Last night I had a dream.
I was in an exotic land by the sea where boat builders whittled boats with ancient tools while they sat beside strange vehicles that seemed half aircraft and half car. I viewed one with wide eyed awe, watching like a child as the operator demonstrated the wondrous piano controls. Across its whole interior were pedals and levers on which he sat, and leaned and pressed; his whole body instructing the machine like a dance.
Above me the sun was rising to midday, it seemed large enough to touch if I could just reach high enough.
My guide, someone unknown while tantalizingly familiar, urged me on and we walked between buildings made of hewn sandstone. The homes we passed by and through were just as odd, a clash of cultures and times and places. Cast iron skillets sat comfortably next to food processors with glistening foot long blades. Bare light bulbs lit many of the small rooms, but here and there a string of Christmas lights were hung instead and some rooms were even lit with the blinking primaries of fluorescent signs.
But it was to the seafront that we marched, and we finally stopped beside a huge boulder that served as a tide break. In the distance I could see the wide dark band of a storm that sat on the horizon.
The storm seemed caught outside a protective barrier and no one seemed afraid. Around my guide and I people continued without comment or concern.
“How are you?” My guide asked, with a gravity that alarmed me.
I answered that I was fine.
He looked out over the sea and I watched him.
He was taller than I, broad of shoulders and stern of brow.
I knew that I knew him, but the face I did not recognise.
Then he turned to me and I caught a glimmer.
“Where are you working now?” He asked with the same gravity.
We talked, or rather he asked questions and I answered them. Was I happy at work, he asked. Was I seeing someone special, he asked. Was my life all that I had hoped for, he asked.
With each question came an answer, and with each answer came a little more recognition.
Throughout it he seemed to change, his statue shrank a little and his brow softened.
My Grandfather had been a good man, he had known honour and I fancied that he had taught me the special gift of it. When he had died a part of me had as well.
We had argued throughout our lives, about things profound and inane. He had taken great pleasure in driving me to distraction, which was so easy for him. I was a serious child, austere and self important, and it was no wonder I was not well liked in my family, or that I had few friends.
For a time he was my only friend; and as an adult I could admit that now.
I remember the hospital.
The rest of the family leaving me alone for a moment: such a brief moment.
I remember the frail remains of him, breath without life.
I leaned close to him, tears burning my eyes.
I remember the whisper in his ear, and my admission to him alone.
He stood now in my dream, younger and stronger and somehow taller and more imposing; but definitely him.
“Life is never what you imagine is it?” He said to me, was it a question or a statement?
I shook my head, my eyes once again filling with tears.
“Follow me…” He said and leapt from the tide break rock.
Without a moments thought I did, unmindful of my fear of the water or my inability to swim.
In a mass of movement like the fluttering of gigantic crows a sail appeared above him, catching the wind and soaring upward.
I caught a dangling rope and climbed. The growling wind buffeted me, almost tearing me free time and time again; but I could feel the childlike smile on my lips as I arrived at a nest of beams beside where he now sat.
“…Lets see the rest of the world.” He said and we flew towards the gathered storm.
It was the morning and I was dragged back to the real world, the winter sun cutting through the drawn curtains.
My girlfriend, my love; was clinging to me in her sleep.
I rose and washed, dressed and left; leaving her to her own dreams.
The day wore on and when most dreams would fade this dream lingered.
Then I stopped my work and took out a pad of paper.
I began to write.
“Last night I had a dream…”