Remember: a Flash Fiction by Robin Densmore Fuson
Reality hit. Alone.
He closed his eyes where the remnants of the memory lingered, taking him back to his high school prom, and holding Chrissy in his arms. Her smell and the feel of her silky skin brought back the intense longing. Moaning, he rolled out of bed to start his day.
Blake climbed into the rental car, started the engine, and pushed the button to retract the roof. Convertibles were perfect in Florida where he vacationed before the wedding. He plugged his destination into the GPS and drove down the driveway.
Waves, beach, sun, and sand, called to him as he made his way along the highway. Blake wanted to relax and soak in the sun, which contrasted with his Seattle home. He grew up on the east coast of Florida. Now he headed to an unfamiliar beach on the gulf. The sun glinted off the water as he crossed the causeway to Clearwater Beach.
He never vacationed solo before. Kendra, his wife of four years, lost her life in a fatal car crash two years ago. Blake felt he’d adjusted to life without his wife, except for the loneliness. Later today would be another test—a wedding and couples. Wedded bliss and love would smack him in the face. Like most men, he didn’t particularly enjoy weddings, but this one, his little sister Alisha’s wedding, he thought he’d appreciate. He couldn’t wait to give his sister away to his best friend.
He flipped on the radio and heard an appropriate song from the Beach Boys. He cranked up the sound. The oldie station he’d found earlier and decided, why not? Florida brought back a flood of memories and touched a chord of nostalgia. Traffic slowed as he turned off highway 60. The song ended. Strains of a familiar tune floated out of the speakers. Too familiar. The repeated dream flooded back. They were dancing. Close. Long ago, he and Chrissy danced to this song. Blake let the romantic song swirl through him. Smart, beautiful Chrissy. He’d loved her and remembered her words, “Whenever you hear this song, think of me.” They thought they would always be together and made promises to each other. College separated them and sadly, the long-distance relationship had fizzled out. He met Kendra and got married.
Blake pulled his convertible into the parking spot. The car next to him pulled out. He killed the engine. The song should have died but the strains kept coming—then faded. He realized the convertible that backed out blared the same song. He swiveled to look. His heart skipped a beat. Chrissy? No. It can’t be. He shook his head. Just another blonde driving away. His mind playing tricks. Why this intensity of her on his mind? Why the dreams?
He shrugged, pushed the button to close the roof, and got out of the car. A good swim in the saltwater should chase the memories away.
Later that day, after a shower and shave, Blake slipped into his tux. Whistling, he hurried down to the rental and the short drive to the church where Alisha and Dustin were getting hitched.
He found Dustin pacing. “There you are. Jake isn’t here yet and I can’t get these cufflinks fastened.”
“Let me.” Blake attached the links. “Relax. There’s plenty of time. I need to check on your bride. Your brother will arrive soon, don’t worry.”
Dustin nodded and plopped down on a chair. Blake went to locate his sister, hoping he could have a moment with her.
Given entrance, he found her seated before a mirror. “You look ravishing. Your groom is a bit rattled but will be fine when he sees you in this dress.” He kissed her cheek.
“Thanks. How are you?”
“I’m good. Not every day I have the honor to give the most beautiful and kind-hearted soul away to a well deserving man.”
She graced him with a dazzling smile.
“Sweetheart, I want to pray with you before I take you down the aisle.” He took her hands. “Father, thank You for giving me the privilege of having a sister who is wonderful, kind, caring, compassionate, and the perfect childhood playmate. Please be with Mom and Dad in quarantine. We wish they could be here but the situation is out of our hands. But, You knew that before Alisha and Dustin set the date. Thank you for the availability of livestreaming. I pray You will seamlessly bring about this union and may they be blissfully wed for the rest of their long and prosperous lives. Amen.”
“Amen. Thank you, Blake.” She hugged him. “You’re the best brother.”
The wedding went off without a hiccup, but the dreaded reception waited to be endured. Chitchat wasn’t his forte.
The food eaten, toasts to the couple made, and speeches delivered, the D.J started his thing. Blake rose to get Alisha. The normal father and daughter dance would be brother and sister.
As he twirled her around, he caught sight of a familiar face in the crowded room. He almost broke his neck, trying to get a better view.
“Blake, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. She’s here. We kept in touch and I invited her. She never married—pining away for you. Ask her to dance.” Alisha winked, stepped back, and cupped her hand on his cheek. “Go.”
He almost ran to the one who haunted his dreams. “Chrissy.”
“Blake.” She grinned.
“Dance?” He held out his hand.
Chrissy clasped his. “Love to.”
He gathered her in his arms.
The music switched. Unchained Medley filled the room and reverberated off his heart.
“Do you think of me when you hear this song?” Chrissy whispered.
“Do you remember what you did last time we danced?”
“Yes. Can I?”
Her eyes searched his. “Yes.”
He lowered his mouth and captured her sweet lips in his. Perfect like the one he remembered. Loneliness drained away as she returned his passionate kiss.