We were walking across a bridge in a city I was unfamiliar with. The structure was dove gray and made of granite, low to the water, and had several graceful arches spanning between the supports that plunged into the water below. The series of arches were just beneath the roadway they supported, as if the roadway were supported by a series of rainbows anchored by water. A rail in the same material and color of sturdy, neatly lined balusters marched along the top. Ornate, black vintage lampposts stood at equal distance apart on the sidewalk lined street and led in each direction to the most distinguishing characteristic of the bridge; the four enormous statues that marked each corner to the entrance. The boldly elevated statues were of powerful depictions of godlike warriors on horseback, the strength and authority they invoked only punctuated by their rich gold color.
On the grassy banks of the river below, weeping limbs of pink flower studded trees dipped their branches into a peaceful river like the fingers of a curious child. The reflection of the spring sun shone upon the water like a mirror. A powdery blue sky with strands of silky clouds hung overhead.
Despite the serene surroundings, up on the bridge, the street was teeming with traffic. Cars traveling at high speed were weaving in and out of slower moving vehicles with hardly enough space to spare the paint on their bumpers. Honking horns, revving engines, the vibrations of speed were all around me. It was frightening and thrilling at the same time.
In the distance I see them behind me, a dark haired younger man, dressed casually in light colored khaki pants and a white shirt, with an older, silver haired man in a dark, stately business suit and black overcoat. Their features and mannerisms were so similar it was instantly clear to me, even from afar, that they were father and son. Coming closer to me, I could see their identities; it was Randy walking with his father. They were deep in conversation and I could tell by their matching furrowed brows that there was deep concern and grief between them.
I waved to greet them and as I turned away from them waved again, motioning for Randy to come and join me on the sidewalk. He did not come.
He stayed behind with his father and I could feel his hesitation to join me. I continued to walk forward unconcerned. The men who in appearance seemed to be the characterization of spring and winter, continued to labor in their conversation, it became clear Randy was looking for the blessing of his father. They were now close enough that I could hear them talking if I listened through the street noise.
“You should go with her.” His father said to him. There was authority in his voice, but Randy continued to hold back.
“Are you sure?” Randy said. Was he contemplating the timing? Was he concerned about remaining available to his widowed mother? Only one year after 9/11, his father’s death was still so raw and the family was still understandably wrought with grief.
As I contemplated these things, his father spoke again.
“Go on!” he said with a full deep billowing voice, “She’s a handful! But, you can handle it!” He was almost chuckling and with a big smile he motioned for his son to run toward me, and this time Randy did just that.
When Randy reached my side he took my hand and together we ran headlong toward the other side of the street. Without worry of any danger or harm we ran through busy hectic lanes of traffic as if we were untouchable by any of the unruly motorists that threatened our safety and safely made it to the other side of the street. Adrenaline pumping and out of breath, we threw our arms around each other and kissed and laughed. Stealing a backward glance to where he and his father had been, Randy noticed he was no longer with us on the bridge.
Somewhere around then, I woke up and rolled over grasping for the phone on the nightstand so that I could call my beloved before the dream faded in my sleepy memory. “I have to tell you about this dream I just had…” I said with sheepish excitement, and I knew everything would be ok.
* * * * * * *
After telling Randy about my dream he reminded me about how his father was born and raised in Arlington and the bridges I described in my dream sounded like the bridges in Washington DC, a place I had only been to once on a short trip with my High School marching band at least 15 years prior. Later when I visited Washington DC, I was amazed to see a bridge that was nearly identical to the one in my dream. The Memorial Bridge (in the photos below) spans the Potomac River and links Arlington, Virginia to Washington DC and is within minutes of the Pentagon where Randy’s dad was killed as a passenger on board American Airlines flight 77 in the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.
I also thought it was very cute that when Randy relayed this story to his mother, her remark was, “She must be honest, if she’d tell you he said that!” 🙂