Douglas’s first dream of this new year is of his funeral. This is how he knows he is dreaming: he has been quite clear with Louise, his wife, and David, his son, that he does not want a funeral.
He wants them to throw a big party, to celebrate the ongoing, cyclic nature of life. The past year gave them several opportunities to talk about this, as the pandemic impacted their community and Douglas himself recovered from the serious illness the virus caused him.
So the setting – a darkish room, smelling of potpourri and sadness, a prominent table at the front holding an urn – tips off Douglas’s sleeping mind that this is a dream.
And yet he is captivated, and surprised, when the funeral home director calls for anyone who wants to share, and it is Kassandra who rises to speak.
“I’m not sure what sort of father Douglas was to you, David,” she begins. “From the little you’ve shared, maybe not so great. But lucky me, by the time he came into my life, he could be the father-type I always wished for.
“Douglas, you supported my art by giving me space to do it. You shared Marilyn’s spirit with me. Her inspiration is always in that garage and always in my heart. You could have kept it to yourself, but you opened it up for me and my art expanded, as my heart has done.”
She fights back tears, although dreaming Douglas wants to reach out, touch her arm, remind her it is okay to cry.
“I cannot believe how lucky I was – how lucky I am – to have you in my life. Thank you. And Franny – thank you. Somehow, I’m not sure, it seems as though you are the glue that keeps us all together.”
This last statement startles Douglas awake, and he recognizes that the character of Kassandra in his dream has given voice to a truth he believes with all his heart.
Franny, dear Franny, is their glue.