The tall, black wrought iron fence was new but the small cottage was right there where it's always been, three doors from the corner. The house was wider than I remembered and the small porch was now a southern-style wraparound veranda. Red and pink azaleas flanking the steps were in bloom as they had been at this time of year for decades.
Dad stood on the top step in learning pose, head looking slightly down as he
intently studied what appeared to be an iPad. He wore his signature khaki
pants, plaid short sleeve sport shirt and thick-soled working man shoes. He
seemed to be in his early 60s.
With the blink of an eye, Mom appeared in the foreground of my view, slightly
to the left, partially blocking my view of Dad. It was a 50-year-old version of
Mom. She smiled and said something unintelligible about Dad and looked as
surprised as I was to see him on the porch. Her mouth and eyes moved in her
signature storytelling manner but I heard no sound.
Moments later my eyes popped open, hours later I remembered the scene clearly
and today, several days later, I described it to you in great detail.
Do you remember your dreams when you wake up? I rarely do. I often hope
to remember a dream as vivid as that one. Mostly what I remember is what time
it was when I woke up from a dream and hours later I only remember that I had a
Do you think your dreams mean anything? I don't. But for days now I've
been wondering why that one lingers so clearly.
In typical fashion, many pieces of that dream don't exist together in real
life. The house in my dream is the one where I grew up but it's much smaller
than in the dream. Mom was six years older than Dad in real life, not the other
way around as in the dream, and both died years ago, a few years on either side
of 90. There is no fence in front of the house and Hurricane Katrina killed off
the azaleas almost twelve years ago. My sister lives in that house now and last
time I saw it, in November, there were no new azaleas.
So why was I dreaming about my parents, especially younger versions of
them? Mom's birthday was a few weeks ago, so maybe she was on my mind
because of that. I don't know.
Why was my Dad standing on the steps looking at a digital device not even
imagined in his lifetime. Why did Mom seem surprised to see him and appear
surprised to be in my dream? Where did that fence come from?
The most significant unanswered question about that dream is this: why do I
remember it so vividly, days later, when I rarely remember a dream minutes
after waking up?
Something tells me these thoughts and questions will continue spinning in my
head for awhile.