Saturday, February 6, 2010

Twisted Romance in Dreamland

Sympathetic Character = Mad Woman in Attic
We've all seen this scene before: a couple stands at the altar, just about to say their final vows, when a woman/man bursts in, interrupting the ceremony to declare her/his undying love for the bride/groom standing at the end of the aisle. They collapse in each other's arms. The crowd cheers. True love has won the day. In the inverted situation in Jane Eyre, the reader sympathizes with Jane's pain.

In the past, I would have cheered and sighed along with the crowd, but now I say, "Ba Humbug!"

Over the past three nights, I was visited by three dreams. In each, I was a blushing bride in typical wedding day scenarios.

I won't bother you with two of the dreams. They were typical dream fare. That is to say, more than a bit random and nonsensical, but the third proved that my subconscious can tell a good story if provoked.

The scene begins in the chapel. The families of myself and my fiance mill around, presumably waiting for the wedding to begin. I am in deep conference with a former lover in one of the wings.

"My fiance doesn't love me. That was clear from the start. It is after all arranged by our parents," I explain to him, "but he has also told me that I was his second choice. His long time girlfriend turned him down when he proposed. Talk about adding insult to injury."

"Darling," my ex exclaims a bit melodramatically, "Even if you plan to carry through with this marriage in order to preserve the honor of your family. We can dance at the reception. That'll show everyone!" Listening to his brilliant plan, I decide that I wouldn't have wanted to elope with this genius either.

As I reflect on my sad but stoic outlook, I hear the organist strike up "Here comes the Bride", but I'm not the one hurrying down the aisle. It's some woman I've never seen before, and she's wearing a wedding dress.

She falls into a dramatic swoon in the arms of my fiance. "Darling," she gasps, "I've changed my mind! If you don't marry me, my love, I'll never be happy again." Instead of replying, my fiance gives her a passionate kiss. And then another.

The rector interrupts before they start on their third. "Sir, I am ready to perform a wedding. Will you be marrying this young lady instead? It will be a simple matter of changing the name on the marriage certificate."

That's when I lose my cool. I've given everything up for this wedding, for the sake of my family, and this woman thinks she can waltz right in at the last minute and irresponsibly change all our plans? How incredibly rude! I march up to the altar, pull the two apart, and give them a piece of my mind.

"Who do you think you are?" I ask. Then I give her a good one, right in the kisser. KAPOW!
"As for you," I confront my fiance, "Don't think you're getting off easy," but the wedding guests removed me from the chapel before I could carry out my threat.

As I emerged from this nightmare, I was filled with indignation. The ingratitude of my fiance, the inconsiderate nature of his ex-girlfriend, the impotence of my ex-boyfriend, all filled my heart with a lingering anger.

Jane, let the masses cheer for your success. I'll be sympathizing with Bertha Mason.


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