Storms Never Last
Chapter 11: Terry

Copyright© 2010 by Jake Rivers

I held my arm out for Millie to take, so I could walk her down the aisle. She had the special glow that brides tend to have. She had just finished her PhD in Art History at Stanford, and her husband to be was doing his internship at Stanford Children's Hospital, when they met at an on-campus dance. As I walked her towards her waiting fiancé I could feel her hand shaking as she held onto my arm.

I thought of the incongruity of "giving her away." That was the last thing I wanted to do — I wanted to hold on to her forever. I wanted to keep her safe from harm, from the vagaries of life. However, she loved him, and if I'd learned anything in life, it was the importance of love. I turned her over to Doug, and he shook my hand in a way — that told me she was his to take care of now. His hug following the handshake told me he knew what I was feeling. As I walked back to Acey, she gave me a warm smile that made me feel better at losing my girl.

The ceremony and reception went by in a blur. Later that night, fueled by one too many glasses of champagne, my dreams came in a blur, a montage of vignettes of Annie, Acey, and incongruously Lane and Mille and excerpts of their story that was inspired by other dreams. I heard the sharp bark of the pistol and the smell of gunpowder; I saw the incredible power of the landslide sweeping down from the arid mountains, engulfing Annie as she whispered, "I'm sorry, with her last breath. Acey on our fateful night in her cabin, abandoning herself in passion ... she was the first thing I saw as I came out of the coma. Rightfully so, she was my life now.

I woke buried in the tousled, sweaty sheets. Had I led a perfect life? No, but it was mine. Would I have changed some things? Sure, who wouldn't? But it was a good life. The voice of Ray Price came to me, crooning in his inimitable way:

"Life is just another scene
In this old world of broken dreams
Oh, the night life, it ain't no good life
But it's my life."

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