The room is crowded. I’m in some sort of receiving line, standing on a dais or stage. I greet people as they come by – shaking hands, placing a hand on a shoulder here, kissing a cheek there.
You walk up to me, next in line. I’ve never seen you here before. You don’t quite look like yourself, but there’s no doubt it’s you. You look like a cross between Sophia on Golden Girls and Granny Clampett. I chuckle at the realization that there really was a resemblance – a bit in looks, but mostly in feistiness.
I touch your wrinkled but soft cheek, and then wrap you in a tight embrace. You are thin and my arms go all the way around you with no trouble. I have to lean down a little. I’ve been taller than you since the 8th grade, but you’ve shrunken even more with age.
I hold onto you tightly but gently, feeling the ribs in your back and your boney shoulder under my chin. The feeling of your arms around me, as strong and as sure as ever.
We have so much catching up to do. There is so much to tell you. So much to ask.
Emotion wells up and tears fill my eyes. I’ve missed you so much.
“Mom!” I whisper.
You dissolve in my arms.
I roll over and look at the clock. 3:48.
I close my eyes, listening to the wind and my husband’s breathing.
I try to go back to sleep, willing myself to reenter the dream.
Longing to see you and hold you again.