When I dreamt of Christina she and I were floating in a boot-black velvet oid. We were side-by-side lying in open caskets dead to the world but not one another. She was adorned in a dress draped in tulle, topped with taffeta—immaculately white. Her hair dark, her skin unblemished with the gloss of freshwater pearls. And those eyes, neither sapphire blue nor green as emeralds but an exotic pairing of the two. They were turquoise in twilight. While I, so unremarkable, was simply clothed in a suit, shirt, and tie.

Out from the naught an angel appeared. Silver wings flush with feathers fluttering then suddenly folded, though the robes she wore of pastel peach continued flowing by a phantom breeze I could not feel. And then she spoke. “My Master bids me to give you his blessing and this…a choice. To spend all of eternity released from your silence so you may have voice, or…be joined by hands with never a word shared.” She paused for a moment, hovered over us, her wings spread open to their tips. “Choose wisely, for what you resolve will be everlasting.”

I lifted my arm and reached out over the casket. Christina turned to me her eyes alight, and did as I had just done. “So shall it be,” the angel sang, “as He foretold it to me.” And disappeared.

Our hands edged ever closer until our palms were but a breath apart, and in a surge caressed then kissed. Our fingers, like vines about an arbor, entwined so steadfastly they sealed a bond that would never dissever even if time itself, beyond the pale of exhaustion, crumbled to dust.

There it ended my first dream of Christina. I was a child beguiled, on the cusp of being eight years old.

Mark Havlik’s work has appeared in Trajectory, The Hungry Chimera, Anomaly (FKA Drunken Boat), the anthology Flying South, and Kaleidoscope, among others. He won the Pamlico Literary Contest 1st Place Prose Fiction Award, and his creative nonfiction piece placed first in the Winston-Salem Writers Competition.