I hadn’t forgotten the place, but I didn’t remember it until I returned to this home I own only in my dreams. It had been painted since I left, likely a volunteer job managed by my love in an effort to help some locals that needed some dough to put food on their tables, for I could see spots of pink under the new shade of green in places they’d missed, and that was just fine by me, maybe it’d give us something to do someday down the road. In the dream world it’s easy not to be bothered by trivial matters; it’s something I’d learned long ago that I’ve tried very hard to bring back with me to the real world.
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On the day I returned, the sun was shining bright—a perfect day for spreading my arms to fly, and I realized that it’d been too long since I’d done so, but I could take care of that later—the neighbors were out rocking back and forth in their chairs or talking in the streets, as is always the case. Here it’s always butterflies and ice-cold lemonade, just as it should be. It isn’t often that someone returns, for very few ever leave once they’ve found this destination. Yet when someone does come back, the full-time residents are always waiting with open arms, no questions ever asked about your time away, they move right into bringing you up to speed with all that you’d missed while you were away and treat you as if you’d only left for work that very morning. Time only has meaning here as a measurement of time well spent. I made my way through hugs and handshakes, smiles and smooches as I walked first down the street and then up the incline on the other side where my several-story now house stood, a somewhat Victorian house without Victoria having trimmed it with all her lace, clapboard with the edges and shutters painted white and a wisp of smoke trickling from the chimney. It’s a concrete house, oddly, but is anything really odd in the dream world? So, when I say that it’s painted, given the coarse nature of the concrete surface, you can still see spots of gray in the surface of the paint job where air pockets stood their ground in the concrete forms. They do well to remind us that it is our imperfections that truly make us unique. You can’t be a perfectionist and live in this house otherwise you’d be out there with a paint brush touching up the surface all day—but, I suppose, once the kids get to the age of flight, then we can add that to the list of chores for them to do, too. Our home has all the nooks and crannies one could ever ask for, sort of a Winchester Mystery House of fun places to explore, hide, relax, bathe, swing, sip, chow and sing. A concrete house, yes, but we’ve somehow mastered the ability to weld concrete together when we tack on additions for family or friends who come to live or stay. Finally, the empty lot next door sits next to my heart; a lifetime of memories reside on this “practice” field where I first learned how to hover and still love to play.
As much as I love our neighbors, who’d decided without conversation to bring their tables and chairs into the tree-lined avenue for a street party, I began looking for you, for I was quite sure that I wouldn’t have come home unless you were there waiting for me—wouldn’t have come home unless you’d finally called me home to see you. For you and I, the dinner triangle never rings twice: we hear it and we’re there. Mrs. Johnson from across the street, the prototypical elderly women with a big heart and a slight gimp that always knows what to say and moves more gracefully than you’d think possible, was suddenly whispering in my ear, “Go, honey, your love is waiting for you.” I consciously knew that you’d walked out of the house, down the stairs, a kitchen towel drying your hands from a chore that you never minded doing, like wiping ice cream from kids faces or cleaning ink from their hands, and always, always a smile on your face when I first see you whether it’s been a minute or a month. Our neighbors went silent as they yielded to create a path between us. I knew better than to walk toward you, we’ve never been the type to let a greeting or parting pass without fervor. I braced myself for impact like I’d done with us so many times before. You ran toward me, streaked through the air like a 100mph fastball and I caught you in my arms, our lip-to-lip smack like that of a catcher’s mitt. Our mutual elation caused us to fly backwards and, if not for Mrs. Johnson’s tree swing which caught me right in the rear end and absorbed the energy of our motion in an upward arc, I’m not sure where we would have ended up, tangled in the bushes with a pleasantly irate Mrs. Johnson whipping at us with her own kitchen towel. By luck or design, we swung in great arcs back and forth while the neighbors clapped and cheered in glee, your legs wrapped around me and my arms around you in a swing held up by the largest tree on the block or, for that matter, for as far as the eyes could see.
It’d been too long since we saw each other and everyone knew it. Mr. Miles Gavin, as our delightful, eccentric neighbor from up the street loved to be called, shouted, “Tonight we will extend the day to celebrate the return of this sunrise!” and the crowd roared with electricity once more. “Way to crack the verbal gavel, Mr. Miles Gavin!” another neighbor shouted. Mrs. Johnson rolled her eyes at our public display of affection, jerked her thumb playfully over her shoulder motioning us to proverbially get a room, and then grabbed her own kitchen towel from her shoulder while she said, “Looks like I’ve got some baking to do.” No woman ever smiled as greatly as Mrs. Johnson when she had baking to do, and she always found a reason to do some baking.
We skipped across the air to our home and you gave me the grand tour, showing me all the changes that had occurred since we were last here, all the while dragging me around by the hand or the arm, or stopping to look into my eyes, smile and bury your face in my chest or kiss me on the lips. You verbally, rather in a stream of consciousness, went through the list of all the things that we still needed to do to make this our home. Then suddenly, you stopped as if you’d just discovered the cure to a terrible disease, and said, “Oh my gosh, I have to get the kids ready for the party.” With one hand running through my hair, a moment of sincerity that honored the relief of our once more being together, you said, “I know it’s been awhile since you took flight, so go fly. I can handle all this get-ready stuff for us.” You kissed me on the cheek and I closed my eyes to secure the memory of your touch. As you walked away, you walked like a model on a runway, then pointed to your buttocks and said, “But don’t be too long, or you’ll miss out on this.”
I watched you walk away, looked to the open window next to me in the hall, and took flight by shooting through the window and into the sunlight. I flew in circles. I spun in circles as I flew in circles. I did somersaults as I spun in circles while flying in circles. I was so happy to be home again… and then I woke up.