I'm Here

I'm Here

It is now that this life is mine
I've had a few moments on this earth
And my longing has brought me here
What I missed and what I had

Alaina sat on the bed and held the treasured garment closely to her chest. It was already late, and the morning promised to be hectic. She smiled as her hands seemed to dance across the fading rayon. Her face was a mixture of fatigue and peace, oddly enough. But tomorrow was a day of transition, to use a very worn-out expression, but apt for the day. She sighed and turned to face the door only to be startled by her father’s presence.

“Your mother loved that dress,’ he said with a soft laugh. The dress was important for so many reasons, but none more than that the dress served as a connection between Alaina and her mother, even if it had frustrated her father to no end.

“I’m sorry I never understood, Alaina.” He shook his head at his own failures, in a way. Alaina looked around the room in anxious urgency. Her father seemed to use his glance to indicate the rest of his daughter’s treasures. Her eyes fell upon the purse and shoes on the wide dresser against the far wall.

It's still the way I have chosen
My confidence far beyond words
As it's been shown a little bit
From the sky I haven't reached

“I guess it works,’ her father said. His voice was steady and nearly unchanged from her childhood. Unpredictable and frustrating since he nearly always expressed disappointment in her without ever telling her what it was he had actually expected. Unspoken expectations followed quickly by correction. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to love her, but rather that he had decided very early in life that he would allow what he understood to define what he would choose to know, even if he never actually chose that path. His father was adamant about what he understood, and it followed that he would be as well.

I want to feel like I'm alive
All the time I have
I'm going to live how I want
I want to feel like I'm alive
Knowing what I have left

“You really going to wear that,’ she heard him ask. The dress merely awaited her attention. She smiled nervously at her reflection in the wide mirror over the dresser. She did resemble her mother, didn’t she? Her father stood off, leaning against the bedroom door. A sentinel of sorts seeking to guard the outside world from his daughter. She sighed as tears fell from her cheeks.

I haven't forgotten who I was
I just let it sleep
Maybe I had no choice
Just a desire to remain

The group of friends seemed to balance out her family; small as both groups were. The timid sister who finally came to appreciate Alaina only to be silenced by their father’s insistent beliefs. Her two brothers were standing next to her sister. One stood tall and proud as he smiled through an ethereal portal opened to the fragile past they both shared. His uniform was neat and clean and unblemished as it likely would always be.

Her other brother stood on her sister’s left side as he tenaciously clung to the ideas and perceptions of her father. All of them loved her; each in their own way, and barely if at all in the way Alaina needed. Change would come for her sister as she finally re-gained her voice. And while her older brother might never understand, he would come to the place of accepting that he did not need to understand Alaina.

Her father’s insight had already come to a crossroads of sorts as he and his younger son would learn from each other.

I want to life happily
Because I'm myself
Able to be strong and free
See how the night goes to day

Alaina turned and looked at her friends. Three girls she had known since they were all in pre-school. Two of them always knew exactly who Alaina was. The third did not, but after some prayerful exploration had come to see things and ideas and life as her faith was re-framed with love that accepts. The two young men were opposites in a small way. The first had known her since middle school, Lifelong friends whose relationship had always been rock-solid even as the foundation underneath that rock had shifted and changed while being ever tangible and real.

And the other young man who came to love Alaina late. Never knowing the child or the teen but coming to know the adult enough to share every part of himself even as Alaina sought to withhold much of hers. His love helped her be finally whom she had always been meant to be.

I'm here
And my life is only mine
And the heavens I believed were there
I should find it there somewhere

Alaina looked back and forth between friends and family as her unspoken song seemed to waft heavenward. Her father shook his head at the disbelief of his own lost opportunities. While they would one day enjoy the relationship that had been meant to be, the time of lament still inserted itself in the moment.

Alaina turned her gaze down to face the grave. Her dress was just right for the day. A wonderful early Fall day that was both warm and comforting, with a breeze that seemed to push all of her hurt away. The dress was greyish green rayon, full skirted. She wore a hat with a short veil that covered her face. Her gloves and purse matched her dress, and suited her mood – grey in grief but green in hope

Alaina smiled and recalled her words with her father only last week. While it had been a long time coming and still was incomplete and unfinished in so many ways, it was exactly what she needed to say and exactly what he finally embraced.

I want to feel like I lived my life

Gabriella’s Song
from the motion picture
Så som i himmelen
(As it is in Heaven)
Translated from the original Swedish
Words and Music by
Py Backman and Stefan Nillson

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This story is 1063 words long.