doorway. Alex was a tall man, with a steady figure, scarlet hair, and freckles that invaded his rounded features. He wore a tuxedo that hugged his strong figure and a white tie, causing her breath to catch in her throat.
He offered a grin when he spotted Olivia. She wore a pale rose gossamer dress, pastel pink flowers woven in her blonde hair to complement the dress, and light salmon pink eyeshadow to bring out the softer tones in her silver eyes.
“You look absolutely stunning.” His low voice rumbled as he took her hand, placing a gentle kiss on the back of it.
She barely managed to breathe out a simple word of thanks, but she offered a sweet smile as he guided her to the vehicle parked outside her house.
“So what exactly do you have planned tonight that's so special?” Olivia inquired as she stepped into the car,
“You’ll see.” Alex offered a lopsided grin as he drove,
“Hmm.” Was all Olivia said before they pulled up to a blocked building, the bricks were grey, bleaching the color from the scene.
“What’s this?” She asked as he helped her out of the car,
“You’ll see.” This comment pricked her nerves, but she gently reminded herself that Alex meant well and only wanted to reserve the excitement of whatever it was he’d planned.
“Wait here.” He said, “Someone will come out to get you when I’m ready.” And with that he left Olivia standing in the tranquil feeling of the evening.
The sun was setting, painting the sky in a cascade of peaches and lemons, casting a glow on her pale features. A warm breeze caressed Olivia’s face and she sighed as the seconds ached by.
The doors to the bleak building abruptly swung open introducing a shorter woman with greying blonde hair, warm eyes, and wearing features that mirrored Olivia’s younger ones.
“Mom?” Olivia’s shock was obvious, but she still stared at the woman in front of her.
Her mom was in on this?
Her mom gestured for her to enter through the doors, “Come on. He’s ready for you.”
Olivia allowed her mother to guide her through the doors and into a room. She didn’t know what she’d been expecting, but when she stepped into the room, her heart stopped.
Pictures of Olivia and Alex’s years together were strung around the room with lights. Casting a white luminescence on each memory.
She stopped to finger a picture of Alex in his military uniform, he’d joined the army despite his love of music. Olivia faintly smiled, his patriotism was charming.
She must’ve been staring for a significant time because her mom whispered,
“When you’re ready, Alex is in the other room.”
This drew Olivia’s attention to a door across the room, white curtains draped the doorway, and bright lights outlined the frame.
Slowly she let the curtains fall behind her, a gasp escaped her delicate lips as music filled the room. Alex sat at a grand piano situated at the center of the room, the light dancing on the polish. White flowers weaved together to form a centerpiece on the piano, drawing her attention to the pianist and his song.
He sang of happiness, of what could be, of every possible emotion that could send one’s heart soaring. Her heart beat like a nervous bass drum, begging to be released so it could join in the melody that alighted in the air around them.
All too soon the song faded, the melody blending into a silence perfectly tied with his smile.
“Will you marry me?” Alex whispered, his eyes glowing with anticipation.
The emotions were overwhelming, choking her. She couldn’t seem to form words and the salty streams poured across her soft features. “Yes.” She managed, a smile playing her lips.
Alex was beaming now, approaching her he caught her in her arms. The world around Olivia blurred as Alex spun her, and a laugh danced across her tongue like the gurgling of a stream, gentle and soft. He set her down, delicately resting his forehead on hers, his eyes danced in the light of the room as his gaze met hers.
And suddenly reality hit her, bombing her heart. Alex was a soldier. She could practically see the fire dancing in his eyes, the pain, the sacrifice. When would they ever have time to get married? What if he got deployed.
Olivia’s gaze had dropped and Alex gently lifted her chin, “Hey, what’s the matter?”
“Yes.” The concern etched on his features was heart-breaking,
“What if you die out there?” The words were barely a whisper, but they hurt.
“I’m not going to die.” Alex insisted,
“You don’t know that.”
Alex sighed, “I’ll serve my time in the army, then return to marry you. It’ll be ok.”
Olivia allowed him to weave his arms around her letting herself collapse into his broad chest.
“I hope so.” She breathed.
A year later Olivia sat in her car fingering a box of letters, memories of words and promises flooding through her. She took a deep breath, forcing herself out of the entangled thoughts and feelings that choked her.
Olivia stepped out of her claret hatchback, carefully holding her white wedding dress as she made her way towards the doors. A silent tear slipped down her cheek as her mother all dressed in blue led her to the bridal room and then to the doors of the chapel. The doors of her very future.
She couldn’t believe this was actually happening. Alex and her had planned the wedding through letters, setting the date for when he would get home, hoping that all would go as planned. And now it was actually happening.
As the church doors opened wide, revealing the rows of family and friends, Olivia put her veil down trying to hide the tears. Everyone was staring at her, watching her every move as she walked down that isle.
What should’ve been joy that overwhelmed her was actually a sea of mixed emotions that washed over her. Confusion, loss, and abandonment. She felt betrayed and left alone despite the people around her.
The tears were falling fast now, hot and burning their treacherous path down her rosy cheeks. It wasn't until the sound of trumpets from the military band sliced through her daze that the flowers fell out of her hand jerking her from her dream.
Olivia stood in a black thalassic sea, a congregation of sad souls that had come to share her pain, her grief, and her strife. But no one could possibly understand the grief that ignited and blazed in her soul, her heart ached, and her mind a slave to the darkness as it creeped in.
“Why did you leave me?” Olivia muttered hopelessly, “Why’d you have to go?”
A man at the front of the congregation, the preacher, stood and spoke. “Let us bow our heads and pray.” His voice was thick with sympathy as he continued, “Lord, please lift his soul and heal his heart.”
Olivia watched in a daze as everyone around her stood and sang the saddest song that she had ever heard. The notes dragged, not a single note of happy articulation filled their voices, not an ounce of faith or hope lit the darkness that was in their gazes.
Olivia’s throat was thick and she couldn’t seem to force the words from her mouth, she shook her head in her own silence. The song meant nothing, the notes meant nothing, and the words meant nothing.
She sucked in a breath as two men in military uniforms reverently handed her a folded up flag and she held onto it with all she had. It was all she had left of him and what could’ve been. What a sad thing that very last part of him she would ever hold would be the red, white, and blue he had fought so valiantly to protect.
Olivia cringed as the bullets rang out one last shot, in honor of Alex and everything that he had done. It was like a bullet in her heart and it took all her strength to keep from collapsing.
“Why did you leave me?” She muttered again, “I was counting on forever.” She stared down at the flag in her hands the realization of it all weighing down on her, “But now I’ll never know.”
She couldn’t breath, she felt like she was looking upon the whole scene from a distance, standing in the background. The words echoed excruciatingly in her head,
“He’s not coming home now.”
Olivia shook her head, memories and doubts colliding in the most violent war on their very on battlefield. She, the only witness to her own suffering.
“This can’t be happening.” She insisted, “This is just a dream.”
She shook her head, chasing the words from her mind.
They mean nothing. They’re just words of nothing. They’re lying. He’ll come home soon, just like he promised. This is just a dream.
Author Notes: Ok, guys. My friend makes a fair point and I didn't really think of it at first but this is based after a song called "Just a dream" by Carrie Underwood, so y'all should go check out that song if you haven't already heard it.