I finally crawled out of bed after 6. My alarm clock made it's first and only reminder that there is a necessary and productive day ahead of me. I rolled out of bed, and I made a cup of coffee, fed the dog and the cat, and just kinda chewed on things for a while. What did I dream about? Why can't I remember?
Pieces started falling into place. I remember a dark hallway, walking down it. It was like my old high school, a building that no longer exists. Things were different, of course. It was dark. It smelled moldy. Ceiling panels had fallen to the floor and wiring dangled haphazardly from above where they used to be. Lights flickered, struggling to stay alive, struggling to help me find my way to some place important. I carefully made my way around all of the debris on the floor. Contents from lockers were strewn about with things foreign to any high school. Old barrels with fires burning. Tires. Clothes. Rats. Shopping carts.
When I had finally made my way to what used to be a library, I found a bright light emanating from all around the closed doors. I knew I had to be there, but I couldn't get inside.
I pause to sip my cup of coffee and answer a phone call from an old friend. It's a brief call. Not a lot of time. He says something that triggers more memories of my recent dream.
I searched frantically for something blunt. An ax or a hammer would be ideal, but I settle for some conveniently placed aluminum bat. I begin beating at the door, specifically at the padlock on the chain through the handles. As I labor to open this door, I begin to hear voices and an icy blast of air rushes down the hallway, stirring the smell of the empty building and it's recent inhabitants. The voices tell me that sorrow lays behind this door, but for some reason, I can't stop beating the lock.
The tears start coming now, as I remember them falling in my dream. My recollection is trying to break down a metaphorical door of its own, and I knew that I had to work together with my subconscious. I get sucked into the imagined memory once more.
Sparks flew from the pad lock, flecks of metal stinging my skin with every swing. My arms grew tired. At this point, I've almost immobilized myself through tears. I stop, yielding to the immovable door. I feel like I failed. Like I failed everyone.
Suddenly, everything gets quiet and I hear noises on the other side of the door. I hear kids playing. Little kids. My mind keeps trying to force me outside to a reality where a cup of coffee, the sound of rain, and a cozy apartment exist, but I'm pushing now against this door with everything I have, pushing against my brain, trying desperately to cling to this memory before it vanishes forever.
Suddenly something shifts, and the door falls open, and I stumble into this world, where there is nothing but white light. I actually remember in my dream wondering if I was dead, wondering if this was the cliche of the white light, the afterlife, the gates to heaven and all of that bullshit. I could make out two figures. One was small, and I recognized him. It was my boy. My younger boy. He was so happy to see me, and I hoped and prayed that he hadn't had to come the way I did. We ran towards each other, hugged, and looked at the second figure. He held my hand, and then he told me that he had to go now, but that I needed to stay.
Another pause in the recollection as I receive a skype call from my boy, who didn't sleep well. I wonder if he was actually there. There. That's where I need to be.
I remember my boy disappearing, and being left in the room (I call it a room, but it was more like a bright void). There, in front of me, after my eyes worked to adjust, was a boy. Red hair. Looked to be about 7 or 8. He looked so familiar. I couldn't place him. And then, with a word, my whole reality, my whole world, all of the light, all of the pain, all of the joy, everything came crashing down around the two of us, me and the boy. The light started spinning around us. The walls and ceiling and everything, obliterating itself and whirling everywhere. It was just me... and him. I looked at him, I cried. I wanted to hold him, but I couldn't. This boy. This beautiful boy. The boy who had grown so much since I'd seen him. The boy who would have just turned 7 in November. The boy who had just seconds before smiled at me and said, "Dad".
Things started spinning faster. I felt myself getting more and more weightless. I reached out a hand, trying so hard to hold on to the moment, to what I was looking at, to WHO I was looking at. I hadn't seen him in years. I didn't want to lose the moment. But, as quickly as it happened, it was over.
It was all over.
Over. The wall had been put back up. And now I'm just hitting keys on my keyboard, drinking my coffee, and letting the tears quietly fall down my cheeks.