My brother, Ghent, was maybe seven years old. I don't know how old I was. Maybe four, maybe thirty-eight. He said, "Let's go flying!" and I said, "OK!"
See, in my dream, Ghent could fly. Like Peter Pan. And as long as he was holding my hand, I could fly, too. So we jumped out of a window and onto the wind.
We went for a ways, looking down at villages below us, and I was thinking of how neat it would be to fly like this in Europe, since you would be able to see many countries at once, whereas in the U.S., it was all the same country.
Then the wind stopped. Suddenly. Without warning. And started again.
It was just enough to throw Ghent off course. The wind yanked him away from me, and we began to fall. I wasn't scared, though. I knew Ghent would make everything right. He would get his balance, fly toward me, grab my hand again, and it would be like nothing bad had happened.
But he yelled, "We're too close to the earth! We weren't high enough to start with! There's nothing I can do!"
It took a moment for that to sink in. So I'm going to die, I thought.
"I'm sorry!" He yelled as the wind took him farther and farther away from me. "We just didn't have enough altitude!" (Yes, my brother used words like "altitude" at age seven.)
So I fell alone through the sky, and thought, "This is it. I love you, Hubster. This is it."
And I was OK with it. I didn't feel panic. I felt a little disappointment--I hadn't, after all, expected my life to end so suddenly, or so violently. But there was nothing I could do, and that was OK.
So I shut my eyes, crouched, and hoped the pain wouldn't be too great.
Next thing I knew, I was waking up on a patch of grass somewhere. It was a field, but a small field. I was actually in a neighborhood. I was alive. I had survived the fall.
I got up, feeling dazed and a little sore, and found my way to someone's house. The people who lived there were very gracious and helpful. They explained to me that I had fallen into DeRidder, Louisiana, and they let me use the phone to call my parents, who showed up a little while later. We all figured Ghent was dead somewhere. If he was alive, he would find a phone and call, just like I had. So we were hoping he would call, and waiting.
I tried to explain to my dad that we had been flying, and he kept asking, "But what happened to the little plane?"
"No," I would say. "We weren't flying in a little plane. We were just flying, just us ... you know, like Peter Pan."
"Well, I hope so," my mom said wryly. "Because Ghent's not old enough to fly a plane."
"But what happened to the little plane?" My dad again. "Maybe we can find it, and then we'll find Ghent."
We all knew that Ghent was probably dead, than my survival had been a miracle in itself. Still, we had hope that his fate and mine had been the same, that he had managed to land safely after falling 1,000 feet, and somehow survive.
So that was my dream. I think it was full of symbolism. I used to worship my brother when we were kids. If he'd told me he could take me flying, I would have believed him, all the way to the point of jumping out of a window with him. Yes, maybe I was a stupid kid. But I also thought my brother hung the moon and could do anything.
I am also struck by how calm I was as I fell through the air in the dream. I knew I was going to die, and I was OK with it. There was nothing I could do. I was in God's hands, or fate's. There was security in that, in knowing that it was all out of my hands. And I was certain I would die. I didn't think about heaven or hell or any of that. Just thought, "I love Hubster" and felt sad for him that he would have to learn secondhand of my death.
That dream has stuck with me all morning, so I thought I'd write it down.
Now, after working a 60-hour week at work, I'm going to spend the day reading The Brothers Karamazov, writing, and practicing a bit of piano. No more computer today. No e-mails, even though I owe about a million to people. No TV. None of that. Just reading and writing and music. Then later today, I'll go for a walk/run enjoy the crisp weather and the changing leaves.
It's going to be a good day. For some reason, that dream, haunting as it was, has left me in good spirits, tinged just a little by melancholy.
A perfect day for Doestoevsky, writing, and Beethoven. Life is good.