I lived in this small town right on the water. It was present day but felt a litte bit victorian and old fashioned. There was a war on, and I’d never seen so many planes in the sky. Some of it was due to the war, but there were also stunt planes practicing for a Fourth of July show. I didn’t understand how we could be celebrating the Fourth of July and the freedom of our country when we were at war and life there felt anything but free.
My family lived in a house that was built in the center of a small pond. My dad had been renovating along the banks for a really long time, and none of us were allowed back there. But one day I went out the back of the house and asked if I could come see what he was doing, and he said “not until the spring.” But it was already midsummer, so I stepped onto the floating walkway and walked up the bank.
My father had built a stone reflecting pool at my favorite part of the bank, where the treetops met and turned the place into a shady green tunnel, dim on even the brightest day. It was very beautiful, with lights shining under the water and flowers floating on top of it. I understood that someday my grave would be there. But he turned my attention from that fact and showed me the large building that loomed up at the end of the reflecting pool, where the trees opened into a glade.
It was the new house he had built for us. The front half of the building was his dream- a resaurant. It wasn’t ready for opening yet, but there were tables covered in crisp white cloths and a long bar made of a wood that glowed in the afternoon sunlight. He asked if I wanted to see my new bedroom, and then took me by the hand and led me down a long hall into a room filled with golden light, and said to me, “think of the possibilities…” and then left me to go keep working.
The restaurant was scheduled to open in time for the town’s Fourth of July celebration. Everything was ready. We had moved into the new house, and I discovered that from my bedroom windows I could hear our next-door neighbor playing the piano. He played beautifully, and he played many hours a day. I wished I had a window seat so I could just sit and listen all day, and forget about the war, and forget about the people doing terrible things to each other outside the safety of my walls.
It struck me that the children of our community were being taught terrible lessons by the way our society lived its life, and so I tried to gather them together and teach them that life could be different… But it was too late. They didn’t want to hear me. They didn’t want to learn what I had to teach them because it wasn’t fun. It didn’t allow them to steal the things they wanted, or to force things to be their way.
Finally I just shooed them all out of my house, resigned to life deteriorating around me, no one wanting to change from their selfish ways long enough to mke the world better. In my haste to get them all out, I shooed a very small girl a little too hard and she fell down. I was immediately mortified, and picked her up and brushed her off and said I was so sorry, that I had not meant to knock her down. She loooked me in the face, and she said “I know you didn’t mean to. You’re not like that,” and in that moment I realized that she was my chance to make a difference.

2 thoughts on “Dreams

  1. Michael

    I’ve heard that houses in dreams symbolize one’s life, that the state of the dream house represents the state of one’s life.
    I think it’s remarkable that you dreamed yourself a new house, built by your father, within a time of war, and you wanting to build a better society all around.
    The last significant snippet of dream I remember dreaming (not even a week ago) included a guy’s looking at me and asking me straight out, “How long have you had leukemia?” because he could tell I had it just by looking at me. It came as news to me, though; first I’d heard of it.
    I sure hope it wasn’t portentous.
    In the last dream I had about changing the world, I told all the people I met about a dream I’d had (within the dream, see? in the dream, I’d had an -other- dream) that revealed a message to me about what’s important in this life: letting people know they’re valued.
    I haven’t so much worked to spread the message in this waking world.

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