In my reverie… |
Once before I wrote about the kind of dreams I have. They come nightly—and I mean every night, and are, in the main, rather pleasant. Usually they make absolutely no sense and are totally illogical, although when I’m in the dream everything seems completely logical and makes perfect sense. It’s like some kind of parallel universe that has autism. Go figure. However, upon waking, try as I might, recall is limited; only weird-and-wonderful bits and pieces remain.
Not the case last night…
For that extraordinary dream, I have (almost) total recollection. In it I traveled to my hometown to attend a high school reunion. The gathering took place over two days. I won’t tell you how many anniversaries we’ve had, but let’s just say when we gather it’s to say good-bye; that is, the final good-bye: adieu. The main thing I noticed when I walked into the first night venue— happily a saloon—was an obituary board. Fortunately, neither my name nor picture was on it. Conversations I overheard included phrases describing open-heart surgery, back and hip problems, hearing difficulties, bouts with cancer, gingivitis, the heartbreak of psoriasis, neuritis, and neuralgia. I felt bit out of place that the only malady I could report was swimmer’s ear. And to think I was one of those who used to chuckle when the Beatles musically wondered “will you still need me when I’m sixty-four”. At the time that age was so far off that to consider it as a personal reality was preposterous. I mean, I had an eternity. Well, guess what? Eternity has arrived, and sooner than expected.
The dream moved to the following evening, this time at a country club. Our class president serving as emcee, himself the recipient of a heart transplant, put a question to the group about whether or not we should meet more frequently since the traditional five-year span could result in a significantly reduced turnout; Father Time thinning out the herd so to speak. Most of my classmates simply gawked at him with a glazed-over look. His attempt to provoke discussion was met with indifference and almost stone-cold silence. Ignorance? Apathy? (I don’t know, and I don’t care.)
The vision also featured shadows of those not present; that is, those whose photographs appeared on the obituary board. Funny, they looked seventeen years-old—just like their pictures. The specters watched our gathering with detached curiosity occasionally glancing at a wristwatch as if checking the time some of the attendees in the quick had remaining before departing beyond the veil of earthly life. One of the apparitions approached me. Directly into my eyes it looked as if searching to see if I am the decent person I thought myself to be. Not a challenging look, but examining me closely as if sizing me up to see if I deserved some special gift. I felt neither threatened nor afraid, and recognized the image as one of the most attractive girls in our class; the drum majorette of the marching band who had succumbed to cancer since our last reunion. Another appeared by her side. I distinguished the youthful form of her husband who was a college fraternity brother. I was confused since I had recently emailed him about our upcoming fraternity reunion and still anticipated a reply. My face must have borne a peculiar expression as I asked the form of my former classmate, still not totally believing, “He’s with you now?”
She nodded, pointed to a portal, and beckoned me to pass through.
I was aware of the living around me, but must have been invisible to them. Eyes gazed directly at me unseeing. The portal gave me pause. Once through, would I be able to return? Was this a trick? Still I am by nature a very curious fellow so I followed the “young” couple. On the other side, another familiar young man smiled a greeting. Last time I saw him he was sitting beside me in cap-and-gown. Then he was emaciated, racked with cancer, and missing his left arm. Now he was robust, his arm restored. I stood among a multitude of familiar faces in a beautiful valley, the colors more vivid than any I had ever seen. The air was slightly perfumed moving on the slightest of warm, comforting breezes.
I turned to the couple. “Why am I here?” In truth I liked it there, and didn’t want to leave. Neither spoke, in fact no one in the valley did, but still I understood what they all communicated to me; that is, that there is nothing to fear on the other side of life. I pressed them about what was waiting for me, but sensed they either didn’t know or couldn’t say.
We do not get to choose our deaths. For me I would guess someday they’ll find me lying beside a running path or by an overturned bicycle in the street or face down in a swimming lane, goggles still in place. But what if I get the wrong one, you know, like grabbing the wrong coat at a restaurant? What if I get one that is excruciating and drawn out? What if I’m in the left turn lane with the turn signal on, slumped over the wheel with a line of drivers angrily leaning on their horns?
Obviously amused by my selfish worldly concerns, the spirits smiled knowingly, but warmly, and raised their hands in a gesture of farewell.
Everything faded around me, and I heard the emcee ask if we should share our reunions with the classes ahead and behind us. The response was muted and noncommittal. An old pal from elementary through high school appeared on my right. He handed me a glass.
“Basil Hayden on the rocks, right?”
“Yes. Thank you.”
He lifted a Diet Coke to his lips having sworn off alcohol two years ago. “It’s great to see everyone tonight.”
I looked past him searching for the specters that had vanished. “Yeah… Everyone...”
Copyright by Gene Myers, author of AFTER HOURS: ADVENTURES OF AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESSMAN (2009), Strategic Publishing Group, New York, NY – a hilarious account of the author’s overseas travels; and SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE (2010), PublishAmerica, Fredericksburg, MD - a mildly sinister, but amusing work of fiction. Both are available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and available in Amazon Kindle and Nook formats. Watch for SALT HIS TAIL, a catch-me-if-you can crime thriller.
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