Neruda tells me Scotch is an artists best friend and I ask him if I really need that or if I can’t come up with a different way.
“You can speak your truth or your can speak mine.”
I ask him what the hell that means and the scene changes, I am in a car with my number one fan. I know it must be a dream because I am not a published author but I figure the hell with it and I just roll with what is happening.”
Dark expressive eyes look at me and listen to me talk about the serious and the not so serious.
“You know it was painful and complicated for me too.”
I nod my head and said I expected as much, but never could be certain.
“Don’t be ridiculous. You know better.”
“I do, but sometimes we forget. Easier to remember sitting on the couch holding hands or someone bending over the couch.”
There is a flicker in her eyes and for a moment I wonder if I am about to hear a growl or a purr.
“I am not going to tell you everything tonight, not yet. But I’ll say I am ridiculously comfortable with you and that is unusual.”
I see her face soften and for a moment I think we see each other with the sort of clarity that only comes after a life time or through magic. Just as I am about to find out my alarm goes off and I open my eyes and wonder what happened to the car.
Clarity comes quickly in the form of 83,168 emails from the usual crew. Sheila and Buckmaster want to know if I can make the morning meeting and some idiot named Rusty is babbling about something else.
I roll out of bed, stroll over to the toilet and ask Neruda not to feel strange while Mr. Johnson expels Clan Drankatoomuch from our body.
There is 102 miles left before I reach my destination but I don’t feel like listening to the radio, music or books on tape.
Got nothing on my mind and no expectations but a thousand thoughts as usual, most of which are currently centered around the dream.
Who is my number one fan, why are they so devoted and what the hell did I write about?
The crazy things about dreams are how there can be so many generalities and yet the feeling there are so many specifics if you just know where to look for them.
So I start clearing the clutter from within and conduct a thorough search of memory, it yields more ideas about the fan than the writing. It frustrates me because I want to know what the hell I wrote.
Were they self help books, Science Fiction novels or some of the big Yellow Book For Dummies?
Superstition comes into play here because it feels like a sign that maybe one day I’ll make it. Maybe one day I’ll publish multiple books and they’ll sell enough so that is how I spend my time.
I can’t remember what I wrote, but I remember the perfume and it occurs to me it smells like home.
Dad and I didn’t share our feelings very often. We played rough and bantered about quite a bit, but you didn’t hear us say what we really felt our thought often.
Prior to his diagnosis I thought about it and decided that my son would hear me say I love you so often it would never feel foreign. That is not to say it felt foreign with dad, but it wasn’t as common as it could have been.
I sometimes wonder if that was in part because of me and figure I had to share in some of that.
He could be very hard on me and there were times it infuriated me.
I was told to suck it up, shake it off and do all sorts of classic man things but I was also shown great kindness and compassion many times. Dad was a contradiction to me, maybe that is how it is with all fathers and sons.
After I heard it was Pancreatic Cancer I made the decision to make sure I told him I loved him. Maybe he did the same because we said multiple times over the period between D-day and the end.
Once when it was just he and I we talked about that and many other things. I told him I never doubted he loved me ever and thanked him for all he had done.
Dad wasn’t perfect, but he was dad and that was enough.
There was a time when dad and I were watching the news and someone they interviewed talked about truth you don’t want to hear and the need to speak their truth.
Dad rolled his eyes at me and I knew exactly what he meant.
We talked about a great many things and somewhere along the way it reminded me of a conversation we had when I was in college about girls.
He overheard me talking with one of the guys about an evening I had and laid into me.
“You have sisters. Remember the way you speak about girls is no different than how some boys speak about your sisters. Show some respect and be better.”
I asked him why he was eavesdropping and inquired as to what he thought he heard.
Those bright blue eyes turned steely and I received the glare we never wanted, but I was hard headed and determined to prove I was my own man so I pushed back.
“Dad, I’ll call her now and you can ask her why she wanted to see if I had a proper circumcision. Or you can clean your ears and call Tom to ask what we were talking about and learn you misheard me.”
That didn’t go over well and within seconds the house was shaking from the two of us yelling at each other.
“You forget that I wasn’t born a father. I know what it means to be a teenage boy and how they speak, I was one.”
That last part was more of a growl and inches from my face.
Instead of responding in anger I drew back in horror at the thought that my father might have had a life prior to mom and my sisters. I didn’t want to know about or from it.
My teenage daughter sometimes likes to try and press my buttons by making sarcastic comments about how I dress, the music I listen to and the shows/movies I quote.
It is ‘0ld-timey’ music or television and it means I am old too.
Sometimes I like to push back and tell her that my girlfriend loved that song or that I had a great date when we went to see movie XYZ.
Don’t tell her, it is almost never true.
Not that I don’t have stories I could tell about the music or movies I watched/listened to on dates because I do but those aren’t tales for her or anyone else.
But since she responds as I once did to the idea of my folks having had a life before us I figure there is no need to reinvent the wheel and so I demonstrate that her old man is still pretty good at pushing buttons when he wants to too.
“Baby girl, remember about the truth you don’t want to hear.”
She rolls her eyes at me and I think about the dream again and my number one fan. Still can’t remember what the hell I wrote about, but I can see her standing on the balcony overlooking the ocean wearing a sun dress.
I must be getting older because there was a time when I would have focused on her and that sundress and now I can’t stop trying to figure out what the hell I wrote about.
Maybe one day I’ll actually do it and figure it out for real. Would be really cool to have couple million from a book or ten.
A man can dream.